When you’re trying to conceive, getting a positive pregnancy test is often all you can think about. But what do you do once you get one?
Aside from scheduling your first prenatal appointment, most minds shift fairly quickly into the, “Who are we going to tell, and when?” mode.
In asking around, it seems that everyone has different opinions. Some might announce right away, wanting to shout their happy news from the rooftops (or Facebook.) Others might wait the average 12 weeks, or until they enter the second trimester. For some, waiting until after the 20-week anatomy scan is when they prefer to share their joy with the world.
If you’re confused—don’t worry. We consulted with Dr. Lakeisha Richardson, and OB/GYN in Greenville, Mississippi for her expert advice.
She advises, “Most physicians recommend that couples wait to announce their pregnancy until they are out of the first trimester or after 14 weeks,” noting that of course there’s no hard or fast rule that prohibits anyone from announcing whenever they want. However, she explains, “for the unfortunate person that has a first trimester miscarriage and announces their pregnancy too soon- they may find it more difficult to heal after the loss because of the attention and continued questions about the pregnancy,” adding that they would have to let as many people know as possible that they miscarried to prevent future tough conversations.
On the contrary, the couple may find comfort in having people around them having shared in their joy, and that can now help support them through the loss.
Dr. Richardson says, “Eighty percent of all miscarriages occur before 12 weeks’ gestation, “and that “studies estimate that 15 - 25% of recognized pregnancies will result in a miscarriage.” While many couples might think that after hearing a heartbeat they may be out of the woods, she warns, “Patients should not be deceived by an early ultrasound with fetal cardiac activity. A miscarriage can still occur even after a heartbeat has been seen on ultrasound.”
Aside from the risk of miscarriages being higher in the first 12 weeks, women who are considered “high risk” may want to wait even longer. “Women who have a high-risk pregnancy may want to wait until the fetus reaches viability (24 weeks) before announcing the pregnancy. Especially women who have a history of an incompetent cervix where pregnancy loss occurs in the second and third trimester,” Dr. Richardson explains.
Furthermore, she advises that perhaps women with recurrent pregnancy loss, those whom have suffered from multiple miscarriages, might also opt to wait a bit longer to help prevent or alleviate the emotional toll.”
No matter how or when you choose to do so, announcing your pregnancy is a deeply personal and incredibly exciting moment in a couple’s life.