When is it safe to announce pregnancy? Considerations


Many people find sharing the news of a pregnancy exhilarating, but it can also be daunting. There is no right time to announce a pregnancy, but there are some factors that people might want to consider before spreading the news.

This article looks at when people announce their pregnancy, the pros and cons of making the announcement, and who may need to know.

There is no set time when to tell others about a pregnancy. Some people immediately spread the news, while others wait until after the first trimester, or about 12 weeks.

Many people do not announce their pregnancy during the first trimester because, according to March of Dimes, there is a higher chance of early pregnancy loss, or miscarriage, during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. This rate drops significantly after this time.

Pregnancy is a very personal event, and people might want to consider various factors before deciding when to tell others about a pregnancy.

Below are some pros and cons to consider.

Pros:

  • If a person struggles with morning sickness, letting others know about the pregnancy may make it easier to manage symptoms and provide a support network.
  • Letting the workplace know about the pregnancy can help minimize hazards, such as excessive physical labor or exposure to chemicals.
  • Telling friends and family can create a support network that can help should a person experience pregnancy loss.
  • Reduce stress and the need for excuses in social situations, such as not drinking alcohol, refusing certain foods, or feeling tired all the time.

Cons:

  • Making an early announcement may make it harder to deal with pregnancy loss if it happens.
  • A person and their partner can enjoy the intimacy that comes from having a secret to share.
  • If other children in the family know about the pregnancy, early pregnancy loss may be upsetting and hard for them to understand.
  • According to the American Psychological Association, repeatedly explaining pregnancy loss to people who think the pregnancy is continuing can cause stress and even trauma.
  • Even if sharing the news with just a few close friends or family members, it can be hard to control who else knows about the pregnancy.

Pros:

  • The risk of pregnancy loss dramatically drops by the end of the first trimester.
  • Waiting to hear the fetal heartbeat and having the first ultrasound scan may reduce anxiety around sharing the news.
  • People will be able to share their estimated due date with friends and family.
  • Many people start developing a noticeable bump at the end of the first trimester, so sharing the news may help avoid comments about appearance or speculation around pregnancy.

Cons:

  • The first trimester can be the hardest part of pregnancy, with many symptoms, such as morning sickness, nausea, fatigue, heartburn, and constipation. Trying to manage or hide symptoms may cause problems in the workplace or with close family and friends.

Pros:

  • Previous pregnancy complications or pregnancy loss may mean that some people prefer to keep their pregnancy private longer.
  • Further optional tests to check the fetus is in good health, such as amniocentesis, happen later in pregnancy, at around 16 to 18 weeks.
  • If people decide to terminate a pregnancy because, for example, a doctor identifies a congenital disability, people may find it easier not to share this with others.
  • People who are pregnant can avoid unwanted advice or criticism from friends and family members.
  • Although pregnancy discrimination in the workplace is illegal, it can still happen. Sharing the news later may reduce a person’s risk of experiencing workplace discrimination.

Cons:

  • Workplace hazards may expose a pregnant person to physical risks that may harm the pregnancy.
  • Getting time off work for pregnancy appointments, antenatal classes, or care for pregnancy complications may cause issues.
  • It will become increasingly hard to hide a pregnancy bump as the pregnancy progresses.
  • There is less time in the pregnancy to celebrate the good news with family and loved ones.
  • Though hard to come to terms with at any stage, pregnancy loss later in the pregnancy can cause extreme emotional trauma. Not having a support group around can make it much more difficult to come to terms with the loss.

It may be easier to stagger pregnancy announcements to various groups of people at different times.

Partner

Often a partner is present during the pregnancy tests, but if not, most people usually share the news with them first. Having a partner know about the pregnancy early on can help with decision-making and managing concerns or issues.

Partners should agree when to make any announcements and do it together and at the same time, if possible.

Family

Telling close family members is often the next step, especially any grandparents-in-waiting. Perhaps, ask them to keep the good news to themselves until the time is right to tell other family members.

Friends

Telling close friends about a pregnancy can be exciting. Be aware, though, that not everyone will feel ecstatic at the happy news. Some people may be experiencing problems with conceiving or may not yet be ready to start a family and may not share the same enthusiasm at the announcement.

Telling trusted friends who can keep a secret may be the best route at first, so the news does not end up on social media before you are ready to announce it to the world.

Work and colleagues

In the United States, it is not a legal requirement to inform an employer of pregnancy. For this reason, most people wait until after the first trimester to let their employer know.

It may be tempting to share the news first with a trusted colleague. But be aware that word can spread quickly in a workplace, and a boss may find out earlier than planned. So it might be best to tell a line manager or a human resources manager first.

Support networks

Announcing a pregnancy is often an exciting event; however, not everyone has a partner they can tell or a supportive network of friends and family. However, there are many unbiased nonprofits or other groups that a person can turn to for support and advice, including Planned Parenthood.

Pregnancy loss is the term healthcare providers use when a pregnancy ends before 20 weeks.

According to March of Dimes, up to half of all pregnancies may end in pregnancy loss. This is because many pregnancies end before a person is aware they are pregnant. They may mistake an early pregnancy loss for a period. In people who do not know they are pregnant, between 10–15% of all pregnancies end in pregnancy loss.

The chance of pregnancy loss lowers three times during pregnancy, although statistics vary on by how much:

  • Around 6–7 weeks of pregnancy, when the fetus has a heartbeat, the chance of pregnancy loss drops to between 5% and 10%.
  • Between weeks 8–13, according to this 2013 study, the chance of pregnancy loss falls to around 2–4%.
  • Between weeks 13–20, experts estimate the possibility of miscarriage drops to less than 1%.

However, according to the same 2013 study, Black women are twice as likely as white women to experience a pregnancy loss between 10–20 weeks of pregnancy.

Anyone with concerns about their chances of experiencing pregnancy loss should speak to a doctor.

Learn more about pregnancy loss risk by week of pregnancy.

Most pregnant people choose to announce a pregnancy after the first trimester as the risk of pregnancy loss is lower.

There are pros and cons to announcing a pregnancy at this time and announcing earlier or later than this. It may be easier to tell different groups of people at different times.

People without a support network can talk to nonprofit and other pregnancy support groups, such as Planned Parenthood.

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