When and how to announce your pregnancy, according to OB-GYNs
- The best time to announce your
pregnancyis when it feels right to you.
- After 12 weeks, your risk of
miscarriagedrops and you'll have a clear ultrasound picture.
- You might want to share earlier to pool loved ones' support or if you need to make work adjustments.
Any parent will tell you that you make a seemingly countless number of decisions every day to ensure the safety, comfort, and well-being of your little one.
But one of the very first decisions you ever make as a parent-to-be is when to announce your pregnancy.
Ultimately, the best time is what feels right for both parents. However, there are a number of things to consider first.
Announcing early can help establish support
Some people who are pregnant announce very early, right after they get a blood or urine test confirmed from their doctor.
One thing to consider is that your chance of miscarrying is higher in the first several weeks after conception than at any other time in your pregnancy.
If you decide to announce early and do miscarry, this can help you pool support from friends and family.
Announcing around 6 weeks can allow for work adjustments
At six weeks you can get a confirmation ultrasound that shows "a fetus with a heartbeat," says Renee Wellenstein, DO, who is a double board-certified OB-GYN and founder at Kaspira Elite
You may also want to share within the first six weeks if you work where there may be physical or occupational hazards — like work with harmful chemicals in a lab — you need to adjust for during your pregnancy.
Or certainly, if you are "feeling really sick or having early complications which cause them to miss work or social engagements," says Leena Nathan, MD, an OB-GYN for UCLA Health.
Some early symptoms you might experience can include nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.
Plus, sharing earlier can also be wonderful for soon-to-be parents who want support in the beginning stages, perhaps because it's their first pregnancy.
Announcing at 12 weeks gives you insight on test results and ultrasounds
After the first trimester, at the end of week 12, your risk of miscarriage drops dramatically. That's also when "another ultrasound confirms that the fetus is growing well and that there is no [visual] evidence of genetic issues," says Nathan.
That ultrasound is also picture-perfect for sharing. By this point, your fetus starts to "look like a baby and is the ideal photographic time," says Wellenstein.
Wellenstein adds, "if an expectant mother is undergoing additional genetic screening, that happens around nine to 11 weeks."
Announcing after 12 weeks may feel safer for high-risk parents
"Sometimes women have a higher risk pregnancy which can predispose to complications throughout the pregnancy," says Nathan. Some factors that might cause a higher risk pregnancy include:
- A history of miscarriage. Your chances of having a miscarriage are greater if you've had a previous miscarriage. Wellenstein says that some people "may even wait longer, up until 20 weeks after the full anatomy ultrasound, for fear of it happening again."
- You're carrying multiples. Carrying twins or triplets causes a higher miscarriage risk early on and a higher risk of pregnancy complications later on.
- Certain health conditions. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, are significantly overweight, or have an existing medical condition, you are at increased risk of complications throughout pregnancy.
- You're older than 35. Doctors call this advanced maternal age, and it increases both miscarriage risk and risk of complications during each trimester.
- You're using fertility assistance, such as IVF. Fertility challenges arise for many reasons, but often there is more than one thing going on: advanced age, previous miscarriage(s), along with medical issues. "The risk of multiples is greater and the risk of loss can be greater, too," says Wellenstein.
How to announce your pregnancy
You do not need to tell your family, friends, or employer at the same time that you are pregnant.
If you are experiencing noticeable pregnancy symptoms early on and it's causing you stress, you may choose to let a handful of trusted people know before making a more public announcement. This support early on may be helpful for your emotional well-being during pregnancy.
Here are some suggestions for telling different people in your life that you're pregnant:
You might choose to tell your close family first. That way, if anything happens, you will have their support.
However, that decision is completely up to you and largely comes down to you and the dynamics of your relationship.
There are plenty of cute and creative ways to tell your friends that you're expecting, like surprising them with a bottle of wine and telling them to "drink one" for you.
You might also choose to be straightforward with them, especially if you want to be sensitive around any friends who have experienced pregnancy complications.
For friends and family who you aren't as close to or who live far away, posting your announcement on social media or sending out a card or e-card can be an easy way to cover all your bases.
There's no specific time when you have to let your employer know about your pregnancy. But, you may need to communicate it to your manager sooner if you're taking time off for appointments or have pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness that are affecting your work schedule.
When navigating your pregnancy at work, know that you are protected and have certain rights:
- Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which applies to companies with 15 or more employees, you cannot be fired, denied assignements, or bypassed for a promotion because you are pregnant.
- Additionally, the Family and Medical Leave Act — which covers some employees — allows for a 12-week period of unpaid leave, during which your insurance coverage and employment status remain intact. In order to qualify for this, you must give your employer a 30-day notice in advance of taking leave.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act may also come into play if you need to request accommodations for pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. Under this act, your workplace must allow you the same accommodations as other workers who are temporarily unable to do their typical duties for medical reasons.
Quick tip: Your state or city might also have its own laws around pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. You can find information specific to your area by searching for your state through A Better Balance's database.
A final note: Before announcing, you may want to have a good idea of how much time you'd like to take off before and after the birth. To help with that, look up your company's maternity leave policy. A Better Balance also recommends coming with a plan to help your coworkers prepare for your maternity leave.
When you choose to announce your pregnancy is a personal decision between you and your partner.
Announcing sooner than later, around six weeks, can establish early support. It also might help if you need to make any adjustments at work.
Waiting until 11 or 12 weeks will give you time to get more test results and ultrasounds to assess the health of your pregnancy. Around 12 weeks is also when the risk of miscarriage drops significantly.
If you have a high-risk pregnancy — for example, if you're carrying multiples, have experienced a prior miscarriage, or have any health conditions — you might feel safest waiting to announce until after 12 weeks, or until you start showing, closer to 20 weeks.
Taking all these factors into consideration, doctors advise that ultimately the best time to announce is when it feels right to you.
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