Pregnancy can be a delicate issue, especially the early stages of pregnancy.
And that’s why people should always think twice before asking a woman if she’s pregnant — better yet, just don’t ask unless it’s really obvious… like 9-months-pregnant obvious.
The understandable reason being that the woman may look pregnant but she actually isn’t, which is incredibly embarrassing for both the non-pregnant woman and the person inquiring.
But if the woman actually is pregnant and it’s not totally apparent, it’s still not a good idea to ask.
There are reasons why women wait until a certain point in their pregnancy to announce they’re expecting, and it’s not someone else’s business to inquire about it beforehand.
A woman in her first trimester of pregnancy with a slightly-rounded belly may feel embarrassed to answer the “are you pregnant” question. She’s trying hard to hide it, but people are spotting the little bump and asking her about it when she’s not ready to answer the question.
But this isn’t the worst reason why you should keep your lips closed when you suspect someone’s pregnant. Sometimes the difficulty for her goes much further than just being embarrassed about her appearance. It could be because of medical reasons.
Some women have an incredibly hard time conceiving and, when asked by people who know she’s trying to have a baby if she’s pregnant yet, that can be a very difficult question to answer.
Or what if the woman just had a miscarriage? Imagine her trying to hold back her emotions and politely say “no, I’m not pregnant” while she reflects back on the trauma she went through from a recent miscarriage?
When I was pregnant with my son, many of my friends and coworkers knew I was trying to conceive. More than once, people would ask me if I was pregnant during my early stages only for me to awkwardly lie and say “no.”
For me, because of my age, I’m at a slightly higher risk of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities. If a baby is born with additional or missing chromosomes, it can lead to Trisomy 21 (aka Down syndrome — which is the most common, but definitely not the only condition), Trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome), or Trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome).
For the latter two, the mortality rate increases drastically for the fetus or newborn baby.
There are blood tests or an amniocentesis that can be done to test for these chromosomal abnormalities, and they’re typically done late in the first trimester or early in the second.
My husband and I opted to do a test as early as possible. We wanted to know everything was okay with our unborn child before announcing to the world that I was pregnant.
Waiting those 11, 12, 13-plus weeks was difficult, and not knowing the test results until then was agonizing. People asking if I was pregnant during that time didn’t help.
Last week, we announced that we were expecting our second child. And guess what? Over the past three months, the “are you pregnant” questions still came at me, before we were ready to tell people, and before we had any test results back.
Some may have thought it was okay to ask me since they know me personally, but it wasn’t. It was awkward, embarrassing, and difficult to answer them.
The next time you suspect a woman is pregnant, please make sure she really is pregnant before you ask her, because you likely have no idea the damage you may be causing. The rule of thumb is, even if you suspect a woman is pregnant, don’t ask if she is.