There’s a baby bump. Um, or not. She kind of looks pregnant. Or maybe she just ate a big dinner, is PMSing or is bloated in some other way. So, you go ahead and ask. Whoa! Wait. Not a good idea.
Mistaking a food baby for a pregnancy bump isn’t exactly okay. Not at all. Seriously. Any woman who gets the, “So, when are you due?” question when she’s just put on a few pounds isn’t going to feel like jumping for joy. It’s more likely she’ll feel like getting as far away from you as possible – and that’s the best case scenario.
So there’s the obvious fat factor here. Hey, we’re not saying pregnant women are fat or that women who’ve put on a few pounds are anything more than fuller figured. It’s more of the implication that a non-pregnant woman’s body looks like it’s filled with a growing a child that bothers some (or rather, most) women. Of course, this isn’t the only reason to not ask if she’s preggo.
When it comes down to, if there’s any question in your mind, it’s best to keep quiet. Yep. If your co-worker, friend, cousin, the check-out lady at the grocery store, the waitress at your favorite restaurant, the barista at the coffee shop or any other non-mama looks like she’s showing, don’t assume anything. And don’t take it a step farther, putting your assumptions into words.
We get it. When you ask, “Oh! Are you expecting?” you don’t mean, “Hey fat lady, you’re looking big” or, “Well, I’m a really nosey person and I’m totally all over your business.” That would just be plain ol’ mean and totally, completely and entirely uncalled for. What you really mean is something more like, “Aw! I’m so happy for you.” But that well-meaning message doesn’t always make it through.
Before you get stuck in a more than awkward situation, check out the reasons why it is NEVER okay to ask if she’s pregnant.
15 Infertility Issues
Nearly 7.5 million women ages 15 through 44 have some sort of issue getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s just over 12% of women in the U.S. With stats that high, chances are that you know someone who has experienced or is experiencing infertility issues.
Watching all your friends and relatives show off their baby bellies isn’t exactly a good time when you’re struggling to conceive. Couples who are fertility challenged may feel sad, angry or even confused as to why this is happening to them. The woman may have babies on her brain all the time and constantly compare herself to women she sees or knows that are easily able to get pregnant.
Asking a woman who has fertility issues if she’s pregnant is more than a social faux pas. Okay, so it’s not likely that you know she’s having fertility problems. Otherwise you wouldn’t have asked. Maybe you know she’s trying to conceive and are just feeling hopeful that the big day has come. But, the thing is – you don’t know if she’s pregnant or if she’s just had another heart-breaking negative. Instead of making a challenging situation worse, just don’t ask. You can ask how she’s doing, if she’s okay or if there’s anything she needs. And that’s it.
14 Sudden Weight Gain
No one likes putting on a few extra pounds. The woman in question used fit comfortably into her size 6’s, but now she’s clearly a size 12. Okay, so maybe this weight gain didn’t happen overnight. But it did happen. And you’re wondering why.
The important thing to remember here is – her weight is her weight. Whether she looks like a VS runway model or she looks like she could barely squeeze into a mumu, no one should judge a woman’s body. Unless the woman has had a seriously unhealthy weight gain and is refusing to take responsibility for her own well-being, you don’t need to speculate on her new pounds.
If you’re not entirely sure whether you’re seeing a belly bump or just a belly, it’s time to keep quiet. Yeah, that kind of round mid-section may mean she’s expecting. Or it may just mean she’s gained a few extra pounds.
13 Depression Symptoms
Depression and weight gain may go hand-in-hand. A 2012 study (among others) published in the journal Psychological Medicine found a connection between women, depression and weight gain throughout adulthood. Even though not every woman who experiences depression will gain weight, it certainly can happen. Weight changes are just one of many symptoms associated with depression. Keep in mind, we’re not talking about once in a while sadness here. Everyone experiences transient bad or sad moods. We’re talking about diagnosable depression.
Speculating that a woman is expecting, when she’s gaining depression-related weight, may add fuel to the fire. She’s already feeling down, and most likely she’s feeling down on herself too. Even though you may mean well, asking if she’s pregnant is likely to make her feel worse. Of course.
If your friend, co-worker or relative seems more than “just sad” and is gaining weight, ask if she’s okay or what you can do to help – instead of going right for the, “Are you pregnant?” line of questioning. It’s absolutely essential that she gets the professional help she needs right now.
12 Poor Self-Image
Weight gain won’t make many women smile. Obviously. When a woman adds on some extra pounds she may go from confident to self-conscious. It’s not easy to accept a changing body. But it happens – even to the skinniest of us. Whether it’s depression-related, age, poor eating habits, lack of exercise or some other reason, weight gain can take a “happy with herself” women and make her doubt what she sees when she looks in the mirror.
