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Why Do They Hide Their Pregnancy?

Why Do They Hide Their Pregnancy?

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Question:

Is it true that many religious women will not tell anyone except for close family about their pregnancy until it's obvious? And that they won't tell anyone their due date, either!

Answer:

Hi,

There's no law at all to that effect, but it is a custom in many religious circles. This doesn't necessarily apply to grandparents and members of the immediate family, although some will wait until after the first trimester to tell even siblings. For the rest of the world, many hold off until they enter the fifth month.

Just a generation ago, one's personal pregnancy was not yet a subject for public discussion—in the general population, not just Orthodox Jewish circles. So essentially it's really just a matter of personal privacy and discretion—no different from other states-of-the-body-that-are-nobody-else's-business.

One component of this practice also seems to be concern over ayin hara – the Evil Eye. For the same reason, you will traditionally not see Jewish women having baby showers, decorating the nursery, or even buying anything for the baby before the birth. (We have a few articles about the Evil Eye here. Especially, read Do You Believe in the "Evil Eye?")

There's a practical component to this, as well: Most miscarriages (G‑d forbid) take place in the first trimester, and the baby's heartbeat is usually discernible at around the time the pregnancy becomes noticeable. So a woman doesn't "go public" about her pregnancy until the chances are good that she will indeed carry it to term and G‑d willing deliver a healthy child.

Regarding not revealing one's due date: That's just to avoid the really annoying calls - "just checking on you" - and comments - "you're still around?!" - that start coming right around the due date.

Chaya Sarah Silberberg serves as the rebbetzin of the Bais Chabad Torah Center in West Bloomfield, Michigan, since 1975. She also counsels, lectures, writes, and responds for Chabad.org’s Ask the Rabbi service.
All names of persons and locations or other identifying features referenced in these questions have been omitted or changed to preserve the anonymity of the questioners.
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Malkie PA February 14, 2013

due date one helpful hint my midwives always told me is to tell people your due date is 2 or 3 weeks after your pregnancy, that way they can't start "bothering" you until when you baby is actually due Reply

Anonymous Sydney, Australia June 14, 2010

baby's heartbeat It is incorrect that the heartbeat is not discernible until after the pregnancy is noticeable. At 7 weeks' the heartbeat is clearly visible on ultrasound (I had one myself). Reply

chaya sarah silberberg west bloomfield, mi November 17, 2009

no, hubby is first to know... Reply

danny November 16, 2009

father i may sound ignorant but does this secrecy also apply to the father? does the woman keep it a secret from her husband until he finds out? or is he the first to know? Reply

kellie November 2, 2009

Bah humbug I always lied about my due date and had early babies. After the first one, I learned my lesson. People forget the details, but everyone thinks that I had my babies early and just looked really big like I was "gunna pop!" (I hated that term.)

Get onto a bulletin board to talk to pregnant pals around the world at all hours where you are anonymous. Reply

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