There are a lot of questions about when to announce your pregnancy. Some expecting parents are comfortable telling everyone as soon as they have a positive test. Others prefer to wait until they are further along in their pregnancy. Some of the factors that can influence this are how private you are with sharing information, the particulars of your pregnancy, and your specific work situation. Learn why some parents choose to wait for certain milestones and the pros and cons of announcing early and later on. The right timing of when to announce your pregnancy will be different for everyone. This article breaks down the considerations so you can decide when the right time is for you.
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The Pros of Sharing Early or Late
One benefits of sharing your pregnancy news early is that you don’t have to fake anything or keep any secrets. Everyone can share in your excitement because they know you are pregnant. You also don’t have to worry about slipping up and spilling the beans.
If you wait to share your news until later there are some benefits as well. One is that you are not getting unsolicited advice because no one knows you are expecting. This gives you more time to plan when and how you announce your pregnancy. This also gives you some privacy about this big event in your life if you are not ready to share it.
Reasons Some Expecting Parents Wait to Announce their Pregnancy
There are many reasons expecting parents may choose to wait to announce their pregnancy. For some, they want to hit a specific milestone or point in time. Others may be waiting until they have confirmation that their baby is healthy and that there are no issues with their pregnancy. We all have different perspectives about what we are comfortable sharing publicly and how much of our lives we want other people to know about. All of these things can be a factor in deciding when you are comfortable sharing your pregnancy news.
Waiting for Your First Appointment
One milestone you may want to wait for before announcing your pregnancy is your first appointment with your doctor or midwife. This tends to be around week 8. This is a big appointment because you get professional confirmation that you are in fact pregnant. This confirmation can come from hearing your baby’s heartbeat, seeing a sonogram from a vaginal ultrasound, or taking a pregnancy test in your doctor or midwife’s office.
Waiting for the Second Trimester
Another option is to wait until the end of your first trimester. The biggest reason expecting parents wait to announce their pregnancy until after 12 weeks is due to the risk of miscarriage in the first trimester. Miscarriage is a term for a pregnancy loss within 20 weeks, and the majority of them happen before week 12. The possibility that this could happen is terrifying. The reality that this is so common is heartbreaking.
The Risk of Miscarriage
Rates of miscarriage are very confusing. The most widely accepted statistic is that 10-15% of clinically recognized pregnancies result in a loss. There is a past episode on the podcast for an in-depth examination of the research and evidence on miscarriage rates. The rate of miscarriage decreases the further along you are in your pregnancy and it drops significantly by week 12, or the end of the first trimester. The most common cause of a miscarriage in the first trimester is due to a chromosomal abnormality. These abnormalities are the result of a damaged sperm or egg or a problem with the embryo during the division process.
Miscarriage rates vary widely when you look at other factors risk factors and maternal age. Some of the factors that increase your risk for a miscarriage are:
- Two or more previous miscarriages
- Pregnancy Over Age 35 (Advanced Maternal Age)
- Exposure to cigarettes, excess alcohol, or drugs
- Exposure to harmful chemicals, like solvents, paint thinner, etc.
- Some autoimmune disorders like lupus
- PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)
- Thyroid problems
- Some invasive prenatal tests like a CVS or an amniocentesis also carry a risk of miscarriage
It is common to have some anxiety about the possibility of miscarrying. Especially early on when you may have some signs or symptoms of pregnancy but you don’t look pregnant, and you can’t feel your baby moving or kicking.
Factoring Miscarriage Risk into Your Decision on When to Share Your Pregnancy News
It is a possibility that you share the news of your pregnancy and have a miscarriage. This means you then have to go back and share the news of your miscarriage. Or not share it, and have people wondering what happened or asking you how your pregnancy is going after you experience a loss. If you tell someone you are pregnant and you did have a miscarriage, how comfortable will you be sharing your loss?
Close friends and family are likely the support group you would lean on in the event of a loss and you may be comfortable telling them. If you announce it on Instagram, it could be more awkward. This is completely up to you and you definitely do not need to keep it a secret.
Waiting for Prenatal Testing
Some expecting parents may want to wait to announce their pregnancy until they have the results from genetic tests. If you have a history of something in your family you are concerned about this could be a reason to wait. Some parents choose to terminate a pregnancy due to genetic defects. You can have some screening tests, like the NIPT test, early on. Remember the difference between a screening test and a diagnostic test. A screening test can only give you your risk and indicate that further testing is needed. A diagnostic test can actually diagnose a condition. Many of the diagnostic tests which actually confirm whether a genetic defect is present are not until later. A CVS is between 10-12 weeks. An amniocentesis is 15-20 weeks.
Another milestone you may want to wait for is the anatomy scan ultrasound. This is the ultrasound appointment where your doctor or an ultrasound tech is examining every part of your baby. This includes their spine, their organs, the chambers of their heart. This ultrasound takes place between 18-22 weeks. Another bonus at this appointment is that you can usually find out the sex of your baby.
Challenges to Keeping Your Pregnancy a Secret
If you are planning to wait to share your pregnancy news you may come across some symptoms or signs of pregnancy that can make that challenging.
