The research will be carried out by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and is the first official investigation into this area in a decade.
Since 2007, more than 9,000 maternity discrimination cases have been bought against UK employers. Work-life balance organisation Working Families has also reported a rise in calls about discrimination during pregnancy.
Maria Miller, minister for women and equalities, said: “It’s unacceptable that women suffer from discrimination when they become pregnant and yet many are saying that are treated unfairly at work because of it.
“I am determined that we tackle these systemic problems which leave women feeling undervalued and penalised.”
Labour’s shadow minister for women and equalities Gloria De Piero welcomed the news.
“It is shocking that three years after Labour made pregnancy discrimination illegal, so many women are still losing their jobs or [being] sidelined after taking maternity leave,” she said.
The EHRC will also launch an education campaign aimed at employers and employees. The campaign will aim to raise awareness of discrimination rights and obligations around pregnancy and maternity.