Moms Ask: Can a Toddler Sense Pregnancy? [Is it True or Not]

can a toddler sense pregnancy

A positive pregnancy test may bring about doubt, worries, and anxiety. Take a few deep breaths. Whether this pregnancy is planned or not, there are important next steps you should consider taking.

Many expectant moms admit they are more anxious, moody, and tired than usual. Anxious feelings can be induced by a pregnant mom’s toddler-aged children, who may display behavioral changes. This may lead you to wonder, ”Can a toddler sense pregnancy?”

Toddlers Sense Pregnancy

Toddlers can sense pregnancy and can easily pick up changes in our stress levels. They are aware of more than we give them credit. They may not have a sixth sense, but they hear conversations and stories about pregnancy that lead them to develop their own conclusions.

You’ve probably heard stories of mothers who could have sworn their toddlers could sense their pregnancies.

While it would be neat if our little ones were in tune with us, there is no scientific basis that suggests that our toddlers can sense pregnancy.

Out of the blue, my son may start cuddling or rubbing my tummy. He might even say it aloud: “Mommy! There’s a baby in your tummy!”

They may frequently talk about a baby brother or sister, even when you aren’t pregnant, because they are acting out a familiar scenario. Some mothers even sense that their toddler is regressing or acting out and being super clingy.

It’s sweet to think that our child can sense pregnancy, but there have been occasions when toddlers suggest that someone is pregnant when they are not.

There is anecdotal evidence that toddlers can sense when someone is pregnant, but this could be a coincidence.

Toddlers pick up on the subtle changes in their mom’s verbal and non-verbal communication. When you are pregnant, your hormones do their thing before a pregnancy test can detect the baby. Your toddler may pick up on these hormones.

Make note of your toddler picking up minor changes in your mood, especially if you are a little more stressed out or unhappy, compared to your normal state.

They are probably too young to have a full understanding of what their mom is experiencing. If you had previous children who reacted the same way, your toddler may break the bun-in-the-oven news.

They probably won’t even know an unborn baby that is the cause of the differences they are perceiving.

Can Toddler Tell Your Pregnant?

This can lead us to wonder, “Can toddlers sense pregnancy? Can their sixth sense tell that you are pregnant?”

From my experience, toddlers are incredibly imaginative. They are fantastic at picking up on changes at home and detecting stress levels. They seem to have intuition or a sixth sense when mom is pregnant!

I know how crazy this may sound, but my daughter talked about becoming a big sister long before I knew I was pregnant. Toddlers pick up on more than what we know. They may have overheard adults talking about a baby before you’ve told them yourself.

An older child may find it difficult to understand that you are going to be a new mom. A toddler might not even know what it means to be carrying a baby in your belly.

It can surprise you if you aren’t aware that your toddler has overheard conversations about pregnancy. If you don’t know about the pregnancy yet, your toddler might pick up your changing hormones when you appear more stressed.

This is not an exact science, but toddlers have random thoughts and can sometimes point out when someone is pregnant. Toddlers are perceptive, and while it’s fun to think that a toddler can sense pregnancy, it could just be a lucky guess.

Research has found that many pregnant mothers admit to being more moody and tired, and toddlers can pick up their anxiety and display behavioral changes like increased tantrums or sleep disturbances.

When you’re pregnant, things change. You might be exhausted and have morning sickness, and your level of attention may shift. These changes in moods and behavior will be obvious to your toddler, who may not necessarily know that something new is happening.

Children are like adults in that they also experience second-hand stress and catch our distress if they’re in close contact with us.

If your kids go to school, they may encounter a friend who has a new sibling on the way. This introduces new vocabulary to your child who might one day blurt out that you are pregnant.

How Do Toddlers Act When You’re Pregnant?

How Do Toddlers Act When You're Pregnant

When you’re pregnant, it is not unusual if you notice your toddler may suddenly want to be carried or act clingy, but you should consider this a compliment.

