First Trimester Risks: Why Do Many Women Wait 3 Months to Announce Their Pregnancy?

Before sharing the news of pregnancy, it's important to consider the potential risks of the first trimester. Here's what you need to know.
First Trimester Risks: Why Do Many Women Wait 3 Months to Announce Their Pregnancy?

Written by Editorial Team

Last update: 04 July, 2024

Early pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be a time filled with uncertainty and worry. You may wonder why many women wait three months to announce their pregnancy. The answer lies in the risks associated with the first trimester.

During this period, the female body undergoes a series of hormonal changes that can have a significant impact on the health of both mother and fetus. Throughout this article, we’ll provide you with information about the risks of the first trimester of pregnancy and offer tips on how to prevent them.

A baby is on the way! Find out all about the first trimester

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, when the embryo implants in the wall of the uterus, the following tissue formation processes occur:

  • The amniotic sac surrounds the fetus to protect it from injury and regulate its temperature. It contains the amniotic fluid.
  • Placenta: This is a flat, pie-shaped organ. It’s attached to the wall of the uterus by villi – fetal blood vessels connect to it to exchange nutrients.
  • The umbilical cord connects the fetus to the placenta. It contains two arteries and a vein that carries oxygen and nutrients.

Although many external changes are not visible, the fetus is experiencing a period of rapid growth and development. During the first trimester, all its organs and systems are being formed, therefore, it’s paramount to take care of your health and avoid alcohol, drugs, and certain medications.

We think you may also enjoy reading this article: Why Do False Negative and False Positive Pregnancy Tests Occur?

Common symptoms of the first trimester

The first trimester has physical and emotional changes. As the mother’s body adapts to the growing life inside her, it’s normal to experience a number of obvious signs.

Although there are records of women experiencing a symptom-free pregnancy, most feel the following:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tender and swollen breasts
  • Fatigue, sleepiness, and lack of energy
  • Changes in mood
  • More frequent urination
  • Aversions to certain foods and smells

Why wait 3 months to announce pregnancy?

Even if everything goes well in the first few weeks, the growing fetus is still very vulnerable. Any complication could affect the baby’s normal development.

During the first trimester of pregnancy there’s one risk that is frequent: miscarriage. According to the International Journal of Maternal Fetal Health, 15 % of pregnancies reach this situation and 1 % of women will have repeated miscarriages. The data is corroborated by a study published in Multimed, which reports that 1 out of every 5 recognized pregnancies ends in miscarriage.

Several factors can contribute to a miscarriage:

  • Uterine
  • Genetic
  • Infectious
  • Endocrine
  • Environmental
  • Immune

As suggested by an investigation of the Peruvian Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics suggests, numerical or structural defects of chromosomes are involved in more than 50% of spontaneous abortions. Therefore, the chromosomal factor would be the main origin identified. These are genetic alterations that are not inherited, but occur as the cells of the fetus multiply.

However, there are occasions when a specific cause cannot be determined.

The risk of miscarriage is markedly reduced after 12 weeks of gestation. And that’s why many women wait until the third month to announce their pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy is another potential first-trimester risk, which can be life-threatening for the mother. It occurs when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes.

As it grows in the first few weeks, it can cause bleeding and severe abdominal pain. If not treated in time, it causes significant internal bleeding.

Although its prevalence is around 1% to 2% of all pregnancies, and that seems small, it should be considered. Immediate medical attention should be sought if any of its symptoms are experienced.

Like this article? You may also like to read: Online Pregnancy Test: What Is It and How Does It Work?

The risk factors associated with the first trimester

Among other risk factors to be aware of during the first trimester, we compiled the following:

  • Hyperemesis gravidarum: Most mothers experience morning sickness during the first trimester. However, in case of reporting other associated symptoms, such as uncontrolled vomiting, severe dehydration, and loss of more than 5% of body weight, a health professional should be notified, according to Revista Nutrición Hospitalaria.
  • Vaginal bleeding occurs in 20% to 40% of pregnant women during the first trimester, according to a publication by the Australian Family Physician. Its presence requires medical attention.
  • Severe abdominal pain: In case it becomes unbearable and intense or lasts for many hours, professional attention should be sought to identify the cause.

The risks for pregnant women during the first trimester also depend on any underlying health conditions they may have. For example, high blood pressure, kidney disease, anemia, and thyrotoxicosis.

Age also influences the possibility of complications. After the age of 35, the risk of not carrying the pregnancy to term increases.

Based on the above reasons, it’s common for women to wait 3 months to announce the pregnancy. At this point, the risks will have decreased significantly and they can be more confident that their pregnancy is on track.

Is it possible to prevent risks in the first 12 weeks?

Although it isn’t possible to completely eliminate the risks of the first trimester of pregnancy, there are some measures you can take to reduce them, such as the following:

  • Avoid intense physical activity: Although there is no conclusive evidence, according to scientific studies, it’s preferable to opt for gentler exercises.
  • Control stress: To achieve this, meditation, yoga, or mindfulness exercises are suggested. Adequate rest at night is also key.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Nutrition is important during pregnancy. Consult a nutritionist to create a plan tailored to your needs.
  • Take the prescribed folic acid: Your doctor will prescribe this supplement that prevents malformations in the baby’s nervous system.

Every woman is different and has the right to decide when to share the news of her pregnancy. However, knowing these risks is a step towards adopting healthy habits to reduce the incidence of miscarriage. The accompaniment of a trusted obstetrician is one more tool for you to be sure of when it’s the best time to communicate that you’re going to be a parent.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.