Finding out that you’re pregnant is one of the most momentous occasions in your life. Whether it’s expected or not, most women want to tell someone the news straight away. Here’s where women often run into the ‘when to announce pregnancy’ dilemma. For decades, we’ve adhered to a social norm which dictates that we delay announcements until the second trimester.
But many women are now choosing to break this tradition with an early pregnancy announcement prior to the accepted 12 weeks. Here’s why.
Why is 12 weeks considered safe to announce a pregnancy?
The threat of miscarriage decreases significantly after the first trimester – it is estimated that 85% of miscarriages of known pregnancies take place in the first trimester. When the diagnostic ultrasound for detecting chromosomal conditions, such as Down’s syndrome, was first used in the 1970s, it was performed at 11-14 weeks into pregnancy. Detection of such conditions is uncommon, but positive identification results in termination around 95% of the time.
Because of this, it became customary to wait until after the diagnostic ultrasound towards the end of the first trimester to announce a pregnancy. Waiting meant never having to ‘untell’ the people they’d excitedly told their happy news should the pregnancy end in miscarriage.
Get support during the first trimester blues
The first 12 weeks of pregnancy can be a rollercoaster. Your body is changing rapidly, and some changes are unexpected and can’t be hidden. You’ve got new aches and pains, new food cravings and aversions, and your hormones are working overtime. It’s during the first trimester that babies develop their brain, muscles, organs, limbs, and nervous system, so most women are absolutely exhausted from the invisible task of building a tiny human. Add to this that around 90% of pregnant women experience nausea or ‘morning sickness’ in the first trimester, and that’s a lot to deal with on your own or only with your partner.
This is a huge factor for many women in choosing when to announce pregnancy. Having help with daily chores, childcare and getting dinner on the table can be a lifesaver during the challenging first 12 weeks, and an early pregnancy announcement helps them get the support they need early on.
Build a support network
Mums today often have less support around them than generations before, who used to live with three generations in one house. Now, our parents and relatives might live out of town, out of state or or overseas, or they may just have smaller family units with fewer aunties to call for advice and reassurance.
If the first trimester is a tough one, you’ll want to have supportive people to call who have been through what you’re going through.
Get support in the event of a miscarriage
The risk of miscarriage is a devastating reality, and no one should suffer alone in silence. But telling people you’re pregnant then miscarrying unexpectedly is one of the main reasons women don’t announce a pregnancy until 12 weeks.
The fact is that miscarriage is more common than most of us realise, and keeping it to ourselves is only feeding into miscarriage taboo and discouraging women further from sharing their grief and seeking support.
For some women, this is a strong case for changing the narrative on when to announce pregnancy. The loss of a baby is a traumatic and tragic event, and having support while you’re grieving could be crucial for getting through it.
Deciding when to announce pregnancy is always a personal choice, and will look different for everyone. There’s no rule book for when to do it – just create the world where you have the love and support you need as you bring new life into the world!
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