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When everyone’s drinking but you’re expecting: tips for keeping your pregnancy a secret in boozy social situations

Finding out you’re pregnant is such an exciting time, but as soon as I learned that I was expecting, I also instantly felt pressure to keep my news a secret during much of the first trimester. 
At one of my first appointments, when I was just 4-weeks pregnant, I asked my doctor who it would be okay to share my news with. She told me the decision was completely up to me but recommended I only tell people that I would also be comfortable sharing with if I happened to lose the pregnancy.

So, for me, I decided to tell only my immediate family and best friends early on, because I knew if anything bad were to happen, I would want to turn to these loved ones for support. And I wanted to wait until I was 12 weeks along to continue sharing my exciting news with others. 

But in the meantime, my baby was healthy and growing, my life was carrying on, and I had plenty of social events to attend.

Throughout my first trimester, I felt the most pressure to hide my pregnancy when I was out with my friends and plenty of people were drinking. I’m 30-years-old and alcohol is often present when my friends and I gather for various functions, so it’s become the norm to assume something’s up — and that someone’s probably expecting — when one of us isn’t drinking. Even I’ve been guilty of speculating when my friends don’t drink, and my friends were certainly very suspicious when it was finally my turn.  

If you’re in the same boat as I was in and trying to figure out how to keep your baby news hush-hush in social situations while you’re waiting to share the news more widely, then fear not — I’ve got you covered!

First off, don’t feel guilty for “lying” to your friends about not sharing your news during the first few months. Once you’ve reached the point when you feel comfortable sharing, your loved ones will completely understand why you didn’t tell them.

Second, have fun with it! This is a special time for you and your partner, and sometimes it’s nice simply sharing the moment with just the two of you. My best advice to any parent-to-be is to not stress over hiding your news, but to instead have fun playing a little game of “Undercover Baby.”  

Non-alcoholic wine: Did you know many liquor stores sell this? I had no clue! My drink of choice is always red wine, so I knew in order to trick my friends into believing I wasn’t pregnant, I’d have to drink something that looked like wine. I found that big-box wine and liquor stores sold a plethora of non-alcoholic wines. The best way to fool your friends with fake wine is by taking a real bottle of wine, dumping it, then pouring the fake stuff into it. I’ll be honest, it’s not very tasty, but this was a great tactic for helping me hide my secret.

Non-alcoholic beer: Non-alcoholic beer is an excellent tool for secrecy. And there are some delicious beer dupes that taste almost like the real thing! If you’re super sneaky like me, I suggest packing a few in your purse before heading to an event where you’d normally be drinking. Once you arrive, pour a real beer into a cup or order a real beer at the bar, take a fake sip, then head to the bathroom and dump the real beer in the toilet and pour your O’Doul’s into the cup. It’s as simple as that, and no one will ever know! Just don’t forget your bottle opener.

Bathroom pours: Speaking of trips to the bathroom, this is another great resource for fake drinking. If you don’t feel like using non-alcoholic beverages to fool your friends, then order a regular cocktail and don’t actually drink it. Instead, bring it with you to the restroom and pour a little out when you go.

Utilize your partner: Since you’re eating for two, let your partner drink for two. Go about your normal way of ordering a beverage and stealthily hand the drink to your significant other and let them enjoy. Then, the next day, you both will likely be dealing with “morning sickness.” Or, have your husband go to the opposite end of the bar, order you something such as club soda and cranberry, then bring you your mocktail. Make sure you ask for a regular cocktail glass because sometimes they’ll give you a larger glass for sodas, which could give you away to particularly eagle-eyed friends.

Getting creative: My friend, Kate, may have had the best idea by saying she was drinking Moscow mules. Instead, her drink actually consisted of just ginger beer, limes, and mint, but you’d never know because the mule cups are copper. It was brilliant!

Arriving early: If you’re going to a group setting, such as a birthday dinner, arrive to the restaurant early. Explain your situation to the hostess and make sure the waiter or waitress knows to pour you mocktail versions of whatever you’re ordering. For example, you order a mimosa, they’ll already know to bring you just orange juice and club soda. Again, it won’t taste great, but your victory sure will. 

Say you’re sick: If you’re prescribed to certain meds like antibiotics, drinking is highly discouraged. This isn’t the most creative tactic, but you can always tell your friends that you can’t drink because of a prescription. Doctor’s orders!

Having a confidante: If you have a close friend you’ve entrusted with your news, it can help to have someone else besides your partner to help you mask your pregnancy. My go-to confidante was my best friend, Rachel, who denied pregnancy rumors whenever she was asked and helped me pull off rocking mocktails at a bridal shower.

It’s definitely tough if you decide to keep your special news a secret for the first 12 weeks or so, but the first trimester will fly by and you’ll be in your second before you know it! 

And remember that there’s no right or wrong when determining whether or not you should share your news right away or keep it hidden for a little while, so just trust your instincts and stick with whatever works best for you.

About the author

Katie Burk is an Atlanta-based blogger and journalist. She’s expecting her first child in April – a little girl. You can follow along with her pregnancy journey through her blog, You can also keep up with Katie on Instagram: @KatieMuseBurk.  

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