'1 in 5 pregnancies are outed early' - how to hide a bump until you're ready to tell

25th Apr 19 | Lifestyle

Floaty dresses, trusted confidantes, and a few well-placed porkies.

I have surprise for you concept

There’s any number of reasons you might want to keep your pregnancy to yourself, at least for a little while.

Sadly, 80% of all miscarriages occur in the first trimester, some women fear workplace discrimination, while others just want to take a moment to process the momentous news.

Concealing your conception is rarely simple though. New research from Direct Line Life Insurance says that as many as one of five pregnancies are in some way ‘outed’ publicly before parents-to-be are ready – either revealed by accident, or leaked by a third party.

Pregnancy is inherently personal, and it’s your timetable that matters. Here’s how to beg, borrow and steal your way to some well-earned pregnancy privacy.

1. Have a long, hard think about it

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It should come as no surprise that the person most likely to spill your baby-related beans – by far – is you. It may not even be by accident – in the flurry of feelings following a positive test you may want to shout it from the rooftops, or at very least your social media accounts.

But when you’re wading through the inevitable avalanche of questions and congratulations the next morning, you might wish you’d given yourself a little more time to come to terms with things.

Give your emotions some space: You can drop the big reveal anytime you want, but then there’s no putting the cat back in the bag.

2. Hands off the bump

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Understandably, expectant mothers (and indeed, expectant fathers) often cannot keep their hands off their baby-to-be, but the absent-minded tummy rub is a uniquely pregnant-looking phenomenon.

Think of your mannerisms pre-pregnancy: How many times a day did you tenderly caress your own stomach? We’re guessing the answer is in the region of ‘not very many’.

3. Find excuses for changes in your behaviour

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We don’t normally endorse the telling of porkies, but for something as personal as pregnancy they definitely count as white lies.

The classic trip hazard is alcohol – obviously you’ll be stopping the sauce the moment your test results come back, and forgoing a glass on a work do or pub trip is a quick way to raise eyebrows. Maybe you’re detoxing, or training for a marathon, or have volunteered three nights running to be designated driver. Be creative and prepare an excuse that works for you.

Alternatively, just slyly order up a mocktail and no one will be any the wiser.

4. Regularly visit ‘the dentist’

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While we’re on the lying train, you’re going to be attending a small army of doctor’s appointments, so your deception may need to stretch further –  especially at work.

The best lies are always close to the truth, and you can easily construct something medical. Dental work is an ideal disguise: It’s unarguably necessary, potentially recurring, and no-one’s going to go nosing round your mouth to see whether it’s true.

5. Think carefully about who you tell

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For those keeping mum to everyone this doesn’t really apply, but for many of us mums aren’t the problem – more work colleagues, wider family members and gossipy friends.

Apparently 23% of all ‘outings’ happen via a relative, so think carefully about who is or is not discreet enough to keep your secret. Just because someone is your second cousin twice removed doesn’t mean they won’t get drunk and tell everyone at their birthday party.

Be especially wary of telling someone if you don’t want them telling their partner. We all know how that one goes.

6. Dress to purpose

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It goes without saying that your pencil skirt collection will be consigned to the wardrobe for the next nine months, but even most maternity clothes are designed to showcase your bump.

Your new, sneakier style involves baggy tops, loose dresses, layered outfits, and colourful, distracting patterns and accessories. Major convenience points if you’ve conceived during winter – one well-chosen woolly jumper can shoulder the burden alone.

7. Get your partner involved

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Co-conspirators are the perfect beard for pregnancy, as no one will suspect a behaviour you’re seemingly adopting ‘as a couple’. If neither of you are drinking, you’re both giving up coffee, and you’ve evidently been buying clothes from the same vintage stores, then you’re simply #couplegoals.

© Press Association 2019