How and when to tell people you're pregnant

couple make pregnancy announcement

If you're showing symptoms of pregnancy, you've taken a pregnancy test and have already figured out your due date, then congratulations. One of the things you're going to have to do at some point within the next nine months is tell people that you've got a baby on the way. How you decide to do it is one of the first decisions you'll make as a parent.

When should I announce I am pregnant?

Some couples enjoy keeping early pregnancy a secret, while others are straight on the blower before the pee is dry on the stick, spreading the lovely news (and nailing down any potential babysitters). You might even be thinking in the long-term and already choosing your baby's name or where to have your baby. Or you might want to take your time – welcome, after all, to the first days of the rest of your life.

Do I need to wait until I'm 12 weeks to tell people I'm pregnant?

In an ideal world, I would have waited three months – but my husband told everyone from the milkman to the postman as soon as we found out.

There's no right or wrong time to make a pregnancy announcement, and every mother-to-be is going to want to do things differently. Once the news has settled in for you, it's totally understandable to want to share it, particularly with close friends and family. On the other hand, many women choose to schtum until the end of the first trimester when the risk of miscarriage reduces – on the grounds that they would wish to have space and privacy if a miscarriage were to occur.

However, this is not to say that you have to do this and miscarriage is not something you should feel compelled to keep under wraps. With this in mind, some people announce their pregnancy before the first 12 weeks are up so they can be sure that support would be available if things were to go wrong.

Have a think, and do whatever feels right for you – there is no right or wrong time to make the announcement, but people might start to think something is afoot if you leave it for eight-and-a-half months. We're just saying.

Pregnant woman ultrasound scan

How should I announce I am pregnant?

Once you've decided the time is right to break the news, there are a number of ways to do it – but be warned, some people may not react in the way you expect.

I cried like a baby and handed my parents a Granny and Grandad card with a copy of our scan in it.

The internet is full of fun and creative ways to announce you're pregnant if you want to share the news in a big way (and we can't say we blame you). Staged announcements aren't for everyone (what, you don't fancy instantly updating your Facebook profile to your scan picture?) but if they are your thing – this is your chance to get creative.

Further down the line, you could even go all out with the gender reveal (if you choose to find out). Your colleagues might not mind if you turn up at work one day with a cake filled with coloured sweets. Frankly, we don't see why you need the excuse to eat a massive cake, but it's there if you want it.

I met my parents for a cup of tea while I was at work and said 'I've got something to tell you, I've been meaning to tell you for a while but I didn't know how'. They thought I had a terrible illness! By the time I got to child number three it was a text.

If you're not one to make a song and dance of things a la Pinterest, then a simple phone call to your nearest and dearest will do. Or, in this day and age, an email or message on social media. Although, if you'd rather not spread the news too far and wide just yet – do let people know if you’d rather they didn’t share your scan picture with their Twitter followers.

Alternatively, you may wish to just keep your news to yourselves, which is also fine. But bear in mind that announcing your pregnancy is not just about telling your family and friends. You'll likely want to tell your boss as well so that you can avoid any awkwardness when the need arises to take time off to attend antenatal appointments. And they might be a bit more understanding if they know you're suffering from morning sickness and not a six-week-long hangover.

Will people be able to tell I'm pregnant before I tell them?

Keeping up the “Pregnant? Me?” façade requires a gargantuan effort, especially at work when you're trying not to photocopy the by-products of your own morning sickness. Those grim first few weeks of pregnancy are difficult to disguise, no matter how much concealer you use.

There's also that hard-to-resist subconscious urge to stroke your belly, which can be a dead giveaway. Less obvious to spot are all the things you're discovering that no one ever told you about being pregnant until the line on the pregnancy test appeared.

Woman morning sickness at work

The first few weeks of pregnancy can be surprisingly lonely when all you want to do is tell someone. You're desperate to explain why it is you keep running off to the loo and falling asleep at your keyboard or turning down nights out. Then again, pretending you aren't pregnant may actually help the time go faster if you are waiting for that 12-week mark. (Maybe).

Keeping it a secret during the sicky, tired stage actually helped me to cope with those symptoms. I still ate lots of Hula Hoops though, so anyone who was in the know would have clicked.

Whatever your decision – to tell or not to tell – chances are that your best-laid plans will be scuppered by some eagle-eyed loved one. If you've been cutting your alcohol intake, looking a bit green-around-the-gills or curiously buxom, and are generally acting a bit weird, then these are all signs which people who know you well will pounce upon immediately. In our experience, nothing gets past Nanna, so please try and be delicate when you hurl her Victoria sponge.

Who should I tell first?

If you do decide to tell a select few people and swear them to secrecy, then you'll need to be certain they won't blab (which almost certainly rules out Barbara from Accounts). On the other hand, if you feel self-conscious about making a big announcement to the masses, it might be easier for other people to share the juicy gossip on your behalf.

You'll likely want to tell your partner first and foremost if you have one, and any particularly close friends or family, especially if you live with them – if your sudden aversion to their cooking isn't enough of a dead giveaway.

We told our children at 15 weeks – and only then because I couldn't hide it anymore. I'd previously had a miscarriage at 10 weeks and couldn't bear the thought of having to explain it to them if it happened again.

If you have kids already, then deciding when to tell them can be the most tricky decision to make. This all depends on how old they are, of course.

Some children are very switched-on even from toddlerhood. They may even seem to “know” you are pregnant before you have to tell them, but then again, toddler logic isn't really the most accurate of judgements. Other children may not understand fully what it means when you tell them they are going to become a big brother or sister.

Parents of small children often worry that they will get impatient and unsettled, as six months is a long time to wait (and don't we just know it). If they are old enough to understand about Easter and Christmas, you might want to put it in the context of “after Santa/the Easter Bunny has been”.

Announcing you are pregnant to your toddler

If you have teens, then the jury is out as to whether the news will be met with an eye-roll or a hug. However old your children are, they may be a bit upset by the news – in which case you should be sure to reassure them that you will still love them as much as before and although your routines will change, you will always have enough time for them. You will likely know when is best to tell your children simply by virtue of being their parent – so go with your instincts. Whenever you feel is the right time most likely will be.