After I discovered I was pregnant, it was a big deal to decide who I should tell and when. Who would be most excited for me? Who could give me support and advice?

As a professional woman, I also knew that I had to tell my boss and my coworkers. It’s such a personal piece of information, letting everyone know that I was pregnant. And also, it felt weird to be asking for special concessions.

I wanted to be as professional as possible. How should I tell my boss?

That’s what this post is about: The Maternity Leave Letter.

As personal as the information is, the state of pregnancy actually is an important and legally protected state that you as the employee have entered into.

There are legal considerations your boss has to be aware of. It’s always good to be aware of what your boss is thinking about, and to make his or her load easier.

You can do the big reveal that you are pregnant in a conversation if that feels right. But legally, it’s really important to have a letter that creates a paper trail that you communicated your state to your employer

You want to make sure to let your boss know that you’re pregnant, and what your due date is so he or she can make plans for your absence.

You’ll also need to tell your boss whether you need accommodations.

Talk to your doctor and—if he or she has said your pregnancy doesn’t require any changes to your life and routine—great! If you do require staying off your feet or some other restriction, have the doctor give it to you in writing.

If you require no changes to your work, let your boss know in writing and also affirm that you will let him or her know that you will update if this changes. If you do require accommodations, let your boss know and include the note from the doctor.

Follow up on any doctor prescribed accommodations with a meeting with your boss. Pregnancy disability is a protected disability, and in most cases your employer is legally required to let you adjust your work during this time. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.

Also, to make it extra professional, let your boss know that you’ll continue to do your usual level of work and that you are committed to your job.

After you write this letter, send it as an email to your boss, HR, and to your home email address. It’s a legal document, and it is important that you have a record that you sent it in your own possession. If anything gets complicated, you should have it in your email and not have to request a copy from your employer’s network.