KPCC: Moving Away From Pregnancy's '12-Week Rule'
The KPCC show AirTalk recently spoke with clinical psychologist Enyav Accortt, PhD, director of the Reproductive Psychology Program at Cedars-Sinai, about longstanding advice that pregnant couples should hold off sharing news of their pregnancy for the first 12 weeks.
Accortt told host Larry Mantle that risk of miscarriage is significantly higher before the 12th week of pregnancy. As a result, newly pregnant patients are often advised, "Don't tell anyone [about your pregnancy] who you also wouldn't feel comfortable telling that you miscarried," Accortt said.
But more couples are now speaking out earlier and sharing their struggles with fertility and miscarriage.
"I think it's important that we realize that an individual may find the need for that community support," Accortt told Mantle. "We wouldn't want them to feel shame. We wouldn't want them to feel hesitant to share their experience."
However, well-meaning sympathy can sometimes hurt more than it helps. Listeners calling into the show described sharing their pregnancy challenges with others only to face insensitive comments such as, "Everything happens for a reason." Accortt offered suggestions for more compassionate sentiments to share with individuals facing loss: "I wish you didn't have to go through this. I'm always here for you. I'm so sorry for your loss."
Accortt also noted that support groups and therapists can help where family and friends might fall short. "We're just not so great with grief and loss as a society in general," Accortt told Mantle. "We don't talk about our loved ones who have passed as openly as I think I personally would like. I think there's a lot of shame or a lot of judgment."
Click here to listen to the complete interview from KPCC.