Expectant mothers have a lot to consider when finding out that they are pregnant. Anxiety and joy are common feelings, and knowing how and when to share the news with loved ones and employers can be difficult to determine. The amount of time a woman has been pregnant, the health of the new baby, and workplace cues can all play into a new mother’s decision to share her pregnancy with others.
The Desire to Maintain Privacy
During the early weeks of pregnancy, specifically in the first trimester, there is a higher risk of miscarriage than later in the pregnancy. Typically, this risk can be a factor in when a woman decides to share her pregnancy with her employer or loved ones. In addition to the risk of miscarriage, prenatal genetic testing can also provide results that may contribute to the decision making process to share pregnancy news early on.
Newer Screening Options
Historically there were only two primary prenatal testing options: amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS). These screening options are helpful for detecting chromosomal issues of concern and require tissue samples that are in close proximity to the developing fetus. During these procedures, a needle is used to obtain the needed amniotic fluid (amniocentesis) and/or placental samples (CVS). Due to their proximity to the fetus, both tests have been linked with a slightly increased risk of miscarriage.
Now, there are non-invasive screening options available to identify chromosomal abnormalities. With this newer approach, all that is needed to identify a risk for a chromosomal disorder is a sample of maternal blood. This can be drawn as early as the tenth week of pregnancy, and results are usually available for the provider to share with the patient about one week later.
Often times, non-invasive prenatal testing can provide results that will educate new parents about the their pregnancy and can, in effect, influence decisions about how to communicate pregnancy to employers and family members. Should a woman receive results that indicate a potential fetal chromosomal abnormality, further testing and counseling is typically offered.
Preparing for the Conversation
Knowing when the time is right to share pregnancy news differs from woman to woman. Beyond the knowledge obtained through prenatal testing, there are other factors to consider. In the workplace, understanding maternity leave policies, as well as available and accrued time off, when speaking with a supervisor can help to inform the discussion. A company’s human resources area should be able to help provide this information.
Pregnancy is a unique time in a woman’s life, and no two pregnancies are alike. There is no right time or way to share the news with colleagues, friends, and family. For many expectant mothers, waiting until the risks of miscarriage have subsided and understanding the results of prenatal testing can help determine when the time is right.