Being pregnant is a joyful occasion, a beautiful moment in a woman’s life.
On the contrary, there’s something awful that can happen to most women: being asked if they are pregnant when they are not – and whoever’s asking isn’t going to feel good about it either.
So, how can you politely ask if someone is pregnant? The best way to do it is by asking someone else about it, not the woman in question. If you have to do it personally, ease your way into the subject – and apologize right away if you’re wrong!
There’s more to it than that, though. Let’s figure out the right way to ask.
How to Politely Ask If Someone Is Pregnant?
Ease your way into the subject
Before you ask someone if they’re pregnant or not, you need to ease your way into the subject. Doing so isn’t necessarily hard – but it’s necessary.
So, how can you do that? It’s simple! Try:
“Hey, I’m sorry if I’m too nosy, and if I’m going over the line, let me know, but…”
Once you have said that first part, you can ask.
Keep in mind easing into the subject is the polite thing to do – but if you ask if someone is pregnant and they’re not, you’re not going to sound polite, no matter how hard you try.
After easing into the subject, you can simply ask, “Are you pregnant?”
If you can ask someone else, even better
As you can probably guess, asking if someone is pregnant is a risky move. Metaphorically speaking, doing so could blow up right in your face.
Fortunately, there are other ways to find out.
Better ask a close friend or relative of that person.
“Hey, I noticed X is a little changed. Do you think she’s pregnant?”
Keep in mind you don’t have to ease into the subject if you’re asking someone else. You do have to watch your words. Calling someone fat or heavier isn’t going to help your case.
When you’re talking about someone’s physique, keep it vague and go straight to the point.
What to Avoid If You Want to Know If Someone Is Pregnant
Mentioning size or weight
As you know, mentioning someone’s weight is a no-no. You’re not winning any friends when you do so – especially if that person isn’t pregnant but fat instead.
Then again, mentioning someone’s weight isn’t the polite thing to do in most scenarios, so try not to do it, whether you’re asking if someone is pregnant or not.
Even though you think someone is pregnant because of their weight, steer clear of mentioning such a thing.
Even if you’re right and that person asks you how you knew she’s pregnant, steer clear of saying it. If you want an easy out, you can simply say you had a hunch about it.
Touching the belly
A lot of people tend to forget about personal space when they encounter a pregnant woman. You shouldn’t act like that. We’re talking about touching a pregnant woman’s belly.
Most people do it out of joy and excitement, but that doesn’t make it right.
Do not touch a pregnant woman’s belly unless you’re asked to.
If she asks you whether you can feel her belly or not, that’s up to you – but don’t put her in an uncomfortable scenario by asking yourself.
And, by all means, don’t even think about asking to do so before you know 100% if someone is pregnant or not. “Can I feel your belly?” isn’t the right way to ask someone if they’re pregnant. It’s probably the worst one.
Being too upfront about it
Remember, you have to ease your way into the subject. “Hi, how are you? Are you pregnant?” isn’t how you want to approach this scenario. And you have to time it properly.
Even if you know the right words you want to say, you have to ask at an appropriate time.
If you’re at work, try to do so at lunch, when everyone is more relaxed than usual.
On the other hand, we can’t stress enough that some women prefer to keep pregnancies private. For example, if you’re at a dinner party, try to ask when you’re alone with that person (and not when you’re all sitting down eating together.)
Should You Ask If Someone Is Pregnant?
While being pregnant is a wonderful occasion for most people, a certain number of women prefer to keep a pregnancy private.
There are multiple reasons for that decision, and there’s no need to list them here. If someone wants to keep something private, the polite thing to do is to respect their privacy.
Now, you’re probably wondering if you should ask about a pregnancy.
The consensus is you shouldn’t ask if someone is pregnant. It can lead to a bad situation for anyone involved, so why try at all?
If you can’t help yourself or need to know for specific reasons, by all means, do ask – but do so in a gentle way, as we have discussed above.
Keep in mind a big belly isn’t necessarily because of pregnancy
Even though you now know some women prefer to keep their pregnancy private, you should also know asking point-blank about it may prove awful in certain scenarios.
You may see a woman that gained weight – but not because of pregnancy. Asking her if she’s pregnant wouldn’t be the nicest thing you can do, even if you mean no harm.
Sometimes, having a big belly could be because of medical issues. Once again, asking in this scenario wouldn’t be too polite – and you might upset someone because of it.
Because of these reasons, we highly suggest asking someone else (and not the person in question) about a pregnancy.
Is It Rude to Ask Someone If They Are Pregnant?
We have already advised you against asking a woman if she is pregnant, as this can lead to unpleasant situations. A survey we conducted also confirms this.
We asked 106 people (across genders) if they considered it rude to ask someone about a possible pregnancy, and 74% said it was.
There is a social consensus that this topic is sensitive, and it is better to refrain from asking this question.
What to Do If You Ask If Someone Is Pregnant and They Are Not
Let’s say you asked someone if they were pregnant – and they are not. Well, you’re now in a bad situation. First things first: apologize.
Keep it simple and straightforward:
“I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have asked.”
That’s it. You can’t really spin this into something positive; you can laugh about it if that other person isn’t upset.
If you’re going to make a joke, make it about you, never about her, for example:
“Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to get my foot out of my mouth.”
Before you move on, try and apologize again. Just like before, keep it simple:
“Once again, I apologize. I can’t tell you how embarrassed I am.”
That’s the only way to do it.
Remember, don’t try to spin it or lie about it. Don’t pass the blame to someone else, even if it’s true.
Whether someone else told you about it or not, you’re the one who asked – and you’re the one who must apologize.
After that uncomfortable moment is over, try not to bring it up again. Apologizing once or twice is okay – but you have to move on.
If you wait a day or a week to say you’re sorry, you’re doing more of an effort to remind her about that awful moment than apologizing.
What to Do If That Person Is in Fact Pregnant
Let’s say you were right, and she is pregnant. Well, congratulations are in order! Not for you, of course. For the pregnant lady. You can try to say:
“I’m so happy for you, congratulations.”
If you’re interested in hearing about it, you can ask if they know the gender or not.
Keep in mind some people prefer not to know until the baby is born, and you have to respect that decision by not pushing the subject.
Once again, touching the belly is an absolute no-no, especially without permission. If a pregnant woman asks you if you want to do it, you can do so. Otherwise, try not to do it.
Think about doing a nice gesture down the line
If you’re close to that person, you can think about buying something for her or her baby. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; a little pair of baby boots will be more than enough. It’s all about the gesture!
Doing so isn’t necessary, though. You can do so if you want to go the extra mile.
If you’re thinking about raising money to buy a fancy gift, you need to figure out if most people know about the pregnancy or not. Remember, certain people prefer to keep pregnancies private!
Let her know you’re available to help – but don’t give unsolicited advice
Most pregnant women run into people giving unsolicited advice all the time; try not to be another fountain of unwanted wisdom for her.
If she asks about something, by all means, go ahead and help.
You can offer to help if help is needed. Just let her know you’re there for her (and her baby).
“If you need something, anything, let me know”
…is gold. That will be worth a hundred times more than any piece of unsolicited advice.
Sophie Hammond is a journalist, psychologist, and freelance speechwriter for people in politics and business. She lives on the edge of the Rocky Mountains with her dog and a lifetime supply of books. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering through nature or journaling at a coffee shop.