If you're pregnant, you probably want to tell the world. But how and when you share your news at work is complicated by several factors. Many women worry that their boss will give them less challenging work once they know they'll be out of commission. Others worry about getting pushed onto the "mommy track." Additionally, if you're up for a promotion or raise, you don't want to hurt your chances.

Do Your Research

Before you talk to your boss, research your company's policies on pregnancy and maternity leave. Read through your company's handbook and your contract. If possible, talk to parents who have taken time off about how your company's policy worked for them. You should also review federal and state laws on maternity leave. Under the Federal Family Leave Act, every woman is entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. Your company cannot demote you or change your pay during this time, but you must give at least 30 days' notice. Every state also has different regulations for how much paid and unpaid maternity leave an employer must give. If you are entitled to more time off than your company allows, this is important information.

When to Tell

Many experts suggest waiting to tell friends and your boss until the beginning of your second trimester, when your risk of miscarriage is much lower. Talk to your doctor about the best time to share the news with your company. In some cases, your doctor might suggest sharing your news earlier, particularly if you're struggling with severe morning sickness or a complicated pregnancy. Give your company enough time to put a plan into place for filling your role while you're gone.

How to Tell

Tell your boss before you tell colleagues or friends. Not only is this a sign of respect, but your boss will be upset if he or she hears the news through the grapevine. Tell your boss that you will work with him or her to develop a plan for your absence, and that you will finish up key projects before you leave. After you tell your boss, set up a meeting with your human resources representative.

What to Ask

After you tell your boss, set up a meeting with HR. At your meeting, review how much paid and unpaid time you'll receive. Are there options if you want to extend your time off? Will you continue to receive benefits? What happens if you need to go on bed rest? Can you return to work part-time or work from home? Getting the answers to these questions will help you shape your maternity leave the way you want to. Your HR representative may also ask your doctor to fill out a form certifying that you're pregnant.