Morning sickness can affect you any time of the day and if you have friends, family, or co-workers that see that you are nauseous or throwing up it could be a giveaway that you are expecting. If you are working and are having a tough time with morning sickness you may need to call in sick. Legally you do not have to explain why you are out sick. Although that may not stop your boss or co-workers from asking why you have been out sick. You can always say you had a stomach bug or food poisoning, but that will only explain being out sick once. If you are out more often you may need to come up with a better excuse.
Your Bump is Showing
If this is your first pregnancy you will likely start to show around 12 weeks. If this is your second, third, fourth, etc. pregnancy you may start to show earlier. Early on you should be able to dress to hide your bump, if you want to keep it a secret longer. Eventually, you will hit a point when it starts becoming obvious. Hopefully, no one comes out and asks you if you are pregnant, but it could start the rumor mill with friends or co-workers.
You Are Abstaining from Alcohol
If your friends are used to seeing you with a glass of wine in your hand they may notice when you are not drinking. That busted me with both of my pregnancies. If you think you need to fake that you are drinking to keep your cover then fake it. Most people are not paying that close of attention and will not even notice if you aren’t drinking. There can be a lot of social pressure to join the party and have drinks with your friends. You could always just say you are the designated driver for the night or hang out with a glass of club soda on the rocks with a lemon wedge in it. You can tell your friends you are on a 30-day no drinking cleanse. Whatever you need to do to feel comfortable in your social circles.
Your Kids Letting the Secret Out
If this is not your first pregnancy and you have other children, you may need to think about the possibility of them letting your secret out. This isn’t a concern with really young children but once they start getting closer to two they will be talking up a storm. If they know the news and can talk, they could let your secret out. An older kid could blurt out the news, and even a toddler could point to your belly and say, “baby”. For that reason, you may want to wait to tell your kids if you aren’t telling anyone else yet.
Sharing Your News with Specific People
There are some considerations to take into account for sharing you news with specific groups of people. This could include your friend who is struggling with fertility or your boss.
Sharing Your News with a Friend Who is Struggling with Fertility Issues or has Experienced a Loss
One thing to take into consideration is that you may want to be thoughtful about breaking the news to a friend or family member who is struggling with infertility. Of course, they will be happy for you, but news of a pregnancy is also a reminder that they are not pregnant. Someone who is struggling with fertility may have some mixed feelings about you being pregnant. Depending on your relationship you may want to send them a private message before they will see it on social media.
Sharing on Social Media
When you share your pregnancy on social media you can expect the whole world to know about it. At that point it is public. If there is any person or group of people who you are not ready to share the news with, do not post about it on social media. If you tell people in confidence before the whole world knows, make sure they know it is a secret and not to share it publicly. The last thing you need is your aunt congratulating you on your future baby on Facebook before you have told your friends the news.
Breaking the News to Your Boss
Trying to decide when to break the news about your pregnancy to your employer can be tricky.
Is There a Legal Requirement?
First, there is no requirement in the United States that you must disclose your pregnancy to your boss. I do not imagine other countries have regulations on when you need to inform your employer. If you are concerned that the news will affect your job you should know that there are regulations in place that prohibit discrimination based on being pregnant. Although, that does not mean that it doesn’t happen. You can read more from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on the laws against pregnancy discrimination. There could be requirements in place to give your employer a certain period of notice prior to going on maternity leave. This would likely be into the third trimester and it is unlikely you would be hiding your pregnancy that long.
Timing Your Announcement with Reviews, Promotions, or Big Projects
When I was first pregnant the timing of when I was going to tell my boss fell right before my annual reviews. I know legally my boss couldn’t discriminate and offer me less of a raise or other benefits because I was pregnant but I was still concerned it would have affected my review, and ultimately my salary. I chose to wait to break the news until after my review. Would the news of my pregnancy influenced my review? I don’t know, but I was more comfortable waiting to tell my boss and knowing it had no effect on my review.
The short answer is that you should tell your boss you are pregnant when you are ready and comfortable telling your boss. Your relationship with your boss or co-workers is so individual. Ideally, you want your boss to hear it from you and not someone else. If you share the news with anyone you work with before telling your boss, management, or human resources, make sure they know that they need to keep your news a secret. You may need accommodations at work due to your pregnancy or you have really intense morning sickness. In that case, you may need to tell your employer earlier.
Sharing Your Secret with a Select Few People and Not Everyone
Announcing your pregnancy is not an all or nothing decision. You can tell whoever you want when you want. You can decide the let some people know now, and other people know later. If you are only telling a small group of people, obviously, be sure to ask that they do not share your news.
Making the Right Decision for You
Only you can decide when the right time is to break your big news. You are not under an obligation to tell anyone sooner than you are ready. That timing will be different for everyone. Talk to your partner and make sure you are on the same page. Plus, they are a great person to talk this through with and bounce ideas off. If you have questions about your risk for miscarriage or any other issues please bring it up with your doctor or midwife.
Thank you to the amazing companies that have supported this episode.
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