Hey, we’re not saying that image is everything. It isn’t. Nope. No way. But asking a woman who has gained weight (or was heavy to begin with) if she’s pregnant may take her self-image down a notch. Okay, she knows she’s not exactly runway-ready. And maybe she doesn’t really care. Then you add, “Oh, are you expecting? When’s the baby due?” and suddenly it hits her. Her thoughts may turn from, “I look okay” to, “Am I so big that he thinks I’m pregnant?” These thoughts may stick around long after your comment has come and gone. Not only may the woman continue to hear your, “Are you pregnant?” over and over again on an endless loop in her mind, but she may continue to see herself as less than the beautiful person she is because of it.
11 After A Miscarriage
Between 10 and 15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to the March of Dimes. There are an array of reasons for miscarriage happening, ranging from chromosomal abnormalities to infections and hormonal issues. The exact cause of the miscarriage is unknown in most cases.
Along with the physical issues, a miscarriage can cause some serious psychological problems. Even though miscarriage typically happens early in in the pregnancy (miscarriage happens before 20 weeks of pregnancy), that doesn’t mean mom isn’t attached to that growing baby. She’s hoped, she’s dreamed and she’s imagined what it will be like to hold her newborn.
When the little pink plus sign crosses the pregnancy test, she goes from woman to mama. But then you take that away, and the hopeful mommy is likely to feel a deep sense of loss. She may not have known her baby, but that doesn’t mean she won’t grieve for it.
Asking a woman if she’s pregnant, and then finding out she’s recently had a miscarriage, is more than a foot in the mouth type of situation. You don’t know what’s gone down before you gear up for the, “Are you preggo yet?” line of questioning. In some cases, it’s better to just wait and let her tell you.
10 Post-Baby Weight Loss
“When’s the baby due?” totally sucks when the woman in question just had the baby. Seriously. Baby weight is no joke. While it would be nice if every woman snapped back into shape in a celeb timeframe, it just doesn’t happen.
Think about it – women have nine months to grow a baby inside of them. That’s nine long, slow months’ worth of changes. And then they’re expected to go back to their pre-pregnancy bodies right away? In days? In weeks? No way. That just doesn’t happen. At least not without professional trainers and a staff of dieticians.
So you look at the lady and think, “Hmm. She’s got that tell-tale baby belly. Better ask when she’s due.” You go ahead and open your mouth. The moment the words move through your lips you see her S.O. standing nearby. Oh, and he’s holding a newborn baby. F***! Yep. You just made that new mama feel super-bad.
If you’re not sure whether her due date has come and gone or not, hold off on the questions.
9 Awkward Silence
You’re 99% sure she’s pregnant. So why not go ahead and ask? Hey, she won’t care – even if she’s not. Right? Wrong. Unless she is actually pregnant (and is ready to tell people about the baby) she absolutely, positively will care.
What happens when you utter those totally non-magical words? Um, a very awkward moment. Silence. You can hear the cars on the street, the neighbors cell getting texts and maybe even the words that are screaming through the very not pregnant woman’s head. And what is she saying? Most likely something along the lines of, “You are an idiot.” That’s probably putting it nicely. Very nicely.
Even though her inner monologue is going strong, she’s likely to keep mum after your not so thoughtful question. That amazingly awkward silence is just going to get worse until you clam up, apologize and realize that this conversation should have never happened.
8 Not Ready To Tell
She’s pregnant. Yay! Oh, wait. She’s not ready to tell everyone – at least not yet. Just because she’s going to be a mama doesn’t mean she wants to tell you yet. Why not? Some women want to wait until after the first trimester is over, when there is a lower risk of miscarriage. Some women have had previous miscarriages and don’t want to jinx it. Others just want to wait. Whatever her reason is, it’s her reason. And making her spill when she’s not ready just isn’t okay.
Yes, technically the mama-to-be can say she’s not pregnant when you ask. If she’s not ready, she doesn’t have to share. She can say nothing, she can tell you she doesn’t know or she can say no. It’s her prerogative to hide the truth right now. But, the fact that you asked puts her in a sticky spot. Don’t try to force her good news out by asking too early on.
If you know (or think) she’s trying, don’t assume that she wants all of her friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and acquaintances to know the exact moment the pee stick shows a double purple line. Let her have her moment, and don’t push a reveal too early on.
7 Problem With The Baby
Hmm. Is she pregnant? She’s been trying. But she really hasn’t said anything about having a baby in a few months. That’s odd. She went from non-stop baby-making conversations to nothing. That leaves you wondering why she suddenly stopped talking about babies, babies and more babies. Maybe she gave up on trying to conceive. Maybe she reconsidered and decided that this just isn’t the right time. Or maybe it’s something else.
You go ahead and ask, even though you know you probably shouldn’t. Something just doesn’t feel right. Um, go ahead and listen to the inner-voice that’s whispering, “Shut up. Shut up now.” She might be pregnant already. And she might have found out that something is wrong with the baby. Genetic testing early on can reveal a host of serious issues. Along with genetic problems, the baby may have some sort of other medical condition. The fact is, you just don’t know what’s up. And the mama in question may not want to talk about it. There’s a possibility that she just doesn’t know how severe the problem is or what the outcome will be. Pushing her to talk about the pregnancy right now may bring up feelings she’s not ready to share with anyone yet.
