If you search online for pregnancy advice, some of the first results that come up are about how to deal with unwanted advice from family, friends, and even strangers. Pregnancy is wrapped up in a whirlwind of beauty and frustration and worry, so advice and opinions tend not to be appreciated until a new mom has gotten through it all. No matter your relationship with the mom-to-be, here are tips for giving women pregnancy advice they actually want without royally irritating them.

Keep In Mind What They’ve Heard Before

The amount of information out there for new mothers is seriously overwhelming. With resources in the millions covering every stage of pregnancy from conception to the delivery room, most women will have done their research and more. Before offering any opinions on what she should or should not be doing, keep in mind that chances are you won’t be the first person to say something. Her priorities will be what she and her health care team say is right for her and the baby, so don’t be offended if she isn’t in the mood to hear your advice.

Sometimes You Just Need To Vent

A good time to give advice is when the mom-to-be is reaching out to you to talk about the concerns she’s having. If she’s expressing worries with you, it’s likely because she values your experience and input and is hoping you can assuage her discomforts. Keep in mind, though, that sometimes people just need to complain. Solutions won’t always be wanted, especially for issues where she already knows what she has to do and is simply stressed out about it. Offer empathy and understanding and always ask if she’d like to hear your thoughts on her pregnancy before you express them.

Think About the Moments That Scared You

When you’re trying to help a new mom through her pregnancy, stay away from the basic topics that she’ll find in every pregnancy book on the shelves. If you’ve experienced pregnancy before, think back on the things that scared you most at every stage. How did your body change that no one talked about? Where did you find the resources that you used most? When did you need help but were too scared to ask? If you’re being reached out to for general advice, touch on the things you wish you had known when you were in her shoes.

Giving pregnant women advice they actually want means focusing on their needs and applying your experience without dumping information on them. This is a sensitive and deeply personal time for women, so be kind and only get involved when invited to do so. Some areas where your advice can make a world of difference is helping her confidently make a birth plan or assisting with decision making when it comes to long-term choices and big purchases. More than anything, lend a listening ear and respect the boundaries she sets.

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