For many women, deciding on the right time to tell family and friends that they are pregnant is difficult. There is no right answer, but there are several things you may wish to consider when making this decision. Ask yourself the questions below and for each one, see if you can work out what’s right for you.
Who should I tell first?
In many ways it is harder to tell close family and friends that you are pregnant than people you do not know as well. Therefore, it may be worth planning who you will tell first about your pregnancy and how you will do it.
Close friends and family members may prefer to be told personally. Some family members, such as parents, may also expect that they will be some of the first people to be told. You yourself may decide you want to tell your family and close friends first so they are aware of your pregnancy and available to provide support as early as possible.
How do I tell them?
It is worth remembering that if you announce your pregnancy on social media you may have little control over who views your announcement and when. Be aware that such public announcements may draw significant attention, personal stories and advice, which may or may not be invited and/or wanted.
Even announcements made in confidence may become widely known since people love to share news like this when it’s posted online.
My pregnancy wasn’t expected — how do I tell people?
If you have a partner, the decision about who to tell, as well as when and how, is best made with them.
If your pregnancy is unplanned, you and your partner may need to deal with your own feelings before letting others know. If you are not with a partner, you may wish to avoid unwanted comments early in your pregnancy.
When should I tell my employer?
Unless your doctor has told you it is unsafe, it is possible to work while you are pregnant. There is no law saying you need to inform your employer at any specific time that you are pregnant. However, both Australian law and your employment contract, agreement or award — if you have one — will include certain rights and responsibilities.
You need to give your employer 10 weeks’ notice if you are planning to take parental leave. You must give them written notice of your leave and return dates, and confirm these at least 4 weeks before your leave starts.
It is definitely a good idea to tell your employer you are pregnant before they hear it from somebody else because both you and they may have to make some adjustments to your working arrangements. For example, you may have to avoid certain tasks that are a health and safety risk depending on what your work involves.
In Australia, you are protected by law against discrimination during pregnancy. That means you cannot be treated unfairly because you are pregnant — for example, by being sacked, given fewer hours or overlooked for a promotion.
When should I tell my colleagues?
This could affect both your personal and working relationships with your colleagues if they don’t know why it’s happening. It is therefore a good idea to tell your co-workers you are pregnant once you have told your boss.
A workplace can offer significant personal support and this will develop most effectively once your colleagues know you are pregnant. It may be especially valuable should you experience pregnancy complications.
When is it ‘safe’ to let people know I’m pregnant?
Many women choose to delay announcing a pregnancy at least until the end of the first trimester (12 weeks into their pregnancy). This is commonly attributed to the risk of miscarriage during this time, but the 12-week mark is not a hard and fast rule you need to follow.
What if I tell people I’m pregnant and then have a miscarriage?
The risk of a miscarriage is already low by 6 weeks into your pregnancy, and very low after 10 weeks.
When deciding when to tell people you are pregnant, you might want to consider how you would prefer to handle a miscarriage were it to happen. Many people would consider a miscarriage so devastating that they would be too distressed to discuss it with others.
On the other hand, by telling people you are pregnant, support may be available in the event of a miscarriage, bearing in mind it may be difficult to hide the associated emotion if it does happen.
How do I tell someone who’s infertile or lost a baby?
When you tell people you are pregnant, your friends and family will almost certainly be very happy for you. But if they have lost a baby, cannot conceive or they are having trouble getting pregnant, it’s important to remember they may be sad for themselves. They may also not be able to show their happiness as enthusiastically as your other friends.
It will help to tell these friends in private and before you tell others, letting them know you realise your news may not be easy for them.
Pregnancy, Birth and Baby is here to support you. Call 1800 882 436 for information and advice on any aspect of your pregnancy from our maternal child health nurses.
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Last reviewed: October 2019