Student Work

Pregnant Women’s Experiences in the Workplace: Thematic Analysis and Recommendations for Improvement


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The purpose of this work was to compare, characterize and develop recommendations regarding the experiences, from disclosure to maternity leave, of employees working at a higher education organization while pregnant. There is limited research regarding the impact policies and benefits have on pregnant employees working in higher education, as well as their general pregnancy experiences with colleagues and supervisors. This research presented three studies to address these gaps. Study 1 compared existing pregnancy-related policies of three comparable higher education organizations. Study 2 collected interviews with 15 pregnant or recently pregnant employees and they were analyzed to identify themes and opportunities for improvement. Study 3 used a SWOT analysis to evaluate the findings from Studies 1 and 2 to discern the plausibility of implementing recommendations. Study 1 results revealed that the primary organization has strengths to its policies and benefits but compared to other organizations, there is room for improvement as to how some benefits are implemented, for instance, locations for lactation. Study 2 results revealed that although participants criticized their workplace and described areas for improvement (easier access to policies and benefits documents), they still describe their overall experience as positive. Study 3 results generated recommendations to improve the primary organization, such as developing one central location for all work-family related documents and information. Findings emphasize the importance of including both staff and faculty in higher education research and the impacts work-family related policies and benefits have on employee perceptions of their workplace.

  • This report represents the work of one or more WPI undergraduate students submitted to the faculty as evidence of completion of a degree requirement. WPI routinely publishes these reports on its website without editorial or peer review.
  • E-project-050321-173523
  • 21591
  • 2021
UN Sustainable Development Goals
Date created
  • 2021-05-03
Resource type
Rights statement
Last modified
  • 2022-05-16


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