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Deciding the Right Time: When to Announce Pregnancy

It’s really happening—your pregnancy has been confirmed and a new baby will be joining you in less than nine months! Maybe you feel like shouting from the rooftops or maybe you’d rather keep the news to yourself for as long as possible. What is the best course of action in this situation? Is there a “right time” to announce your pregnancy?

Pregnancy Announcement Timing Guide: Best Time to Share the Exciting News

In many places around the world people believe that a pregnancy should be announced after a given length of time. Part superstition, part legitimate concern, the dilemma of when to break the pregnancy news remains to this day.

This article offers some guidance on choosing the most appropriate time to make an official announcement—at home, to friends and relatives, online, and at your workplace.

When to announce pregnancy?

If this is your first pregnancy, you’re probably feeling like your world has turned upside down. Even if you already have children, no two pregnancies are alike and the changes this time around might surprise you.


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Sharing the happy news with others seems natural, especially now that we share so much on social media, but when to inform others is a deeply personal choice.

Sometimes both parents are in it from the beginning, dealing with the pregnancy test together and hoping for a positive result. In other cases, breaking the news to a partner may not be so straightforward. The pregnancy may be a surprise, the time may not be right, or the relationship may not be all that stable.

No matter the circumstances, it is important to find a support group among our closest friends and relatives to help you in your pregnancy journey.

Journey of Discovery: From Finding Out to Sharing the News about Pregnancy


From Finding Out to Sharing the News—A Rough Timeline

The year a new a family member comes into the world tends to be dense with emotional experiences. It’s a lot to process and there are often layers of relationships involved.

OMG, I’m Pregnant!

Most women discover they are pregnant when they miss a period and see a positive test, although some women detect changes in their bodies very early on.

Because of the conventions for calculating the estimated due date, if you test positive on the first day of your missed period you already count as being four weeks pregnant, even if conception took place at ovulation mid-way through your cycle only two weeks before.

Is This a Viable Pregnancy?

Pregnancy loss remains taboo to this day, but just because we don’t talk about it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Many miscarriages in early pregnancy pass entirely unnoticed—between 50 and 75% of all conceptions according to some studies.

Pregnancy loss that occurs after hCG levels begin to rise but before there has been verification is considered a biochemical loss, which likely resembles spotting, or an irregular period as not enough time has passed for recognizable changes to appear in the mother’s body.

An estimated 10%, or 1 in 5 identified (known) pregnancies end in miscarriage, with the majority of these occurring in the first trimester. The risk of miscarriage drops dramatically after the first trimester, that is thy many women wait for certain milestones before they feel comfortable sharing the big news.

Miscarriages occur much more often that we would like to admit, but the majority take place in early pregnancy. It is a real sense of loss for so many parents, but it may not be shared by others in their lives.

The First Prenatal Visit

A first prenatal appointment typically gets scheduled around week 8, although it can take place a few weeks earlier or later. Your gynaecologist or obstetrician will want to confirm gestational age, go over your medical history, and test for any potential risk factors.

At this point they will be able to tell you something about how the pregnancy is progressing, but there is still a sense of let’s wait and see. Between weeks 9 and 12 your baby will grow from about the size of a peanut to about the size of garlic bulb. Each week there are new developmental milestones and the miscarriage risk decreases, especially as the second trimester begins.

What an Ultrasound Scan Can Tell You

Prenatal ultrasound scans have become standard in many countries, but the practice differs from country to country. In the US, most babies are scanned twice, once around week 12 and again around week 20. Elsewhere in the world parents may have the option of having more scans, but in poorer countries or rural regions ultrasound scans may not be available.

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A scan at around 12 weeks can help determine the gestational age of the foetus, whether the pregnancy is developing as expected and the baby is growing inside the womb (not an ectopic pregnancy), how many babies there are, and if there are any signs of chromosomal abnormalities. If a miscarriage has occurred, that will also be visible on the scan.

The 12 week mark is a popular time when many women announce their pregnancy. It is, of course, a personal decision.

A scan at around 20 weeks, or the halfway mark, will show much more. You’ll be able to see facial features, the curve of the spine, arms and legs waving, the baby's heartbeat and other stats about the vital organs. It may also be possible for the ultrasonographer to determine the baby's sex if you want to know, although it might still be a bit early. A scan at this time can show the placement of the placenta and the developmental health of the baby. A miscarriage at this stage would be quite rare.

The Tradition of the 12-Week Wait

The first trimester is a big milestone in every pregnancy. In the early days your baby bump may not be visible yet, but pregnancy symptoms are there: you’ve probably been feeling tired more often and have started making small changes to your diet. If you’re lucky, the morning sickness has subsided, and you have some time and energy to start preparing for the arrival of your new baby. For many parents this is an exciting and special time, but it’s also a time of uncertainty.

There is nothing wrong with waiting before sharing pregnancy news and guarding your privacy and peace at this time, most women chose to do so.

How did the tradition start?

The primary reason for waiting to make a public announcement is that there are uncertainties and risks associated with pregnancy and childbirth. Before modern medicine, the likelihood of complications or miscarriage was much higher. In traditional communities it was not uncommon to keep quiet about a pregnancy until the pregnancy was clearly noticeable to others.

The Risks and Benefits of Announcing a Pregnancy Early

If you are an open person who likes to share, not telling other people about such a huge life event might feel strange or even dishonest. There is no right or wrong way to this, but there are some pros and cons to consider. That baby bump will start to show sooner or later, and it can be nice to delay the inevitable interest of others for a while if you can.

