Department of Family and Community Medicine and St. Michael’s Academic Family Health Team
Services: Pre-natal care - Pregnancy loss
Announcing your pregnancy
You’ve done the test... twice... your health care practitioner has confirmed it: you are pregnant! You are excited and happy and looking forward to creating a new life. So when to tell the world? Other than cultural, personality and relationship factors, here are a number of medical aspects to consider:
Firstly, you will not begin to show your pregnancy until sometime during your mid to late second trimester (that is about 20 weeks into your pregnancy). There may be some bloating of the abdomen or breast enlargement, however for most women these can be hidden under clothes. This means that you have time to decide when to make your pregnancy public knowledge.
Secondly, until the end of the first trimester, spontaneous pregnancy loss occurs in one quarter of all pregnancies (for every 100 pregnancies, 25 will be lost during this time). This is usually a result of an abnormal sperm – egg combination which would otherwise result in a very sick infant. A pregnancy loss can be stressful, understandably sad and, once the pregnancy has been made public, the loss will also have to be out in the open. This can be very tough for you to deal with. Therefore, until the end of the first trimester (12-14 weeks), it may be advisable to only break the good news to those you wouldn’t mind breaking the bad news to should a miscarriage occur.
Pregnancy loss is common and, although you may not know it, many of the women around you have gone through it. Miscarriage during the first 14 weeks happens in one quarter of all pregnancies. It usually happens after natural mistakes in the making of the fetus. This abnormal fetus would make a very sick baby. Thankfully, our bodies recognize this and end the pregnancy early on. There are a few preventable reasons for early pregnancy loss such as smoking, cocaine, or heavy alcohol use.
Should this unfortunate outcome happen to you, please keep in mind that it was likely a natural process, which saved a very sick baby from being born. Remind yourself that this is common and that many of the women around you have gone through it at least once. If you have told people about your pregnancy you may start hearing the miscarriage stories of many women. If you find this distressing, tell these women gently that you would rather not talk about this issue. Try to relax, get back to your normal routine, and look forward to the next pregnancy. If you find yourself having a very hard time getting back to ‘normal’, let us know. We are here to help and to keep you safe during this difficult time.