How to Hide Your Pregnancy Before You're Ready to Announce It

Woman Looking in Mirror Touching Belly

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Picture this: you just found out you're pregnant. You might be nauseous, exhausted, and trying to wrap your head around the fact that a tiny little human is about to enter your life and change it forever. Needless to say, you may not be ready to announce the news to the world, but as the weeks go by, it could feel like it's getting harder and harder to hide it.

Of course, there's nothing embarrassing about being pregnant, but you may be feeling awkward during this early stage, or hoping nobody notices the inevitable physical and emotional changes. So what do you do? We've got you covered on everything from tips for hiding your baby bump, dealing with uncomfortable questions and sharing the news when you're ready.

When Do Most Pregnant People Start Showing?

There is a lot of variability in terms of when pregnant people begin to show. According to Andrea Chisholm, MD, an OB/GYN and member of the Verywell Family medical review board, you may start to show as early as 12 weeks, as this is the time when your uterus starts to move upward and out of your pelvis.

This can depend a bit on physical size and weight, adds Dr. Chisholm. "I think it’s fair to say by 20 weeks or about five months, most pregnant people should have a well-established baby bump," she says.

However, it's common to show sooner if you're pregnant with twins or with a subsequent pregnancy. "That is because your abdominal wall muscles have been stretched by your prior pregnancy, so that growing uterus is usually obvious sooner," Dr. Chisholm explains. 

How to "Hide" Your Emerging Bump

You might not be ready for the world to notice your changing body—and that's totally understandable. Luckily, there are some creative ways to mask your growing belly, ranging from clothing options to daily routine adjustments.

Wear Loose-Fitting Clothes

After speaking with a few pregnant people and new parents, the best tip for hiding an emerging baby bump seems to be simply altering what you wear.

"Loose jumpsuits & sundresses, or anything with an empire waist, are your friends!" says Rachel Kasab Tilewick, a publicist who is currently 15 weeks pregnant.

If you're concerned about how to dress at the office, opt for looser tops and more fitted, high rise pants. A fancier version of leggings paired with an A-line blouse or chic tunic will do a great job of concealing your belly while still making you look put together. "Trousers with elastic waistbands helped me easily get dressed for work," Tilewick adds. Anything with stretch and room to grow is helpful for this early stage of pregnancy.

Dark Hues Are Best

Color can draw attention to certain areas of your body, so you may want to avoid overly bright shades. Instead, stick to dark, neutral hues, like black, brown and navy. If your ensembles are in need of some color, try a vibrant purse, a statement necklace, or some funky shoes! Colorful accessories are a great way to draw attention away from your belly, and toward other areas on your body.

Photo Angles Are Key

Believe it or not, how you pose in pictures can either reveal or conceal your baby bump.

"Avoid posing from the side," suggests Tilewick. A side profile pose will accentuate that belly's silhouette and surely give away the secret.

Instead, she suggests to take pictures directly from the front, or from a bird's eye view, where the camera is positioned above you looking down. You can also opt to crop your pictures, and leave your midsection out of any selfies altogether.

Take a Break From Social Media—Or Change Up Your Feed

One surefire way to dodge questions and comments is to avoid social media altogether. However, staying off social media, even for a bit, can be challenging for some.

If you still want to maintain your online presence alive, swap your usual selfies for some more generic posts. Rather than posting your #ootd (read: outfit of the day), snap a pic of your morning coffee instead. You can still keep your content going without anyone suspecting a thing.

Lay Low for a Little While

In addition to hiding your growing bump, you may be trying to hide feeling sick too. If your first trimester has got you feeling nauseous, exhausted, and downright drained, it may be really difficult to pretend everything is OK. For this reason, you may want to lay low for a while and take it easy with social outings.

"Pretending to be OK when you’re not can sometimes do more harm than good. If there was ever a time to be a homebody or say no to plans, this is it," says Jennifer Garris, child and family mental health counselor and co-founder of Big Little Learners private practice. "Try not to put so much pressure on yourself to show up and 'be OK.' You’re growing a whole other human and that is not an easy feat," Garris adds.

What to Do When Someone Asks THAT Awkward Question

At some point or another, someone is bound to ask the very question you've been trying to escape, "are you pregnant?"

When that happens, you may be feeling distressed and anxious, and you may not be sure how to reply. As someone who has been recently put in this awkward situation, I'd say you have two choices: straight up lie, or try to circumvent the question with a vague answer. If you're like me, you may not want to deny being pregnant. Instead, you can answer the "are you pregnant" question with a "we'll find out soon!" or "I'd love to be."

"If anyone asked me if I was pregnant before I announced the news I would say 'Hopefully soon!' or 'You never know, maybe!' to avoid answering the question directly," posits Tilewick. It’s a personal time and you have the right to keep your special news confidential until you want to share!" Being vague in this way helps you brush it off and quickly change the subject.

When Should You Tell People You're Pregnant?

The answer to this question is not so cut and dry.

As noted by Dr. Chisholm, 10% of pregnancies result in a miscarriage. "I counsel my patients to consider what will be the best support system for them in case they have a pregnancy loss," she says. "If they feel that they would want friends and family to know if they had an early pregnancy loss, then share the news early on. If they feel like they would rather be reassured that all is going well, then consider waiting longer."

As a general rule of thumb, Dr. Chisholm believes 12 weeks into pregnancy, coupled with a strong fetal heartbeat, is a reasonable time to share the exciting news.

How to (Eventually) Spill the Beans

There are many ways to let friends and family (and beyond) know that you're expecting. The way in which you share this news is totally personal. If you're more of a private person, you may opt for face-to-face meetings with loved ones, especially because this allows you to see their reactions in real time.

"We told our parents in person and then our friends and family over FaceTme," says Tilewick. "We felt it was more personal and we were able to see their reactions. With everyone’s schedules these days, it’s tough to get together, so we opted for 1:1 phone calls with the people we love!"

If you're beaming with excitement and just want to shout it off the rooftops, you may choose a grand public announcement on social media. Announcing on Instagram or Facebook casts a wide net, so not only will loved ones be in the know, but your entire friend list will be able to congratulate you!

A Word From Verywell

Trying to hide your growing baby bump in early pregnancy can be stressful. You may be faced with awkward situations and inevitably asked directly if you're expecting.

Fortunately, there are certain measures you can take to keep the news to yourself. Choosing loose-fitting clothing in dark and neutral shades can help conceal your big news. Laying low for a little while and taking a social media break is also a great option to ensure your secret is safe. When the time comes to share the exciting news, there are many ways to go about it, whether public or private.

3 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Pregnancy Association. Pregnancy Week 12.

  2. American Pregnancy Association. How Your Body Changes During Pregnancy.

  3. Cohain JS, Buxbaum RE, Mankuta D. Spontaneous first trimester miscarriage rates per woman among parous women with 1 or more pregnancies of 24 weeks or moreBMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2017;17(1):437. doi:10.1186/s12884-017-1620-1

By May Sofi
May Sofi Brennan is a bilingual speech-language pathologist specializing in early childhood. She has extensive experience working with children ages 0-5 and their families, with a focus on coaching caregivers on ways to encourage and promote language development. She is also a freelance writer whose work has appeared on Bustle and FabFitFun.