6 Secret Pregnancy
Shh! She’s pregnant. Not every mama is onboard with sharing her news. And it’s not just that she’s waiting. Some pregnancies are total and complete secrets. Why? Well, there are plenty of different reasons for having a secret pregnancy.
Maybe she’s worried about how her S.O. will react. Maybe she doesn’t have an S.O. and she’s worried about what her family will think. Or maybe it wasn’t her S.O. who got her pregnant. Whatever the reason is, chances are that it’s pretty major. Keeping a pregnancy a secret isn’t easy. And it’s not something that moms-to-be do on a whim. Obviously, it’s not easy to keep a pregnancy a secret.
Asking whether she’s pregnant or not may put the secretive mama in a tight spot. She may not want to outright lie to you – especially if you’re a close friend or family member. But she may have no other choice if she wants to keep her secret.
5 The Test Hasn't Told
This hopeful mama isn’t sure whether she’s pregnant or not. She might be. But it’s still too early to tell. Maybe she took a pregnancy test. And maybe that test said no. Then again, maybe she took it too early and has no way of knowing whether she is or isn’t pregnant. Pregnancy tests vary in terms of when a woman can take one (and get a pretty accurate result). Some early tests will give the woman an answer up to five days before she expects her period.
Even though she might have taken an early pregnancy test, she may not really know for sure. Or, maybe she didn’t take a test at all yet. She may have missed her period or feel some serious pregnancy symptoms. But she may want to wait. Hey, mamas have their own ways of doing things and it’s not your job to second-guess her desire to wait. Yeah, you might want to know. It’s kind of like a cliffhanger at the end of the season of your favorite show. That doesn’t mean you need to ask and ask and ask. Step back and let her take her time. She’ll tell you when she knows for sure.
4 No One’s Business
Why shouldn’t you ask a woman if she’s pregnant? Well, there are zillion reasons. Okay, maybe not a zillion. But there are plenty of them out there. When it comes down to it – it’s really not anyone’s business.
Pregnancy is very private. Really. It may seem extremely public, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, some mamas make pregnancy everyone’s business. They post their pee sticks on FB and share pics of their growing bumps on IG. They want everyone from their boss to their former ninth grade BFF to know they’re expecting.
But, not every mama feels this way. Some want to keep their pregnancy moments to themselves. And the intrusion of asking is just too public for them. If mommy is keeping quiet it might have something to do with her privacy limit. When she refuses to answer your question, starts dodging you or just shakes her head and mutters, “Don’t ask” it’s time to listen – and stop asking.
3 Relationship Issues
Yep, she’s preggo. But she might not want anyone asking. Why not? Hmm. Maybe because she’s having issues with her baby-daddy. When she conceived, she was trying to get pregnant. Err. Maybe she wasn’t. Hey, it’s completely possible that she had no intention of getting pregnant right now at all. None. She was fighting with her on and off again guy, and she ended up pregnant. The not always so happy couple was in an “on” phase of their relationship, and now there’s a baby on the way.
Some women (or men) think a baby will make things better. They don’t. If anything, they put more stress and strain on an already shaky relationship. Now that she’s pregnant, he’s not happy about it and the two are having major relationship issues. The unhappy relationship situation is like a big ol’ grey cloud over this pregnancy. And that’s why she doesn’t want to answer your questions.
2 Unsure About The Baby
Not every woman gets pregnant on purpose. This may have been a BC slip-up, she may have incorrectly calculated her ovulation date, the condom could have broken or she may have neglected to use protection. Or maybe she wanted to get pregnant at the time, but soon after realized it was a major mistake. When relationship problems creep up, financial disasters happen or medical complications arise, some women make a choice not to go through with the pregnancy.
Even though she may not look pregnant this early on, you might still wonder, “Could she be?” She might show some of the signs, such as nausea and vomiting. This may make you wonder – and may make you ask. If she’s not sure whether she wants to have the baby or not, asking if she’s pregnant right now might end up in a conversation that neither of you is ready to have.
1 Bad Fashion Choices
That high-waisted dress she’s wearing kind of sort of looks like maternity-wear. Oh, but it’s not. It’s just a tent-ish style. And you’re the intrusive person who asked if she was pregnant. Hey, at least you didn’t pat her belly through the mumu she’s wearing. Wait. You did. Not a great move.
If the primary reason for asking whether she’s expecting is her outfit, it’s time to keep your questions to yourself. Come on, you’ve seen the clothes before. They look like maternity outfits, but they’re just built for comfort. The flow, they billow and they bulge in ways you’d expect to see if you’re expecting. The woman’s fashion choice shouldn’t impact your decision here. When that’s the only reason for asking, “Hey, when is the baby due anyway?” you have to prepare yourself for a glaring look.
No one wants to hear, “Ugh! I am never, ever, ever going to wear this stupid shirt again. Ever!” as a response to, “Are you having a baby?” But if you let a high waist or an XL size influence your judgment, that’s what might happen.