Announcing Your Pregnancy
- This article has no external links.
For many of us, the first thing that we want to do when we receive exciting news is to grab the phone and tell the world. However, when you find out that you are pregnant you should take a deep breath and consider a number of factors before putting a banner over your front door to announce the news.
Telling the father you are pregnant
It may be the case that the father is present when you take the test (or he's waiting on the other side of the bathroom door). In which case, telling him the news isn't something you'll have to consider for long. If the pregnancy was planned, then you probably won't be able to keep the news from him for more than a minute - but think about how you want to tell him. With such exciting news it might be nice to share it face to face, so have a think before sending him a surprise text message at work.
Everybody's situation is different and, while there are lots of pregnancies that are planned and long-awaited, there are also plenty of surprise pregnancies. If this is the case for you, then give yourself some time to consider your situation. You do not have to make any decisions immediately.
Provided that you can contact the father of your child, it is important that they are made aware of the news regardless of whether or not you are in a relationship with them, or whether you decide to proceed with your pregnancy. Do remember that the final call is yours, however, and if you have personal reasons for why you shouldn't contact the father then you will not be judged for this.
If you decide to abort your pregnancy then you are able to do so lawfully in the UK up until you are 24 weeks pregnant. This is a very big decision to make and it is important that you discuss your options with your partner, close friend or family first. You might like to speak to your GP as well.
When is it OK to make the news public that you are pregnant?
Once you have broken the news to your partner it may be very tempting to make a big announcement to all your friends and family, but you should take your time to be sure that you want to do this. The most common reason that women choose not to break the news too early is because of the higher risk of miscarriage during the first trimester. It is thought that around 40% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, although most of these happen so early on that the woman is not even aware that she was pregnant. In these cases the woman can assume that she is having a normal period. Approximately 80% of all miscarriages happen in the first trimester, which is why many women keep their pregnancy a secret up until week 13. Dealing with miscarriage at any stage of pregnancy is very difficult, but if you add the need to break the sad news to everybody who knew that you were pregnant it can be an even more stressful ordeal.
You may find the experience of sharing such a personal and exciting secret between only you and your partner a special time, in which case, savour this period. It may be that you have never kept a secret from your mum or your best friend, and it is understandable if you want to tell them. Just make sure that you and your partner agree on who will know so that the news doesn't spread before you are ready.
Some women also experience an opposite reaction: they feel very strongly that no one else should know. Keeping it a secret for the first trimester shouldn't be difficult, but of course there comes a time when the physical effects of pregnancy are impossible to miss, i.e. your bump! So if you are feeling reluctant about breaking the news, use the forthcoming weeks to decide how you are going to do it.
When should I tell my employer?
UK employment law states that you must tell your employer that you are pregnant at least 15 weeks before the beginning of the week when your baby is due. Physically most women find that it is not possible to conceal their bump until this time, and keeping it a secret is not recommended for several reasons. Firstly, the sooner your employer is aware of your pregnancy, the sooner they can make plans to cover your maternity leave and to process the information needed in order for you to receive your maternity pay. Secondly, if you have told your employer that you are pregnant then you will be entitled to paid leave to attend antenatal appointments. In addition to this, some types of employment require a change in working practice for pregnant women in order to meet health and safety requirements. Most people choose to tell their employer about their pregnancy in the early stages of their second trimester, but your company may have a policy requiring you to tell them sooner so that they can abide by health and safety rules. If you are unsure of your employer's policy, contact your HR department to obtain a copy of your employee handbook.