Whether the news of becoming pregnant brings excitement or panic to a friend, remember that this is a significant event in her life. If a friend has told you that she is pregnant, know that she will need your support.
What Can I Do to Help?
There are several ways you can help make the pregnancy easier for your friend. The best thing you can do is listen to your friend and support her decisions.
Respond appropriately to the news that she is pregnant.
Acknowledge that your friend trusts you with the news of her pregnancy, and that she may be coming to you worried, scared, happy, excited, or a mix of these emotions. The way you respond to the news of your friend’s pregnancy may impact her greatly. Try to respond in a positive and non-judgmental way. If you know your friend was not interested in becoming pregnant, help her explore her options and support whatever decision she makes. When discussing issues such as abortion, adoption, or raising a child, know that your friend may be in a vulnerable state of mind, so finding ways to communicate with her that do not add to the anxiety she may already be experiencing can be very helpful.
Visit the doctor with your friend.
If your friend is not absolutely sure that she is pregnant, or if she has only taken at-home pregnancy tests, she may want to visit a doctor to confirm the status of her pregnancy. Ask her if she would like you to attend the visit with her. Attending prenatal appointments with your friend throughout her pregnancy is a great way to show your love and support, and better understand what she is going through.
Become educated on what your friend may be going through.
Educating yourself about what happens during pregnancy can help you better understand what your friend is going through and will help you empathize with her. Her symptoms may include mood swings, nausea, food cravings, bodily changes, fatigue, and many others. Understanding what is happening during each trimester of your friend’s pregnancy will help you better understand what your friend’s needs are. Educate yourself on how to make your friend’s pregnancy a healthy experience. If the pregnancy is unexpected, your friend is a teenager, or her partner is not present during the duration of the pregnancy, she may be experiencing mixed emotions and rely on your support even more. If your friend is considering her options, educate yourself on the possibilities available to her, including adoption, abortion, parenthood, and the processes of childbirth.
Support her in whatever way she needs.
If your friend is keeping her baby, know that your enthusiasm about the pregnancy will have a positive impact on her. Help her prepare for the pregnancy and the baby’s birth, and offer whatever support and help you can. However, if your friend was not intending on becoming pregnant, enthusiasm may be unwelcome.1
Remember that you were friends before she became pregnant. Be a supportive friend, but don’t treat her differently just because she is pregnant. Continue doing activities you enjoy together as much as possible. While your friend is facing big changes in her life due to the pregnancy, she may want touse your time together to relax and not think about being pregnant. Be sure to listen to what your friend has to say and how she feels, and respond appropriately.
What if She Is Not Sure Whether or Not She Is Keeping the Baby?
Your friend may be unsure whether or not she is ready to take care of a child. Try to be as supportive as possible as she makes this difficult decision. Be there for her to talk to. Listen to her thoughts and feelings on the issue. You can encourage her to talk to a doctor, counselor or advisor. Check out this page for organizations and phone numbers that can help your friend talk about her options and decide what is best for her.
What If She Wants to Have an Abortion?
Your friend may be considering abortion if she is not ready to have a child. If your friend is unsure whether or not she wants to have an abortion, the two of you can familiarize yourselves with the arguments for and against abortion. Once you are both well informed, it may be easier to make a decision. If your friend is interested in having an abortion, support her decision as much as possible. This is a difficult decision to make, so she will need your support. Try to empathize with her situation. Ask her what she needs from you and how you can help. If you do not support abortion, try to understand your friend’s reasoning and respect her decision as much as possible. Once your friend has decided to have an abortion, you can help her find a reputable abortion clinic. Be aware that false abortion clinics exist in some areas and may interfere with your friend receiving an abortion. Know that after an abortion, your friend will need your support just as much as she did when she revealed that she was pregnant.
How Do I Act Towards Her?
It may be difficult to know how to properly respond during a friend’s pregnancy, especially if she is having physical or emotional difficulties. Know that your friendship may change, but that she is still the same person you know and love. This is a time in her life when she is going through a big transition, particularly if she decides to keep the child. Be as patient and understanding with her as you can. Some guidelines to follow throughout your friend’s pregnancy include:
- Be supportive. Try to be there for her as much as possible and ask her what she needs from you.
- Do not be judgmental. Try to imagine yourself in her place and remember that this is a big change in her life.
- Listen to anything and everything she wants to say about her pregnancy and the decisions she has made.
- Offer help and suggestions when she asks, but do not tell her what to do or nag her.
- If you have a car, offer to drive her to the store for anything she needs, including late night cravings, to her doctor's appointments and so forth. If you do not have a car, offer to ride the bus with her, walk with her, or find a ride for her. In any case, she should drive as little as possible, especially if she is prone to nausea or fainting.
- Try to appreciate what she may be going through. What would you want a friend to do if you were pregnant? You could even ask her what she would like you to do and not to do.
- Talk about delivery and raising a child if she decides to raise the baby.
Although it may not always seem like it, your friend will appreciate the love and support you provide her with. Try and understand what she is going through to the best of your ability.
What About Me?
Your friend’s pregnancy will have an impact on your relationship with her. While she may rely on your advice as a trusted friend, know that this is her experience and your role is to support her. If you find yourself worried or anxious about your friend’s pregnancy, it may be helpful to talk to someone else. Sharing these feelings with her might make you feel better, but it will most likely cause stress and agitation to your pregnant friend.2 Talking to a professional counselor, member of a pregnancy clinic, or trusted friend who is removed from the situation can help you deal with your own emotions regarding your friend’s pregnancy.
You may be worried or concerned about how your friendship is changing. Try to embrace these new challenges and keep a positive outlook on your friendship. Remember that your friend needs you during this critical time in her life. Know that these changes may lead you to become even closer than you were before.
- “What’s the Best Thing to Say When Your Friend Says She’s Pregnant?” New York Magazine. Web. 9 October 2016.
- “My Friend is Pregnant, How Can I Help Her?” Pregnancy Resource Clinic. Web. 9 October 2016.
Last Updated 24 October 2016.