Unwanted attention and morning sickness

When it comes to pregnancy and babies, it is not uncommon for both friends and strangers, including other women to ask personal questions or start giving unwanted advice. Some people are bad at reading social cues, and some feel entitled to police the bodies of expectant mothers under the guise of “caring”.

Just because they mean well doesn’t mean you have to let them in if you aren’t prepared. Even parents who have been through it themselves can’t always tell what’s appropriate in the moment.

Risk of discrimination

Unfortunately, pregnant women are a vulnerable social group that faces very real threats of discrimination. Just when life is about to get more demanding, a pregnant person may find themselves fired from a job or kicked out of their apartment because the landlord doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of young children living in his rental property.

Remember, pregnant women are legally protected in the workplace from termination, job denial, or withdrawal of a job offer, as well as from discriminatory actions such as denial of promotion, demotion, unfavorable scheduling, and pay cuts.

Risk of miscarriage

As difficult as it is to think about, miscarriage is a possibility with any pregnancy. It can happen to perfectly healthy people through no fault of their own. We all think “it won’t happen to me”, but the truth is that it might.

The question in this context is: if you were to miscarry, would you rather share the journey of joy and sorrow with people who care about you, or would you rather avoid being reminded of the loss every time you have to explain to someone that no, you aren’t pregnant after all.

Each of us has unique circumstances and relationships. In the past, women often had to work through their grief alone because the topic was taboo. People are much more open to discussing and acknowledging miscarriage nowadays, but it is still a sensitive topic that is nobody else's business if you don't feel safe discussing it.

In many places, there are support groups where people with similar experiences can share and support each other.

Pregnancy Announcement Timeline Tailored to You


Make Your Pregnancy Announcement Timeline Suit Your Circumstances

As you can see, there is no one best time to announce a pregnancy. Consider your unique circumstances and your personal comfort level with the support and with the nosiness you’ll likely receive, both from good friends and from perfect strangers.

Announcing to Close Family and Friends

There is no rule that says you have to let friends and family know that you’re pregnant, but there are often expectations. Take a moment to consider the pros and cons of letting the people closest to you know.

A new baby, especially if it is your first child, is big project and having the support of friends and family as your due date approaches and in the immediate postpartum period, can make a big difference. A strong support network is a valuable asset, and those who are among the first to know will feel honoured that you consider them part of your inner circle.

At the same time, close friends and family members can sometimes be difficult or opinionated. If you already know that certain people are likely to make you feel triggered or judged or overwhelmed, keeping the baby news to yourself for a while is always an option.

There are those who may feel hurt if they think you’re excluding them from the joy of anticipating a new family member. Will that be a problem in the long run?

Are you doing this by yourself, or do you have to consider your partner and their side of the family? Are you telling people one by one, or will you make the big announcement at a family gathering? Can you count on the people you tell to let the news be yours to share with others or will they not be able to resist telling everyone?

In the end it’s your choice, and you will start showing sooner or later, but you can give yourself a buffer window to get used to the idea if that’s what feels best.

Announcing Your Pregnancy at Work

Timing an announcement at work can be tricky, as this is deeply personal and life-changing news. How you decide to let your bosses and colleagues know will depend on your work situation.

How long have you been in your job and how long do you expect to be there? What are your work relationships like? Are you part of a close-knit team or do people tend to mind their own business? Is your workplace more formal or more casual?

You will have to tell your employer at some point because you’ll be needing some time off, and you may need some accommodations morning sickness already in first trimester, but whether you tell everyone else is up to you. If you experience any harassment or lack of workplace accommodations following the announcement of your pregnancy, you have the right to report it and stand up for yourself. Your well being and that of your baby are most important at this time.

Sharing On Social Media

When it comes to a more public pregnancy announcement, remember that good news travels fast. It’s smart to give yourself a little time to get used to the idea of being pregnant before opening the door to unpredictable reactions from the online world.

Letting Others Know is Part of Journey

These days there are so many ways to share information, and when you’re pregnant there are multiple options for bringing people in and sharing this exciting time:

  • pregnancy announcement
  • pregnancy announcement at work
  • social media post
  • gender reveal
  • baby shower

Formal, casual, simple, quirky, or over-the-top—however you choose to share the news will be right for you. Splurge for an elaborate photo shoot, create a meaningful keepsake to pass down, or use an in-joke only your BFFs will understand.

Of course, each of the trimesters come with their challenges even in a healthy pregnancy. If there are any complications, pregnancy announcements become more difficult. When to announce pregnancy should always remain your personal choice.

Conclusion

The decision about when to announce your pregnancy should be made based on your individual comfort and circumstances. Go with your gut feeling and do what feels best for yourself, your partner, and your baby at the given moment.

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Share this article:
https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/when-should-i-tell-others-im-having-a-baby/
https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/when-to-tell-people-you-are-pregnant
https://www.insider.com/guides/health/reproductive-health/when-to-announce-pregnancy
https://patient.info/news-and-features/when-should-you-announce-a-pregnancy
https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/your-pregnancy-care/12-week-scan/
https://nationalpartnership.org/report/pregnancy-rights-in-workplace/
https://raisingchildren.net.au/pregnancy/health-wellbeing/tests-appointments/12-week-ultrasound-pregnancy-scan
https://raisingchildren.net.au/pregnancy/health-wellbeing/tests-appointments/20-week-ultrasound-scan
https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1741-7015-11-154
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