When Is It Safe To Announce Pregnancy – [2021 Updated]

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kimberly Langdon, MD

When Is It Safe To Announce Pregnancy

Getting that positive pregnancy test result you have been waiting for should be a big cause for celebration. But hush. There might be several factors you may want to consider before spreading the word.

First and foremost, there is no right or wrong time to announce a pregnancy; some women reveal at first sight of a ‘plus sign’ indicated on their test stick, while others ride it out as long as they can until they cannot physically hide it anymore. 

Why do women announce their pregnancy at different times, and what factors influence this decision?

When Is It Safe To Announce Pregnancy?

Most pregnant women wait until after week 12 (end of the first trimester) to safely announce their pregnancy. There are many reasons for this, but mainly because the risk of miscarriage reduces significantly after the first trimester. 

The correct time to reveal your pregnancy should be the one most comfortable for you and your partner, although there are many reasons, pros, and cons in your announcement’s timing. 

During the first twelve weeks of pregnancy (first trimester), the body goes through enormous hormonal changes as the baby grows and develops. 

However, not every pregnancy is viable until birth. Studies show that 10 to 25%[1] of pregnancies end in miscarriage, while 10 to 15% of all pregnancies result in spontaneous miscarriage during the first trimester[2]

For this reason, it is probably best to wait until the end of the first trimester before announcing your pregnancy.

Announcing As First Trimester Ends

Most women reveal their pregnancy between the end of the first trimester and the start of the second one (between weeks 12 and 13). There are many reasons for this, including reassurance that the baby is healthy after the first prenatal visit and the reduced risk of miscarriage.

The Risk of Miscarriage

A miscarriage is a pregnancy failure that occurs before completing 24 weeks of gestation[2].

Twenty to forty percent[3] of pregnant women will experience bleeding during the first trimester. The most common causes of early pregnancy bleeding are the complications of miscarriage[3], including threatened miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. 

If you experience early pregnancy bleeding, it can be very distressing, and you may feel the need to seek reassurance that the pregnancy is still viable. On occasion, you may need a referral to see a /obstetrician/gynecologist.

Factors Increasing Miscarriage Risk

At least half of all miscarriages[4] are caused by chromosomal abnormalities, but certain factors can increase the chances of a miscarriage, including[2]

  • Increasing maternal and paternal age
  • Being underweight or overweight
  • Smoking
  • Previous miscarriages, including ectopic pregnancy
  • High alcohol consumption
  • Previous cesarean surgery 

Previous Miscarriages

If you have had previous pregnancies and miscarried, the chances of a recurrent miscarriage are increased[5]. The exact reasons are unknown in half of all cases but can include abnormal chromosomes, endocrinological disorders, and uterine abnormalities[5]. Your doctor may run more tests and try to determine the reason why. 

Recurrent miscarriage is the loss of three or more consecutive pregnancies. One in a hundred[6] couples trying to conceive will experience recurrent miscarriages, which can be both frustrating and heartbreaking.

First Trimester Prenatal Visits

Once you have a positive pregnancy result at home, you should contact your doctor to schedule an appointment for your first prenatal visit. 

  • First prenatal visit: Depending on when you performed your home pregnancy test, the first prenatal visit should typically be between weeks 6 and 8[7]. This first visit includes taking a complete medical history, including any risk factors affecting the pregnancy, performing a physical exam, taking blood tests, and estimating the baby’s due date, usually with an ultrasound. 
  • Second prenatal visit: This typically occurs around four weeks after the first appointment[7], towards the end of the first trimester. Hearing the baby’s heartbeat for the first time and seeing the baby’s development through an ultrasound provides extra reassurance for parents. 

Your doctor may offer you a screen check for chromosomal abnormalities, particularly an ultrasound or blood test to check for the risk of Down syndrome. 

Most women will wait until they have received results of blood tests that screen for genetic purposes or chromosomal abnormalities to announce their pregnancy, usually towards the end of the first trimester.

Revealing Before Week 12

Most women wait until the end of the first trimester to reveal their pregnancy, but many choose not to.

Increased Support 

  • Support with early pregnancy symptoms: Hormonal changes in your body during early pregnancy can bring with it physical symptoms[8] such as morning sickness (nausea and vomiting), swollen breasts, and fatigue. Some women may also experience emotional imbalance[8] or food aversions, altering their taste and smell.  

The earlier you reveal your pregnancy, the sooner close friends and family can support you physically and emotionally.

  • Previous miscarriages: For those who have had previous miscarriages, early pregnancy announcements to close friends and family may provide emotional support if a miscarriage occurs again. Those in the loop can also check in on you from time to time and provide support and encouragement.
  • Undergoing IVF: Couples undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) can experience an emotional roller-coaster all by themselves. Similarly, you may want to announce a successful try reasonably early on, so you get support from those in similar situations going through the same emotions. 

