For all of you who are unsure, it is not (repeat not) appropriate to ask women if they are pregnant. Many people tend to make assumptions about pregnancy based on physical appearance, which (surprise) isn’t okay. Though this assumptions may not have bad intentions, this profiling of bodies can make women feel that the only acceptable reason to gain weight is pregnancy, which is simply not true. Bodies change for all kinds of reasons including a variety of different health issues; you bringing up that you noticed a physical change will not make a woman feel good about it. Even if she is pregnant, it can be hard to deal with the sudden weight gain. In short, asking about pregnancy can be extremely detrimental to a woman’s self-estee, regardless of if she is or isn’t.
Pro tip: it is better to wait for her official pregnancy announcement than to ask at random. She could be waiting until she is certain she won’t miscarry. There are also a ton of genetic problems the baby could have that cause complications in pregnancies. It’s even possible she is waiting for genetic testing before making an announcement. She may not have figured out what her plan is if she is pregnant. Having a baby is a big life-change and can be very stressful, so there is no need to add more stress to her life. Whether she is or isn’t pregnant is not your concern until she says it is.
Unfortunately, it is shockingly common for people to ask when a woman plans to start a family and then give unsolicited advice. Despite good intentions, this can devastate women with undisclosed health complications, that you may not realize are keeping her from having a child. Another reason not to comment is that you don’t know the intimacies of their financial status. There are all kinds of reasons not to start a family at the present moment. Unless she brings up these issues, it is likely too personal of a problem to bring up in casual conversation. Similarly, If you ask about when she plans on getting pregnant it can put her in an uncomfortable situation, if she doesn’t want to share (no matter what the reason is).
It is also important to remember that comments about having children can reinforce the idea that women’s value is mainly in their ability to have children. This idea is completely sexist and disregards women as anything other than mothers. By asking about if she is planning on children, you neglect the other aspects of her life that are tied into family planning. A woman is first and foremost an individual with goals and aspirations that may or may not include having children. Instead, you can ask about her ambitions.
Lastly, If the woman is pregnant please do not touch her stomach without her consent. As a society, we tend to treat pregnant women differently. Unfortunately, one way that some people do this is by touching pregnant women’s stomachs. This is really weird especially if you do not know her! Unless she offers, it is best to give her a respectful amount of personal space. Some people do not like to be touched and this does not change once they are pregnant. Overall, please use common sense and be respectful about women and the tempermental and emotionally-sensitive nature of pregnancy.