Your child may be feeling a bit off due to the changes related to your pregnancy. Toddlers regress in their behavior because they seek normalcy. They just want to make sure they don’t lose the attention they are used to having.

When I was pregnant with my second child, one of the assistant teachers at my son’s nursery school mentioned it to me long before we told anyone. Some parents notice that their children show aggressive behavior even before the baby arrives. Others sense that their kids are confused.

Your toddler probably notices you’re always tired. The best way to handle your toddler’s regression is to keep up with his usual routine while taking care of yourself. Read a book or tell him a story about his childhood if you’re not up to playing games with him.

Do Toddlers Get Clingy When Mom is Pregnant?

Toddlers may become clingy when their mom is pregnant, but it is pretty standard, especially if they sense a new baby is on the way. My own daughter became clingy and upset when she sensed that I was expecting a new baby even before I told her.

A lot of attention will be put on the new baby, everyone having to get ready for their arrival and giving excessive attention to mom. While no one intentionally pushes the toddler a side, it could cause them to feel that they have been neglected.

While they used to reliably sleep during the night, now they may act up during bedtime, and wake screaming in the early hours. If this is your child’s first sibling, don’t worry; they will ultimately outgrow this clingy behavior. 

You can alleviate the negative behaviors by making time specifically for them, letting them feel the baby kick, picking up some toys and clothes for their new baby, and even reading books about new babies.

Once you open the lines of communication about the new baby, they will start wanting to talk about it, too.

How Do You Prepare a Toddler for A Sibling?

You might be worried about the right time to tell your toddler about your pregnancy. Nine months seems a long time for your toddler to wait, but the timing depends on the factors unique to your family.

You’ll likely wonder how to manage two little ones. Having a child is challenging enough, but two little ones bring a whole different level of chaos! While you undoubtedly have a long list of things to do, don’t overlook preparing your toddler for their new sibling’s arrival.

After all, toddlers aren’t usually known for their willingness and love of sharing. And soon enough, he’s going to have to share his favorite thing.

The earlier you start preparing the toddler, the better. When you’re far enough along in your pregnancy to know that the baby is viable and healthy, go ahead and start talking to your toddler about the idea of their future brother or sister.

If your toddler is younger, they may be pretty oblivious about what’s arriving, but you should not skip the preparation. Here’s what you can do:

  • Connect with moms who have recently had babies to help your child understand what’s coming. After the visit, you can explain that soon they will have a baby of their own, so they will start to imagine a child in the home and know what to expect.
  • You can show them videos and pictures of themselves when they were tiny to help them understand that once they were a baby and totally dependent on mom and dad, and soon they’re going to be promoted to a big brother or sister.
  • You may tell them that they’re growing big, so you are getting them a big kid bed. You may help them see that the preparation is not all about the arrival of a baby, but also about them becoming a big sibling.
  • Spend one-on-one time and assure them that they will not be replaced by the new baby. Make sure they know that you will always love them and that they will always be unique.
  • Try to introduce the concept of sharing because this will be part of the toddler’s life when the baby arrives. Be sure to compliment any demeanor that mirrors sharing. Make sure they see you praising other children who are sharing, too.

Final Take

Whether or not our toddlers can actually sense pregnancy, they see and feel things. Call it intuition, but toddlers can sometimes tell when someone is pregnant. It is not backed by science, but toddlers can sense other babies in their mom’s tummies.

Remember that it may be difficult for your son or daughter to express their feelings when you’re going to have another baby.

Your toddler’s ability to sense your pregnancy can depend on your own experience and beliefs as a mother and your relationship with your child.

Stephanie Edenburgh

I'm Steph, a mom to 3 beautiful children and lover all things having to do with my family and being a mom. I've learned a lot raising my own children and working in education and healthcare roles throughout my career. Living in beautiful Southern California I enjoy documenting and writing about all of the hard work us mom's do on a daily basis.

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