There’s no feeling like it. Seeing those two little lines show up on your pregnancy test can bring a whole rollercoaster of emotion, and it’s only natural to want to shout your news from the rooftops.
But… you’ve been told for as long as you can remember that you have to wait until you’re through the first trimester to tell anyone. So, when is the right time? When should you tell people you’re pregnant?
The ’12 Week Rule’
The unwritten rule of thumb has been that you are supposed to wait until you’ve passed the 12th week of pregnancy before you start telling anyone you’re pregnant.
This coincides with the end of the first trimester, but not everyone understands why this ‘rule’ came into place to begin with.
During the first trimester, you are at the highest risk of a miscarriage, with around 80% of miscarriages occurring within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
After the first trimester, from weeks 13 – 20 of pregnancy, the risk miscarriage is significantly reduced to approx 1% with this number being even lower if an ultrasound has been performed and a heartbeat detected.
Somewhere along the line, after home pregnancy tests became available, women started waiting until after their first trimester to announce their pregnancy, as miscarriage was a societally taboo topic.
This meant that women who did experience a miscarriage were expected to do so alone.
It also meant that all the challenges that come with the first trimester like morning sickness, fatigue, hormonal imbalances and other difficulties were endured alone, without help and without friendly advice.
Why The 12 Week Rule Is So Outdated
As you can probably tell already, the 12 week rule is ridiculously outdated. We know that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, which means there’s a pretty high chance that someone you know has experienced this.
Miscarriage is no longer (as) taboo, and women are announcing their pregnancies earlier.
Here are a few reasons why you might consider announcing your pregnancy before the 12 week mark:
1 – Love and Support
For a lot of women, the first trimester is rough. Hormones, morning sickness, crazy fatigue and exhaustion, it all adds up quickly. And sometimes, you really need that love and support.
You need to be able to have someone say to you ‘yes, this is hard’ when you need validation and ‘you can get through this’ when you need encouragement.
If you do experience a miscarriage, it is also this love and support that can help you through a difficult time. You don’t have to experience it in silence or alone.
You may not choose to tell every second person about your pregnancy, but you might consider telling those close to you who would be there to support you through anything.
2 – Help and Understanding
As we have already mentioned, the first trimester can be rough, and any extra help and understanding can go a long way.
Maybe you already have older kids and need help with them? Maybe your mum can come around and help with the housework?
Or maybe you need to take time off work and having people to help and understand what you’re going through can be a good thing.
It also means that you might have people around you who really know what you’re going through. If you do experience a miscarriage, chances are someone you know has experienced one too.
Having someone who has ‘been there’ can really help you navigate your way through what you’re feeling.
3 – Advice and Care
I’m the first to admit, not all advice is welcome.
I suffered from horrendous Hyperemesis during my pregnancies and despite being on 4 different medications, regular IV fluids and every possible Vitamin that *might* help, I still had people telling me to just ‘eat something before your feet hit the floor in the morning and you’ll be fine’.
Uh… I was vomiting over 20 times a day… I don’t think dry crackers are going to do the trick. And ginger burns so bad coming back up.
Anyway, despite my experience, not all advice is bad either.
And those who love and support you will be there to care for you when you need it too.
My mum was a saint during my pregnancy and would get me anything I needed, my brother would bring me frozen Coke if I was craving it because it was the only thing I could keep down some days (for a little while anyway) and just having people say that it was okay to sleep all day if I needed to just made me feel so supported and loved.
I honestly don’t believe I would have coped with my first trimester struggles, or my heartache from my miscarriages without the love, support, advice and care of those who are close to me.
4 – Share the Excitement
You know when you have really big exciting news, and you just want to tell everyone?
That’s what it feels like when you’re pregnant and you feel like you can’t tell anyone.
You choose your words differently, hold your hands differently and to be honest, hiding this news is exhausting.
You might want to share the excitement with a few close friends and family, or you might want to make it public for the whole world to share your joy.
Whatever works for you.
When Should You Tell People You Are Pregnant
There is a simple answer to this question: you can tell people you are pregnant whenever you want.
If you choose to wait until you’re through the first trimester to tell anyone then that is entirely your decision, however, be sure you are doing it because you want to and not because anyone else expects you to.
If you want to do a cute pregnancy announcement, then go for it. If you want to tell each person individually and relish in their excitement, then do that.
If you don’t want to tell anyone until you absolutely have to and can’t hide it anymore, then go right ahead.
This is YOUR pregnancy, you get to make the decisions and you are the one in control.