When I was younger I worked with a woman who was a bit overweight. We were at the front desk of a very popular, busy restaurant in Chicago. One night while she was walking a group to their table a man congratulated her and asked, "When is your due date?" She was devastated. I tried to console her with positive thoughts, "He's just a jerk..." and "Please, you look great!! I love that dress!" Regardless of my efforts to cheer her, she was devastated. Suggesting that a woman is pregnant when in fact she isn't is quite possibly the meanest thing you could say to a woman..
The truth is, asking a woman if she is pregnant EVEN IF SHE IS PREGNANT is frowned upon, too. My rule of thumb is never, never, never, ever, even if she's clearly about to have a baby ask the question. Don't comment at all about her physical appearance. For instance, does she have a gigantic belly, gorgeous glowing face, shiny perfect hair and look as if she is bursting with joy? You then say, "You a hockey fan?" Do NOT say, "Oh, you must be pregnant you're looking so full of life..." Because you can bet your sweet patoot she will lose her glow, her hair will instantly dull, and she'll give you the "what an awful human" glare you rightly deserve.
Starting a conversation with a woman you suspect to be pregnant you should never indicate your suspicion. Talk about something else entirely. Talk about yourself until she brings it up - and trust me, if she IS PREGNANT - she will bring it up. I'm pregnant and its all I can do not to talk about it. The reason for this is simple: pregnancy consumes you. Your body lives for a ten month period in a state of constant change; every day the hormones shift and you never know what that will bring. Good mood, bad mood, shiny hair, zits, tears, smiles, constipation, diarrhea, vomit, bloating. I mean, you really do not know what the day will bring. Nausea ends during week eleven, but then boom - week 16 and there it is again. Besides those physical indicators everyone asks about, a pregnant woman's brain is not like a non-pregnant woman's brain. My point is simply: if she is pregnant she will talk about being pregnant. Somehow, someway - it will come up. So you needn't worry yourself with bringing it up at all.
You certainly shouldn't feel compelled to bring it up just to "congratulate" her. If for some odd reason she doesn't bring it up and you don't get the chance to congratulate her - she isn't losing any sleep over that, so again - don't fret. If you did bring it up and she isn't pregnant, she will lose sleep over the insult. If she is pregnant and you brought it up in an improper way again, she's not sleeping tonight.
What should be your utmost concern is not hurting a woman's feelings for any reason at all. If you say nothing and she brings it up and you have the opportunity to congratulate her let that be it. If you MUST say something else - the only thing you should ever say to a woman who is pregnant no matter how close you are to her is this: "How are you feeling?" and/or "You look great!" Never say anything like:
1. "I thought you were pregnant, you normally take such good care of yourself."
2. "I can't believe how big you are!"
3. "Maybe you're carrying twins."
4. "Well, you weren't that big with your other children, were you?"
5. "When I was pregnant I didn't start to show until I was (fill in the blank) months along."
6. "I guess you've had some cravings for junk food, huh?"
7. "Hitting the ice cream shop, are we?"
Chances are if you have said anything like that to a pregnant woman she cursed you out behind your back for a day or two - minimum. You may think that seems an excessive amount of time - but each of the comments a pregnant woman hears is registered in a location in her brain that she will not forget. Oddly she'll forget to buckle her eldest with a seat belt, but she will not forget the nasty comment her neighbor said.
I will review. It is really just this simple. First, never ask the question. Let her tell you of her own free will. Two, if it comes up you have three things to say, "Congratulations! How are you feeling? Well... you just look great!" If you follow these simple rules you will be certain to stay in the good graces of pregnant women everywhere and certain not to offend any non-pregnant women along the way.