Pregnancy Etiquette for Men

“You look like you’re about to pop!”  This is one of the many examples of things not to say to a pregnant woman, no matter how far along she is.  Having been a dad for some time now, I’ve been through 3 pregnancies with my own kids, plus 2 from in-laws, and probably 100 from friends.  I’ve learned a thing or two about what to say and what not to say when it comes to acknowledging a woman is pregnant.

Q:  What do you say when you suspect a woman you’re speaking with is pregnant?

A:  NOTHING!  Do NOT acknowledge it, no matter how bad you want to.  Wait for HER (or someone else) to say it first.  By acknowledging it you’re entering dangerous territory.  Either:

1) She’s pregnant and now feels like her belly (that she’s already probably self conscious about) is too big to ignore or..

2) She’s not pregnant and you might as well enter the witness protection program because you have committed the worst crime you could possibly commit.

Q:  What do you say when a woman you’re speaking with tells you she’s pregnant?

A:  There’s a number of things you CAN say that are safe, “Congratulations” is the obvious one and should be the next thing you say, but in addition you can say things like:

  • “How far along are you?”
  • “That explains why you’re glowing”
  • “When will you find out what you’re having?”
  • “How are you feeling?”
  • “Is this your first?”
  • “I couldn’t even tell”*

All of these are suitable and could create casual conversation.  I put an asterisks (*) by the last one just because this could be a grey area.  Let me explain;  if you tell a woman that you couldn’t tell that she’s pregnant, but she happens to be really far along (more than half way) then you run the risk of her thinking that you thought she was overweight.  This one is tricky, use it with caution.

The Pregnancy Phases:

There are 3 phases of pregnancy, they’re called “trimesters.”  With each of these phases comes challenges.

1st Trimester – This is the beginning of pregnancy, it includes the first ~13.5 weeks.  This is usually the period of time where the woman feels the most sick, be sensitive to that.  Heightened sensitivity to smell makes it so she doesn’t want to be around fish or fried foods, make sure to steer clear.

2nd Trimester – This is the “golden period”.  During this phase ~13.5 to 27 weeks most of the pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and nausea have dwindled down.  Baby starts to kick which feels weird at first but then really awesome!  Appetites start coming back, a little bump starts to show, and she’s feeling good!

3rd Trimester – Last but not least (27 weeks to delivery).  Nesting happens during this time.  Nesting is when she wants to buy everything for the baby.  Cribs, blankets, bottles, diapers, swings, strollers, car seats, bouncy things, teether, rattles, bottles, mobiles, stuff animals, rocking chair, monitors, white noise makers, baby carriers, pacifiers, and on and on and on.  This is very much the psychological period of time where the woman wants to make sure that everything is prepared for the baby coming home since it’ll be happening soon. Basically room in the house has to look like Pinterest.  Everything is harder on her, walking, sitting, sleeping, bathing, etc.  Make sure you help as much as possible, hold doors open, carry things, do what you need to do to help her feel comfortable.

Towards the very end of this phase there is a “get this baby out of me phase”, but that’s a very short period of time.

Final Tip:

This might be the most important tip of all.  DO NOT, for any reason, ever touch a pregnant woman’s belly without her permission.  And do NOT ever ask her if you can touch it.  Just because she’s pregnant, doesn’t mean there aren’t any boundaries, stay away.


Pregnancy is a great thing.  I firmly believe that none of us guys could handle carrying and delivering a baby.  I hope these tips help keep you safe the next time you think about saying something stupid to a pregnant woman!


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