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Etiquette and Advice from the Emily Post Institute

Business Maternity Etiquette

According to Peggy Post and Peter Post, co-authors of
The Etiquette Advantage in Business, the following suggestions may help you when acknowledging or celebrating a colleague’s pregnancy.
  • #1 rule: If you are not sure that a co-worker is pregnant, don’t say anything.
  • When a colleague is pregnant, do not make observations about her eating habits ("Eating for two, hm?"), weight gain ("You must be having twins!") or appearance ("You look exhausted"). Be happy for your co-worker, but don’t pry.
  • Never touch or rub your co-worker’s growing belly.
  • If you attend a baby shower either at the office or off the premises, you are obligated to give a present or contribute to a group gift. Standard gifts include baby clothing and accessories, stuffed animals, infant toys, or picture frames. If you are invited but cannot attend, you are not obligated to send a gift (though you may if you wish.)
  • Written or printed invitations to baby showers are the norm – except in the office setting. If you are organizing a co-worker’s baby shower, extending the invite over the phone or in person is fine.
  • Upon the birth of a colleague’s baby, consider sending a card along with food and/or flowers. Flowers in the hospital are nice, but can be overwhelming to a tired new mother: consider sending your gift to her home upon her return.

About the
Emily Post Institute
The Emily Post Institute, created by Emily in 1946 and run today by third generation family members, serves as a "civility barometer" for American society and continues Emily's work. That work has grown to address the societal concerns of the 21st century including business etiquette, raising polite children and civility in America.
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