How to Keep Early Pregnancy Under Wraps

Don't want anyone to know you're carrying precious cargo? Here's how to keep that bump incognito during early pregnancy.
woman drinking tea

As thrilling as it is to see those double lines on a positive pregnancy test, many women choose to keep the happy news relatively quiet (especially at work!) until the second trimester when risk of miscarriage plummets. While some women may not "show" much, there are still first-trimester symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and exhaustion that can be hard to keep from people you spend a lot of time with. Your best defense? A ready excuse, says Juli Fraga, Psy.D., a psychologist in San Francisco who specializes in maternal mental health. "Nothing is worse than getting caught with a bad case of morning sickness when you're not ready to spill the news, but remember, you've always got an out. Pregnancy isn't the only thing that makes someone feel seasick," says Fraga. A believable response if a coworker walks into a shared bathroom while you're having a bout: "My partner had the stomach flu and I think I have it too," or just a simple, "Ugh, must be something I ate!" And if you don't think a simple excuse will silence your more suspicious coworkers, here are a few more tricks that should work like magic.

Get some new "jewelry"
Acupressure wristbands like the stretchy cotton SeaBands made for motion sickness can help ward off morning sickness for some women. But slide those on and you might as well wear a neon sign around your neck that says, "Hey guys, I'm pregnant!" One type that isn't quite as obvious are the retro-cool Psi Bands ($15, psibands.com for stores) that are made of blue, red, or black plastic in cute patterns that look a bit like the slap-bracelets of the '80s or wrist cuffs of the '90s. Pregnant or just channeling Lisa Turtle from Saved by the Bell? No one will ever know!

Stay active
Mom of four and M.D. Elizabeth Chabner Thompson says daily exercise will help you sleep better so that you're not so exhausted during the first trimester: "Try to exercise outside, right after you wake up, no matter the weather. Fresh air reduces morning sickness and improves circulation, too." She found the more she moved during the day in general, the better she tended to feel. "I always tried to stay on my feet and move around. The more I sat in one place, the more nauseated I seemed to get."

Keep crackers in your desk (and your purse, your pockets, and glove compartment)
Snacking on something bland and easy to digest, like a cracker, can stop a bout of morning sickness in its tracks--or at least soothe your nausea enough to help you get through a meeting at work, says Dr. Thompson. "When I was pregnant, I kept Saltines--the ones all hospitals carry in a two-pack--in my lab coat pocket. The bland crackers with salt were perfect," she says. Other good bets, according to doctors and moms we talked to: sour candies, mints, and spearmint gum.

Sip something soothing
The smell and taste of peppermint tea can be energizing and calming to a sour stomach. Same goes for ginger, so try some ginger tea, or make it yourself with this simple recipe from Heidi A. Fowler, M.D., a mom and psychiatrist in Newport, Rhode Island: Pour boiling water over freshly sliced organic ginger and steep for 5 minutes in a covered pot. That could not be easier.

Dress the part
Cardigans and blazers can work wonders at hiding a thickening waistline, as can long, flowy tops. Pick solid colors like black or navy and add a fun necklace up top to avoid drawing attention to your midsection, suggests Shilpi Agarwal, M.D., a family physician in body-conscious Los Angeles.

Copyright © 2014 Meredith Corporation.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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