Expanding a family is a time of great excitement, but it can be difficult to know when the time is right to share the news with your child. Deciding when to tell your child that you are pregnant is a very personal decision that has to be made by you and your partner. If you have recently found out you’re pregnant and you can’t wait to tell your child, then this may be the right decision for you. If you have had a history of miscarriage or pregnancy complications, you may choose to wait. Here are some things you can consider when deciding when to tell your child that you are pregnant.
The Risk of Miscarriage in the First Trimester
The most vulnerable time for a developing fetus is during the first trimester. In fact, The American Pregnancy Association reports that the majority of miscarriages occur within the first 13 weeks. This is when the fetus develops all of its major organs and body systems, like the circulatory system and the nervous system. While these structures and systems are developing, they are susceptible to pathogens, such as infection; and toxic substances, like alcohol and tobacco. This is also a time when specific genetic abnormalities, if present, may prevent the fetus from continuing to develop.
The most common reason why miscarriages occur is due to chromosomal disorders, or problems with the genetic material inherited by the fetus from the parents. Prenatal screening tests, like the MaterniT® 21 PLUS screening, help women and their obstetrician understand if their child may have a chromosomal disorder that could place their pregnancy at risk. If you’ve had a previous miscarriage or a previous pregnancy diagnosed with a chromosomal abnormality, consider speaking with a genetic counselor to learn more about prenatal screening.
The Age of Your Child
All children react differently to the news that they will become a big brother or sister. And of course, their ability to fully comprehend what it means to have a baby growing in your belly will depend on their age. Keep in mind that younger children have a more limited understanding of time than older children. For example, telling a four-year-old that his brother or sister will arrive in nine months may seem like a lifetime.
You may also be apprehensive as to how your child will react to the news. Finding support and doing research will help you feel more prepared for whatever your child’s reaction may be.
Share the News at the Same Time
Consider telling your child you’re pregnant around the same time that you tell your other family members. Some children may be so excited by the news of getting a baby brother or sister that they are incapable of keeping the secret. On the other hand, if you tell your family members before sharing the news with your child, he/she may be confused if family members mention a new baby brother or sister.
When Will the Time Be Right for You?
There is no one correct moment or way to tell your child that you’re pregnant. This decision will vary for each family. It’s important to make the decision based on when you and your partner feel comfortable, and ready to share the exciting news.