I was asked to broach this topic by a Mum Network reader who wrote to me and said “I’ve just seen a friend announce she is 5 weeks pregnant on facebook, don’t you think that’s too early, I mean, what if something goes wrong?
Back in the olden days (when many of us were born), our mother’s were told not to announce they were pregnant until they had passed the all important first trimester. In my own Mum’s case, I can recall her telling me she didn’t actually realize she was pregnant with a couple of us until she’d well and truly passed the first trimester. This was also a time when it was rare for a father to attend the birth so a lot has changed since then.
As women we’re more fortunate now, we can confirm a pregnancy in our own homes up to four or five days before we’re due, and there’s generally a 4-6 week wait to see a doctor between finding out and that time. So the excitement of knowing that you’re pregnant, confirming with a doctor and then waiting another 6-8 weeks to tell people can be long and arduous especially for first time Mum’s who are usually beside themselves and want to tell the world immediately.
The reason we are told to ‘wait’ to tell people until the all important 12 week mark is because the risk of miscarriage is at its highest immediately after implantation. It’s thought that around 50% of all fertilized eggs do not survive, coming away with a normal or lightly late period. This is often referred to as an ‘unoticed’ miscarriage because it’s not usually formally acknowledged by the woman, who is never aware of her pregnancy.
It’s estimated that 15 to 20% of known pregnancies will end in miscarriage (pregnancies that will not survive past 20 weeks). This is sadly a very high number and surprising to most as it’s a very high statistic. As a pregnancy progresses, the baby becomes stronger and there’s less chance of a miscarriage.
Waiting three months allows Mum to get over that critical period so that, in the terrible event that something were to happen to the pregnancy, Mum doesn’t have to explain the situation to everyone. That said, we’re much more open about pregnancy, miscarriages and sharing with our friends to garner their support if something does go wrong. I know my friends who have lost a baby have needed their friends to lean on when it matters most so perhaps the ‘when is it ok to say’ argument is a futile one in this day and age.
For me, I waited. Obviously hubby and a few other people very close to me knew about my four pregnancies, but the wider groups of friends and families weren’t told the news of our babies until 12 weeks. This is primarily because I too wanted to get to the safe zone and secondly, a baby takes a LONG time to get here. 40 weeks is not actually 9 months but 10 months once you reach full term so not only does Mum have to be pregnant for 10 months but when you spend most of your time as a pregnant woman talking about the pregnancy and nothing else, sometimes it gets tiring for you to have to answer pregnancy related questions for the entire time. That first three months is nice to have a little secret and chill out time alone. Finally, if you have other little people in the family, 40 weeks is the longest time ever, ever, ever. Always advisable to tell the little people last and ask others to watch what they say around them. This is not to keep secrets from them or keep them out of the loop but to ask a child to drive in a car for two hours is a long time so 40 weeks is an eternity.
When I was pregnant with no 3 child, I made the mistake of ‘mentioning’ something to the eldest two. Within hours of talking to them, they were in the car telling Nanny that “Mummy has another baby in her tummy”….no secrets in our house that’s for sure. We then spent the next 7 months listening to “is the baby here yet?” It wasn’t fair on them, or us!
When weighing up the options of who to tell and who not to tell and when, the answer is simple. It’s up to you. The only thing you need to think about is if something did go wrong, or there were complications, do you want others to know and would you be prepared or in a position to explain it to those people. If the answer is yes, then by all means, announce away. There will always be people who think you should wait and that’s ok too.