If you’ve been trying to conceive, there may be no better feeling than seeing those 2 little lines pop up on a pregnancy test. It's an exciting time, and completely and utterly understandably, you may want to yell the news from the rooftops as loudly as you possibly can.
But outside of telling your partner and the doc, when do you share your pregnancy with everyone else? Is there a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ time to do it or should you just drop the news whenever you feel like it?
Spoiler alert: the choice is ultimately up to you.
But, there are a few things you might want to think about when deciding on making your pregnancy announcement. Here’s what to consider.
When is the best time to announce your pregnancy?
There’s no ‘best’ time per se. However, many people wait until the 12-week mark, which is the end of the first trimester. There are several reasons for this, but generally, it’s because it’s when the pregnancy reaches safer and steadier territory, medically speaking.
For some, though, hiding the first signs of pregnancy — like fatigue, morning sickness and food aversions — is near impossible. So, announcing the pregnancy early is the easiest way to explain the situation. Others might simply be too excited to keep it in.
Some may want support from friends and family if they’ve experienced pregnancy loss in the past. Others still may choose to announce their pregnancy news to close family early on before sharing it with their wider community (and their Instagram followers).
Deciding when to disclose your pregnancy is a deeply personal decision and depends on so many different factors.
Why do people usually wait until 12 weeks to announce pregnancy?
Typically, many people wait until the end of the first trimester to announce their pregnancy because there’s a much lower chance of miscarriage.
The first trimester is when most miscarriages happen. In fact, 80% of them occur before the 12-week mark . After the first trimester, the risk of miscarriage drops substantially, with only 2% to 3% of miscarriages happening in the second trimester .
Plus, during those first 3 months, there are several tests that get done to check the viability of the pregnancy and the health of the baby. These include a urine and/or blood test performed by a doctor to confirm the pregnancy, a blood test to detect the risk of certain chromosomal abnormalities and verify the baby’s sex, and a 12-week scan.
Some prospective parents can be nervous about sharing the news before they’ve gotten the all-clear.
Common milestones you might want to reach
The first trimester is full of pregnancy milestones. Reaching these may not make much of a difference to you, especially if you want your loved ones' support should anything go wrong.
However, if you'd prefer to wait to announce your pregnancy, these are a few moments to keep in mind:
Your first prenatal appointment
The first prenatal visit with your GP or OBGYN is exciting and important. It's when you’ll have your pregnancy confirmed, usually through a repeat urine test or possibly through a blood test that measures your human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels.
This is a hormone produced by your placenta during pregnancy which indicates not only that you’re expecting, but, in combination with other factors, how far along you are.
The first prenatal visit usually happens between 6 and 8 weeks into pregnancy. During the appointment, your doc will also perform a general check-up, chat with you about your health history, and answer any of your burning questions.
They’ll also likely offer advice on taking care of yourself during pregnancy, such as making any necessary lifestyle changes, getting enough rest and starting a prenatal vitamin.
If you're looking for a vitamin that gives bub the best beginning possible, Kin’s Prenatal is a stellar choice, as it helps you meet your nutritional needs during those crucial development stages, while minimising uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms like constipation, nausea and reflux.
It does so thanks to its 12 key vitamins and minerals, including iron, vitamin D3 and methylated folate, which work together to keep you and the little one healthy.
The dating scan
Some parents-to-be opt for an early dating scan at the 6 to 8-week mark. The doctor may also recommend it if you've got a high-risk pregnancy. This ultrasound can check the viability of the pregnancy, how many foetuses there are, how far along the pregnancy is and the baby’s heartbeat.
Unlike other pregnancy scans that are done across your abdomen, the dating scan is performed using a transducer probe that travels into your vagina. This is because the baby is too small to see via a transabdominal ultrasound.
Non-invasive prenatal testing, or NIPT
Among the several tests and scans you'll undertake throughout your pregnancy, there may be an optional examination called non-invasive prenatal testing, or NIPT.
