1. Never assume that a woman who appears to be pregnant is. Even if she is, she may not want to talk about it. Take your cues from her.
2. Never touch a pregnant woman's belly or any other part of her without her explicit permission. Her mere existence and public appearance does not constitute "explicit permission."
3. Do not call a pregnant woman whom you do not know by a maternal name, like "mama." If you do know the woman but she is not your mother, take your cues from her.
4. It is a kindness to offer a pregnant woman a seat, a parking space, to hold a door, to carry things for her, and so on, but if she declines your offer politely, accept that graciously.
5. Only the mother gets to decide whom she wants to attend the delivery in the delivery room. The parents jointly get to decide who can come to the hospital. Grandparents, in-laws, and other relatives and friends do not have an automatic right to be present-regardless of the fact that a new member of their family is about to be born.
6. It is not tactful to bring up miscarriages, abortions, birth defects or deformities, or graphic medical discussions of pregnancy or childbirth in the presence of a pregnant woman. Nor should they be discussed at a dinner.
7. If a pregnant woman does not tell you of the birth, do not ask about it. What happened may be too painful a subject for her and also may not be your business.
8. Avoid smoking in the presence of a pregnant woman. For pregnant women: While it is advisable that you avoid smoking and designated smoking areas, if you are in one, it is not acceptable to demand that those around you refrain from smoking.
9. If you are not the pregnant woman's doctor or health care provider, do not presume to give her unsolicited medical advice or monitor her diet, including alcohol consumption. Your concern for the child doesn't excuse your rudeness in doing this.
10. It is okay to have a shower for a new mother (if it is in keeping with her culture), but it should not be a "surprise" shower.
11. For pregnant women: While many things can be forgiven, "the hormones" don't constitute a "get out of responsibility to be polite" card.
12. The child's name is up to the parents.
13. Pregnant women are not entitled to gifts, including those on registries. Any gifts offered must be received graciously with an appropriate thank-you to the giver.
14. For new parents-to-be: Please do not assume that everyone wants to see a sonogram or video of the childbirth. Ask your intended audience before displaying either.
15. Also for new parents: Please do not assume that everyone is entertained by unsolicited stories of the birth. Keep it private unless asked for.
16. Again for new parents: Superior parking spaces, places in line, and other "perks" are privileges and not entitlements.
17. Finally for new parents: Be considerate of those with fertility problems-don't pressure them to hold your child, make any kind of derogatory comments, suggest that it's easy, suggest that they're lucky not to be parents, etc.