Choosing the Right Time to Announce a Pregnancy

Couple discovering pregnancy.
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Finding out you are pregnant probably sends a flurry of emotions through your body and your mind. You might expect to feel nervous, excited, surprised, scared, delighted, and many more emotions.

After the bottom of your stomach drops out when the pregnancy test turns positive, you will eventually hit a place of being ready to share your news. You may be excited about spreading the news that you are expecting a baby or you may be worried. Both are completely normal, but often surprise people.

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Who to Tell

Probably the second person to know that you're expecting will be your spouse or partner. There are many creative ways to make a pregnancy announcement that commemorates that special moment in a unique way. Finding a way to tell them in an unexpected manner can be fun. Or perhaps they were the ones holding your hand while the pregnancy test was processing.​

Those are the easy decisions. The next group of people you may tell will be your family or close friends. From that group, you typically move on to acquaintances and finally, you tell anyone who will listen.

While there is a typical order in which most families share the news of their pregnancy, you may wonder if you need to put some time between getting the big news and sharing it.

It can also be normal to tell strangers before you are ready to tell your family. This is a way to share your news in a low-risk situation with very little pushback.

When to Make the Announcement

When to tell others is a hotly debated topic. The timing for sharing the news of your pregnancy is a very personal decision. Some families choose to share the good news early and often. They will tell anyone who will listen. Before the pregnancy test stick has dried they are on the phone calling their friends and family.

Pro Telling Early
  • Lots of support early in pregnancy

  • Able to share your good news and excitement

  • Earlier offers of physical help

  • More advice from others about practitioners

  • Help with early decisions

  • If you miscarry, you will have support from everyone

Con Telling Early
  • Too much advice

  • Good news travels fast, you may not be the first to tell someone

  • If you miscarry everyone knew you were pregnant

The other extreme is to tell no one or to tell very few people. This group may also wait to tell until they have reached a predetermined point in their pregnancy. Then they may tell only on a need to know basis, often waiting until their expanding abdomen shouts the news for them. This may be because of religious or personally held beliefs, perhaps because of a fear of losing the pregnancy.

Pro Waiting to Tell
  • Time to digest the news

  • Make decisions without the input of others

  • If you miscarry you don't have to retract the pregnancy announcement

Con Waiting to Tell
  • No help/support from others

  • If you miscarry everyone wonders why you are sad, and you have to backtrack your explanation

As you can see there is not a clear-cut answer. You might choose to tell early, knowing that if you had a pregnancy loss that you would need the loving support of family or friends in the grieving process.

You may wish to wait until the risk of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy has passed before sharing the news of your pregnancy. There is no one right answer. What works for your family is the right way for you to share the good news.

You might try a test announcement with a few people. See how it goes. You may then decide to continue sharing your news or wait a bit. Sometimes you may even just tweak what you're saying or doing as a part of the announcement.

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.