Uh oh, you’ve missed your period – the first thing that comes to mind? Am I pregnant? You rush off to the loo to pee on a stick… and lo and behold, there it is: the faint blue line that confirms you’re pregnant!
Whether it’s surprising or welcome news, most of us will want to tell someone immediately, yet it’s very common in many cultures to keep it a secret for months. In the UK, for example, it’s the unwritten rule to reveal you’re pregnant only after the 12-week mark and you’ve had your first scan, while in Europe, couples are more open, sharing with family and friends from the get-go.
Medical experts will tell you that there’s no right or wrong – every couple is different and it really is up to you to decide when you want to share the news of your baby with the world.
For couples who are having their first baby, it can take a while for the news to sink in, especially in the first few weeks which is typically a rollercoaster of emotions, hormones and morning sickness. But Dr Zoe Williams, a UK TV personality that practices as a NHS GP in London and also writes a column for The Sun, says there’s no hard and fast rule around this tradition.
In her latest column she writes that one common reason moms put off sharing their pregnancy news is because they’re worried about how it will affect their job and future career. “This is wrong and we should address this issue and ensure women are never discriminated against because they are pregnant,” she says.
Another reason is the fear of having a miscarriage and the expectation that you should wait until it’s less likely for your pregnancy to end.
According to Dr Williams, most miscarriages will happen before 12 weeks, which is part of the reason why it’s become tradition to wait for the 12-week scan so your doctor can confirm that everything is okay. But, she points out, “it also means they are left feeling isolated and alone at one of the most devastating moments of their lives.”
Some might want to deal with the miscarriage alone or with the support of their partner. But others may benefit from speaking to their friends, sharing their grief and understanding that some may have been through the experience, too.
“So many women blame themselves, and suffer in silence, when the reality is there was a genetic fault somewhere along the line that meant the foetus couldn’t have survived,” she says.
You probably know many people who have experienced a miscarriage, but you don’t know they’ve been through it.
So, when should I announce my pregnancy?
Dr Williams’ advice is to put yourself in a situation where the worst has happened. “Who would you turn to? Who would you want to speak to, cry with or just be plain angry with? If it’s your best friend or your sister, it might be worth sharing your pregnancy news sooner – that is, before the 12-week scan.”
That way, she says, if you do have a miscarriage, that trusted person can be there for you whenever you need them. “It’s worth choosing someone to share your news with that’s best for you!”
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