This blood test can be performed from 10 weeks onwards to check for chromosomal abnormalities, as well as your baby’s sex and how many babies you’re carrying. It works by assessing some of the DNA that travels from your placenta into your blood, carrying with it your baby’s genetic information.
Just note that, unlike many other pregnancy exams, NIPT isn’t covered by Medicare, so you’ll need to fork out a few hundred dollars for it.
The first-trimester screening
The first-trimester screening, usually performed between 11 and 14 weeks, is a pretty major pregnancy milestone. Not only does it mark the end of the first trimester — i.e. when you reach the ‘safe zone’ of pregnancy — but it’s often the first time you see your baby on a sonogram.
For this reason, lots of parents-to-be wait until they’ve had this screening before announcing their news.
As part of the screening, you’ll do an ultrasound known as a nuchal translucency scan. This scan measures the thickness of the space behind the baby’s neck, which can indicate the chance it has a chromosomal abnormality like Down syndrome. It also looks at other things like your baby’s heartbeat, their length and your projected due date.
The results of the scan can be combined with a blood test to get a clearer picture of the baby’s risk of certain conditions.
When you start showing
When your baby bump pops, keeping your news private gets quite a bit trickier. This is why you might see it as a good time to announce your pregnancy.
Your baby bump can appear anywhere between 12 and 20 weeks depending on the size of your frame and your midsection. Those with smaller frames tend to show earlier. Generally, though, most bumps emerge by weeks 14 to 16.
The morphology scan
The morphology scan is the most comprehensive test performed during pregnancy. Done between weeks 18 and 22, it assesses your baby’s size and organs, as well as your placenta.
Many parents also find out the sex of their baby during this scan. While most doctors recommend doing the morphology scan, the choice is ultimately yours.
During the morphology scan, the technician will look at your baby’s brain, heart, stomach, kidneys, liver, bladder, spine, limbs, and facial features. They’ll also check your placenta to see where it’s sitting, along with the umbilical cord and amniotic fluid.
The morphology scan isn’t 100% accurate, but it can help detect certain abnormalities and deformities.
What is the miscarriage taboo?
Miscarriage is incredibly common. It’s estimated that 10 to 15% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, although the real number is likely much higher because many women don’t realise they’re pregnant. Plus, there are numerous miscarriages that don’t get officially recorded .
Despite its prevalence, there’s still a taboo around early pregnancy loss. Because the majority of miscarriages happen in the first trimester, many parents haven’t even announced that they’re pregnant before losing their baby.
For lots of mothers, miscarriage often comes with feelings of sadness, shame, failure, isolation, and fear of making others uncomfortable by sharing their experiences. Research has found that these feelings often lead to mental health issues like anxiety, depression and PTSD . Guilt and self-blame are also common, with a woman feeling responsible for the miscarriage .
So, why is this the case?
It could be that historically, much of the burden has been placed on the pregnant person to avoid a miscarriage . In the Victorian era, for example, women were forbidden from having teeth extracted, riding a bike, swimming in the sea, sewing, and even being too happy for fear of losing the baby.
These activities have since been found to be safe during the early weeks of pregnancy, and medical experts have discovered that most miscarriages are actually caused by reasons out of our control, like chromosomal abnormalities .
As well, many more women — like Meghan Markle and Chrissy Teigen — are publicly sharing their experiences, and slowly, but surely, the stigma around pregnancy loss is disappearing.
Ultimately, it's up to you!
The decision about when to announce your pregnancy is really yours. There isn’t a right or wrong time, and no blanket rule that works for everyone. You may feel more comfortable meeting certain milestones first and confirming that the pregnancy is viable and that the baby is healthy before making the news public.
Alternatively, you may prefer to tell your close friends and immediate family as early as possible, knowing they can be there for you should something happen.
Think about what makes you most comfortable and what you might need during the first trimester. For example, a bit of help from friends and family while you’re dealing with early pregnancy symptoms like fatigue and morning sickness might not go astray.
Regardless of when you share the news, though, you can rest assured that it’ll be an exciting and unforgettable announcement.
Image credit: Getty Images