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How to Keep Your Pregnancy a Secret in the First Trimester

Not quite ready to let the cat out of the bag? No worries—you can share when you’re good and ready. In the meantime, here’s how to thwart any lingering suspicio...
ByDina Cheney|Updated September 25, 2023
Fact Checked by G. O’Hara
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Image: Milles Studio

You’ve just learned you’re pregnant. Congratulations! Along with choosing a paint color for the nursery, you’re also grappling with the decision of whether or not to openly share your big news. It’s entirely up to you, but if you’re not quite ready to spill the tea, we’re here to help you keep your secret with some savvy advice, tips and tricks from an array of experts. Read on for the intel.

Should You Make Your Pregnancy Public Early On?

The answer to this question is entirely personal—there’s no right or wrong answer, says Cassie Shortsleeve, co-founder of the maternal wellness newsletter Two Truths and founder of the digital support platform Dear Sunday Motherhood. There are benefits to sharing now or sharing later—and potential drawbacks for both too.

Why you might want to go public early

You might want to confide in others right away to get support and avoid feeling alone, says Shortsleeve. Consider disclosing your news to those you’d turn to in the event of any pregnancy issues, suggests [Christine Masterson(https://www.summithealth.com/doctors/provider/1871536813),,) MD, an ob-gyn with Summit Health in New Providence, New Jersey.

There’s an upside to telling your employer sooner than later too: It’s only after you announce your pregnancy that you can benefit from time-off rights, anti-discrimination protections and accommodations like telework or flexibility, notes Daphne Delvaux, Esq., owner of the Mamattorney and chief legal officer, Chamber of Mothers. “Also, by waiting to announce, you’re shortening the window to plan for your absence,” she says. That said, you have to do what’s right for your unique situation.

Why you might want to wait to go public

On the other hand, keeping mum also makes sense, notes Masterson. “Sometimes, taking time to monitor an early pregnancy is better than announcing,” she says, adding that about one in five pregnancies can result in miscarriage. Plus, couples might want to wait to receive critical genetic and chromosomal test results before they go public.

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“Sometimes, family excitement can feel like additional pressure, and you don’t want to build up hope until your pregnancy feels a bit more stable, you have your legs back under you and your test results come back normal,” adds Casey Selzer, CNM, director of midwifery at Oula, a modern maternity care clinic in New York City.

Additionally, legally speaking, while pregnancy shouldn’t preclude you from work opportunities, you might worry that disclosing your news could derail an expected promotion or reduce your chances of getting that big, exciting project.

Tips to Hide the Fact That You’re Trying to Get Pregnant

Trying to conceive can be an emotional roller coaster, says Selzer. Even if you don’t share your plans with friends and family, consider confiding in a mental health provider or therapist, she encourages. They can help you process your feelings and give you a release-valve on the stress and vulnerability that the uncertainty of this phase can bring.

Tips to Hide Your Pregnancy in the First Trimester

It can feel weird hiding your pregnancy from close friends or family members, but you don’t owe anyone an explanation. That said, if you want to avoid any awkwardness, there are some strategies you can take to reduce suspicion. Here, experts share some tips.

1. Wear slightly oversized clothing

Go up a size or two, suggests Ali Levine, stylist and mom of three. On the other hand, avoid clothes so large they’re falling off of you. Balance an oversized top, like a billowy shirt or tunic, with fitted jeans, leggings or tights, she suggests. As a bonus, looser clothing can be more comfortable—a huge plus for the many women who experience bloating during the first trimester, says Masterson.

2. Disguise the midsection

Thanks to its straight shape, a shift dress won’t accentuate your middle, counsels Levine. Similarly, with its gathered overlay of fabric strips, a ruched top will help with camouflage. As your bump grows, rely on layers and add a cardigan or scarf to your look.

3. Distract the eye

Take the attention away from your budding bump by wearing V- or scoop-neck shirts, suggests Levine. “It doesn’t hurt to show a little skin when it comes to your neckline if you’re trying to hide a bump.” Then, try fabrics in bold patterns (think: stripes and geometrics) and statement accessories, like a necklace or belt.

4. Snack often to avoid bouts of nausea

Seventy-five percent of pregnant people experience some kind of nausea or vomiting, says Selzer, with morning sickness peaking at the nine-week mark during most pregnancies. Try stocking your desk with fresh fruit and dry crackers, she suggests. “Snacking every couple of hours will help curb nausea and keep you going with enough energy to get through your day.”

5. Soothe your stomach

To cut down on runs to the bathroom when waves of nausea hit, opt for ginger chews or hard sucking candies, suggests Selzer. Also sip on peppermint tea, and use an aromatherapy roller under your nostrils to contend with any smell aversions.

6. Rest up when you can

“Fatigue is often present, so try to allow yourself to go to bed earlier and to nap if needed,” advises Masterson. To save energy and help prevent oversharing, investigate whether you can work from home or switch to a hybrid schedule, suggests Selzer. If possible, join meetings online rather than in person.

7. Sip mocktails (or make an excuse)

When meeting a friend for a drink or meal, order a mocktail, club soda or seltzer before they arrive, counsels Selzer. Then, sip it slowly. If they’re around when you order and ask why your drink is nonalcoholic, say you’re trying to cut back on alcohol for health reasons—a growing trend these days. That should hopefully stop this line of questioning in its tracks. Jumping in and offering to be the designated driver for the night may help too (who doesn’t love a free ride?).

Similarly, you can tell your coffee-klatch friends that you’re cutting back on caffeine at your next meetup. And if you’re invited out for a girls’ sushi night and avoiding raw fish, suggest a new restaurant that none of you have tried yet instead. Having a planned script ready to go can help avoid any awkwardness and keep you sounding authentic. (A little white lie is totally acceptable right now!)

8. Don’t commit to travel plans

“Try not to schedule any major travel or life events,” suggests Selzer. “You may not feel up to it and won’t want to cancel at the last minute.”

9. Connect by phone

To stay in touch with your network, rely on phone calls, suggests Selzer. That way, your friends and family won’t feel like you’ve gone missing—and you can stay home and rest if you’re feeling tired or sick.

“Early pregnancy can be one of the most challenging times of the entire journey,” notes Selzer. “Whether or not you choose to hold that experience close or to share broadly is entirely up to you.” What’s most important is to baby yourself by minimizing stress and prioritizing self-care before it’s time to baby your new baby.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

Sources

Daphne Delvaux, Esq., is owner of the Mamattorney and chief legal officer at Chamber of Mothers.

Ali Levine, stylist and mom of three.

Christine Masterson, MD, is an ob-gyn with Summit Health in New Providence, New Jersey.

Casey Selzer, CNM, is the director of midwifery at Oula, a modern maternity care clinic in New York City.

Cassie Shortsleeve is the co-founder of the maternal wellness newsletter Two Truths and founder of the digital support platform Dear Sunday Motherhood.

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