Bun in the oven, baby on board – please re-tweet
Mums-to-be are using novel ways to announce their pregnancies online. Kim Bielenberg reports
The news may be be carved on a pumpkin on a YouTube video, or a picture of the pregnancy test could be posted on Twitter. Welcome to the world of the social- media pregnancy announcement.
The days when a meeting with prospective grandparents and a quick ring-around of relatives and friends would suffice to herald the upcoming arrival of a baby seem to be numbered.
Parents-to-be are becoming ever more creative when it comes to telling each other and the world – sometimes only days after conception. Last week it was reported that some minor celebrities even tell fans they are expecting in sponsored tweets.
Portlaoise psychotherapist Aoife McGrath and her husband Tom Murphy recently spelled out the happy news on the squares of a Scrabble board, and posted a picture of it to their friends on Facebook.
Aoife McGrath, whose baby is due in January, says: "Of course I told my family first, but we were thinking of an interesting way to get the message out. My husband thought of spelling it on Scrabble letters and that's what we did."
The social-media pregnancy announcement is no longer unusual, and happy mums and dads-to-be are even posting pictures of their scans online.
"People are getting very creative and you now have a platform to share your news with all your friends,'' says Aoife, who has a daughter, Zoe, from a previous relationship.
"One of my friends put up a picture of a bread roll cooking in the oven."
The bun-in-the-oven theme is a common one. Some women have even been known to dress as an oven for Halloween with a bun on their belly, and the timer on the stove showing their due date. Others pose with 'Baby on Board' signs, or get their other child to pose in an "I'm going to be a big brother/ sister" onesie.
Tom Fletcher, lead singer and songwriter in British band McFly, brought the happy news to the world in a music video.
The musician and his wife Giovanna appear in the video, sitting side by side, carving pumpkins and smiling as they talk to each other.
A song written by Fletcher plays throughout. He sings: "Baby, I want you to know I love you so. I wrote you a lullaby. Now it won't be long until I sing you this song, anytime you start to cry."
At the end of the video, the beaming pair turn their pumpkins to face the camera, revealing the message they carved: "We're having a baby."
A growing number of couples post the results of their pregnancy tests on Twitter or Facebook, complete with pictures. Some are even using the display on the test as their profile pictures.
Aoife McGrath says: "I don't really think it is a good idea to announce the pregnancy that early with a picture of the test result, because the latest testing kits show how far along you are with the pregnancy."
That did not stop the moderately famous American reality show contestant Kendra Wilkinson from revealing news of her pregnancy by posting a picture of the ClearBlue testing kit with 'Pregnant' marked on it.
The former Playboy centrefold showed that the tweet was sponsored by including the hashtag #spon in the message.
Ms Wilkinson is not the first minor celebrity in America to have her pregnancy announcement sponsored.
Only a week earlier, Melissa Rycroft, a former participant on the TV show The Bachelor, announced her pregnancy in the same way.
The social-media test announcement does have pitfalls. Positive home pregnancy tests are almost always accurate – so long as the test is taken correctly – but there are occasional false positives.
What happens when the test is wrong? Will they then have to post a cheery correction or clarification on Twitter on Facebook, with a picture?
A pop star may get away with telling the world their news on a YouTube video, but there is a growing number of amateurs doing it as well. Typically, this might include clips of the suspenseful pregnancy test result, a little song and dance routine, and a trip by the happy couple to Babies 'R' Us.
The website Babble.com has a list of definite pregnancy announcement no-nos for those using social media.
Posting a picture of scans of the foetus on a Facebook page is now seen as acceptable, but others go too far and create a profile for the unborn baby and then go looking for friends for it. Will they make friends with other unborn babies?
Not all of the news about the new baby is posted online, of course.
In the US, parents have taken to hosting "gender-reveal parties", where the parents let the pals in on the sex of the unborn infant by cutting into a piece of blue or pink cake.
Inevitably there is now pregnancy announcement clothing, including an "I have a pea in the pod" T-shirt with an arrow pointing down from the chest, and "I'm pregnant" monogrammed underwear.
Older generations of parents may tut-tut at the tendency of younger folk to post every detail of their lives online, but there is no going back now.
The social-media announcement is becoming the norm, but women who cannot resist posting details of the conception should probably wait 12 weeks, and it is probably a good idea to tell your partner first.