Keeping Your Pregnancy a Secret: Why We Wait Until 12 Weeks
Never mind agreeing on a name or choosing what mural to decorate the nursery with, one of the very first decisions you’ll face when you’re expecting is who to share the news with and when to tell them. At first it’s a special secret between you and your partner, and while part of you will want to tell the world, another part of you might want to continue keeping your pregnancy a secret.
Traditionally, expectant parents wait until after 12 weeks of pregnancy to share the news – but why is that, and is it right for everyone?
Why 12 Weeks is Considered ‘Safe’
Most miscarriages will happen in the first trimester, which is why 12 weeks is seen as the ‘magic number’. Wanting to share your happy news with as many people as possible is completely understandable, but if the worst happens, you’ll have to share that sad news as well. So you’ll have to decide if you are keeping your pregnancy a secret until after 12 weeks.
While employers can’t legally discriminate against pregnant woman, it’s still often a concern, especially in the U.S where paid maternity leave isn’t compulsory. And let’s face it, just because something isn’t legal, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen and this can be a reason why you decide to continue keeping your pregnancy a secret. With the risks of miscarriage being higher in early pregnancy, some women worry about the possibility of being treated unfairly, and would rather wait to share the news until they have to.
The exception here is if you work in an environment that could be harmful to your unborn baby, because telling your employer as soon as you find out means that you and they can make plans to adjust your current role.
Why We Waited Until 12 Weeks
I’d been having pains in my side and frequent bleeding for a number of weeks, but despite the fact both my partner and my mom had been urging me to see a doctor, it was only the positive pregnancy test result that caused me to actually make that appointment.
We were referred to the Early Pregnancy Unit for an ultrasound because of it, and the night before the scan I started bleeding and hadn’t stopped by the next morning. It was a fairly somber journey to the hospital that day as we both expected the worst, but what we saw on the scan was a little kidney bean with a really strong heartbeat!
Despite the news that everything was fine, because there had been some issues we decided to keep the pregnancy to ourselves until we were 12 weeks along, though in hindsight we would have gone to my family for support if something had happened to the pregnancy. Of course, keeping it a secret wasn’t that easy, particularly as I suffered quite badly with all day sickness early on and I’m known for my love of wine – but we (pretty much!) managed it.
Why You Might Not Want To Wait Until 12 Weeks
There are definitely benefits to telling people sooner than 12 weeks, for example, if something were to happen, are there people close to you that you’d automatically look to for support? Even if there are two of you, having that extra support, both emotional and practical, could be really valuable to you both. Plus of course if you’re exhibiting symptoms or drastically changing your lifestyle, you might find it more difficult to hide it from some of the people in your life.
While 12 weeks is the generally accepted safe point to share your happy news, the important thing is that you do it when you feel ready. That may be earlier than 12 weeks, or it may even be later – it’s going to be whatever you feel is right for you.