There was a time no so long ago when it was acceptable for women to be discriminated against in the workplace if they were pregnant. Employers would even ask if a woman was planning to have children in the near future as it could be a basis for whether or not they got hired, but these times are, for the most part, a thing of the past. This is now considered a form of discrimination and is illegal. It is important to know your rights in the workplace though, in case anyone does try to take them from you.
Pregnancy is protected by rights of gender, which means a woman is protected from being asked if she is currently, or plans to soon be pregnant.
Women are also protected from being fired, demoted, or laid off because they are pregnant.
A woman cannot be denied renting an apartment or house because she is pregnant except in the case of communities designated as adult or senior only residences.
A pregnant woman cannot be denied at a public place, such as a restaurant, school, or hospital because she is pregnant.
One thing to know in regards to maternity leave in the workplace is the woman's right to leave when she chooses. If she becomes unable to do the job it is the employer's responsibility to modify the work environment where possible so she can work without harm. A woman cannot be forced to take maternity leave earlier than she planned.
Negative comments from customers or other staff about an employee's pregnancy cannot be used as reason to fire, demote, lay off, or force early maternity leave.
It is also important to do research on the laws in your specific state. Most require that an employer continue to pay health related premiums during maternity leave if they are paid for normal sick time.
Another thing to consider upon finding out you are pregnant is to determine the type of maternity care you wish to receive. There are now many options available for childbirth, from water births, to at home births, to using a midwife, or the traditional hospital. Keep in mind that whichever is the best fit for you and your pregnancy, maternity care also refers to post-natal care. Also, in the event of a problem during labor, a plan should be laid out to determine what to do in the case of an emergency.