Your Big Reveal Checklist
Sharing your happy news should be a magic moment but working out when and how to announce your pregnancy can feel daunting. Golden rule? Do what’s right for you. Here’s our checklist to help you work out what that is.
DECIDE WHEN: before or after your 12-week scan?
Many couples decide to wait until after your first scan (at 12 weeks) before announcing their pregnancy. The main reason is that the risk of miscarriage falls dramatically after this time. Another reason people choose to wait until the 12-week scan is that they want to be sure that their baby is healthy. If they need to make any tough choices, this might be a private matter.
On the flipside, some women happily announce their pregnancy pre-scan, reasoning that if they sadly suffered a miscarriage or complications, they would naturally seek support in family and friends anyway.
And of course, bear in mind that sometimes life gets in the way of best-laid plans. A nasty bout of morning sickness during office hours, a hen party you can’t avoid, a cheese board, an astute best friend…keeping your magical news to yourself can be quite a challenge!
DECIDE WHO: Make a list in order of priority
There are several groups of people you’re sure to want to tell early on, but every family is different, so who you want to tell first depends on personal relationships.
- Your parents and those of your partner
- Your siblings, grandparents, extended family
- Your children
- Close friends
- Your GP, so you can start planning your maternity care
- Your dentist, so you can access free dental healthcare
- Colleagues at work
- Your employer (when the time is right)
DECIDE HOW: to tell the parents
Parents are usually (but not always) the first port of call. Face-to-face, over dinner, on the phone, via text or FaceTime, both sets of parents together – you know them best. Whatever you decide, parents-in-the know can be a huge support during your pregnancy. One tip: if you’re wanting to keep things quiet for now, insist they don’t let the news slip to others.
DECIDE HOW: to tell close friends
Next on your list after family is your group of friends. You may share the news with a close friend quite early on but once the news is out, it’s a good idea to start to share the news more widely. Many of us use social media for a wider announcement, or you may send out cards, but make sure by this time you’ve told important family members and your employer.
DECIDE WHEN: to tell your children
The age of your children will probably dictate when to explain a new sibling is on the way. Nine months is a long time in a small child’s world, so it’s wise to leave it as long as possible.
Young children will naturally find it hard to understand but there are some wonderful books that can help you articulate what is happening in your tummy and how this might feel to them.
Tactics like buying your toddler a baby doll for them to care for and practise on, getting them to choose a toy for the new baby, and making sure each parent has special one-to-one time before and after a new baby comes along can help ensure they don’t feel left out.
DECIDE WHEN: to tell your boss
In the UK, we are protected by maternity laws that give us the right to time off for antenatal appointments, maternity and paternity leave and protection from unfair dismissal or discrimination caused by your pregnancy.
You also have rights to keep you safe while you work. You need to tell your employer about the pregnancy at least 15 weeks before your baby is due and also tell them when you want to start your maternity leave and maternity pay.
DECIDE HOW: to announce your pregnancy
Once you have told close friends and relatives, you may decide that sharing your news on social media is the best way to ensure everyone knows you are starting a family.
Some share a picture of tiny baby shoes, while others reveal their ultrasound scan photo. Just be aware that sharing something on social media does make the news public, so if you haven’t yet told your employer, it might pay to wait a little while. It also may leave you open to unwanted advice!
THINK ABOUT: how to tell someone who may be sensitive to pregnancy
It’s never easy to tell a friend who may be struggling with infertility that you are pregnant. Here are some sensitive ways to share your news:
- Tell them early.
Share your news with them as soon as possible, so that they don’t hear about it from others. Consider how you might do this. A text may be more sensitive than a face-to-face – they would have time to digest your news in their own way.
- Tell them alone.
Don’t tell a group of friends if they are there and haven't heard.
- Don’t say ‘it will be you next’.
It might not be. It’s tough to tell your friend but you can’t fix anything.
- Don’t offer details.
Saying things like “We got pregnant first try” is not helpful.
- Don’t share pregnancy niggles with them.
They might not want to know about all the symptoms of a pregnancy that they’re not experiencing.
- Don’t exclude them.
Don’t imagine that keeping them away from events like baby showers will help them—but do understand if they don't want to come.
- Do check in with them regularly.
Make sure they know they’re important to you and that you still want to catch up with what’s going on with them.
- Be helpful.
The Fertility Network has some good resources for women on coping with pregnancy announcements.
FIND SUPPORT: if you are pregnant after baby loss
As much as you want to celebrate, pregnancy after loss can feel like a very different journey and sharing your news may be done with trepidation. There are now many places and people to seek out for support and advice. Visit Tommy’s for helpful insights, the Miscarriage Association for useful resources and follow bloggers such as Elle Wright @featheringtheemptynest and Dr Michelle Tolfrey @from_the_other_chair for shared experiences.
The best is yet to come
Once your news is out, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by words of wisdom from well-meaning friends and family. For reassuring support, explore our straightforward advice on what to expect at your next scan and beyond.