Your Employer 

Depending on your job role, you may need to inform your employer as soon as you learn of your pregnancy if your job involves physical or manual labor that might be dangerous for your baby. Such as standing for lengthy periods, bending and lifting heaving objects, or being exposed to chemicals harmful to the fetus. 

International Travel

You may need to disclose your pregnancy earlier than expected if you plan to travel internationally to somewhere that has a risk of harming your baby. Avoid countries with Zika virus or malaria risk[9], which are both spread by mosquito bites. 

Waiting Until Second Trimester Onwards

Most miscarriages occur during the first trimester, and studies estimate that only 2 to 3%[10] of pregnancies end spontaneously in the second trimester. But despite this, some women may prefer to wait even longer before revealing pregnancy. 

Unwanted Pregnancy Attention

  • Unwanted attention: While being pregnant is a cause for celebration; some may treat it as a private matter and do not want the hassle and attention of being pregnant. 
  • Mixed emotions: Some women may feel uncertain or anxious, especially if going through their first pregnancy or an unplanned one. 
  • Previous pregnancy complications: If you have had a previous miscarriage, stillbirth, or difficulty conceiving, you may want to share the news of pregnancy early to gain emotional support. But some women feel the opposite, instead preferring to prolong their pregnancy announcement.

More Scans and Results

  • Anatomy scan: A technician typically performs this ultrasound between weeks 18 and 22. This includes checking the baby’s size, position, and developmental progress of the brain, heart, lungs, and other organs. 

Some women may want to wait until this scan to reveal the baby’s gender along with their pregnancy announcement. Those with real genetic concerns may wait until the results of further blood tests before announcing pregnancy. 

  • Amniocentesis: If you have had an abnormal test result for Down syndrome during your second or third prenatal visit, your doctor may suggest you undergo amniocentesis. This process involves removing a tiny sample of amniotic fluid using a fine needle during week 20 of your pregnancy. 

If this is the case, you may not want to reveal pregnancy until you receive these results.

Conclusion

  • The start of pregnancy can be both exhilarating and frightening for both first-time mothers and experienced ones.
  • Many women choose to reveal their pregnancy at the end of the first trimester because the risk of miscarriage reduces significantly.
  • Other reasons for delaying pregnancy announcement include previous pregnancy complications, awaiting blood test results, or simply personal preference. 
  • Reasons for disclosing pregnancy earlier include international travel that may affect the fetus or for safety reasons within their job role. 
  • There is no right or wrong time to announce pregnancy; choose a time that you are most comfortable with, whenever that is, and celebrate.


+ 10 sources

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  1. American Pregnancy Association. (2020). Miscarriage: Signs, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention. [online] Available at: https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-complications/signs-of-miscarriage-916/
  2. Oliver A;Overton C (2014). Diagnosis and management of miscarriage. The Practitioner, [online] 258(1771). Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25055407/
  3. Breeze C (2016). Early pregnancy bleeding. Australian family physician, [online] 45(5). Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27166462/
  4. Lathi, R., Gray Hazard, F., Heerema-McKenney, A., Taylor, J. & Chueh, J. (2011). First Trimester Miscarriage Evaluation. Seminars in Reproductive Medicine, [online] 29(06), pp.463–469. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22161459/
  5. Garrido-Gimenez, C. & Alijotas-Reig, J. (2015). Recurrent miscarriage: causes, evaluation and management. Postgraduate Medical Journal, [online] 91(1073), pp.151–162. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25681385/
  6. Rai, R. & Regan, L. (2006). Recurrent miscarriage. The Lancet, [online] 368(9535), pp.601–611. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16905025/
  7. Mayo Clinic. (2020). Prenatal care: 1st trimester visits. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/prenatal-care/art-20044882
  8. Mayo Clinic. (2019). Symptoms of pregnancy: What happens first. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/symptoms-of-pregnancy/art-20043853
  9. Cdc.gov. (2020). Pregnant Travelers | Travelers’ Health | CDC. [online] Available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/pregnant-travelers
  10. McNamee, K.M., Dawood, F. & Farquharson, R.G. (2014). Mid-Trimester Pregnancy Loss. Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America, [online] 41(1), pp.87–102. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24491985/

Written by:

Christina Cheung

Medically reviewed by:

Christina Cheung holds a Master’s of Pharmacy from the University of Bath (UK) and is a freelance writer specializing in medicine and science. With over a decade of experience as a community and hospital pharmacist both in the UK and abroad, she has dealt first-hand with patients facing medical difficulties and decisions. She now writes to promote medical health and wellness to better the community. Christina also has a published science blog with a passion for inspiring and encouraging medicine and science for kids and students. While not writing, she can be found strolling through the country parks with her family and pet dog.

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