It’s the story we’ve all heard from friends, relatives, and the internet: “My toddler sensed I was pregnant before I told them”.
But is there any scientific evidence to back this up? Can toddlers tell when someone is pregnant, even before they know themselves?
In this article 📝
- Can babies sense when a woman is pregnant?
- When should you tell a toddler about a new pregnancy?
- Do toddlers get clingy when you’re pregnant?
Can babies sense when a woman is pregnant?
Can babies sense pregnancy? Sadly, the answer is no.
Even though it’s a beautiful idea that our little ones are so in tune with us that they can sense the hormonal changes that pregnancy triggers, there is no scientific evidence to show that toddlers can sense other babies in the womb.
However, while they might not have a mysterious sixth sense, our toddlers are a lot more aware of what’s going on around them than we sometimes give them credit for.
They might have picked up on changes in our stress levels, overheard conversations about pregnancy, or noticed some of the physical changes that come with pregnancy, like bloating or bigger boobs.
Let’s also not forget that scrolling through those amazing stories on the internet doesn’t show the millions of times a toddler hasn’t guessed correctly that a woman is pregnant, or talked about a baby brother or sister without being right.
These positive biases are often why anecdotal evidence doesn’t hold up in proper research conditions.
When should you tell a toddler about a new pregnancy?
Whether they’ve guessed it or not, telling your toddler that you’re pregnant is an important moment for both of you.
Many experts suggest waiting for the first trimester to be well underway before you sit down with your child to give them the news, if only because nine months is a long time to wait for anything when you’re small.
But the timing depends on factors unique to your family.
A few things to consider include:
- Your big kid’s age
- Whether this will be their first sibling
- Any other stresses or major changes happening in their lives
If you’re experiencing a lot of fatigue and pregnancy nausea, though, it might be worth explaining the situation to them sooner.
That way, they can understand why you’ve been feeling sick and know that they don’t need to be worried about you.
Do toddlers get clingy when you’re pregnant?
Once your toddler understands that a new baby is coming, it isn’t unusual to notice that their behavior changes.
Many parents report that their toddlers get more needy or clingy.
Some families find that their toddlers become temporarily more aggressive and frustrated.
Others find that their older kids are confused or even ambivalent about the idea of being promoted to big brother or sister.
All of these are totally normal. They can be related to jealousy, uncertainty about how their life will change, or a feeling of insecurity that you’re ‘replacing’ them.
Toddlers don’t generally have the words to express these feelings, let alone the strategies for managing them.
How to help your toddler
Whether your toddler is thrilled, apprehensive, or downright put out about the newest member of the family, some general tips include:
- Trying to be as patient and understanding with them as possible
- Being honest with them about what the baby will be like so that their expectations are realistic
- Encouraging them to get excited about having a sibling
- Making sure that you carve out time to talk to them and answer their questions
- Reassuring them that you still love them as much as ever
Remember that your job as a parent isn’t to make the feelings go away, but to help your little one learn how to deal with them.
And finally, you’re not the first mama to navigate this milestone. The Peanut community is always here to offer you suggestions, tips, or just let you blow off steam.
💡 More from The 411:
How to Get Pregnant: Advice From Fertility Specialists
TTC Meaning: The Language of Trying to Conceive
Fertility Diet: Tips, Tricks, and Busting Myths
Pregnancy Symptoms but Negative Test
Everything You Need to Know About a False Negative Pregnancy Test
Negative Pregnancy Test But Feeling Pregnant? What’s Going On?
Pregnancy Test Positive Picture: What To Look For