Pair it with a smile.

By Southern Living
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Surprise! Your friend, sister, cousin, colleague, or next-door neighbor is having a baby. They tell you their news, and what do you say? There's only one appropriate response in this situation, and that is: "Congratulations!"

"Congratulations!"—or an equally positive exclamation from your choice of enthusiastic felicitations—is the warmest, most cheerful, most supportive thing you can say in this scenario. No matter the circumstances or details of the announcement, "Congratulations!" is the only proper response when someone tells you they're having a baby. A hug and a smile is also a welcome addition to well wishes.

Now that we know what to say, let's run through what not to say to expecting mothers in particular—and why. The central points of etiquette here involve being positive, supportive, and respectful of your loved one and her news. What to avoid is as follows…

Too Many Questions

She'll share what she wants to share, when she wants to share it. Be sure to respect her privacy and, most importantly: Don't pry. Even if you're super close and super curious, too many questions can send the conversation into an uncomfortable trajectory.

Pregnancy Horror Stories

She's already going through a roller coaster of an experience. That's why it's best not to bombard this new pregnancy with unnecessary worry. You may have horror stories of pregnancies past ready to tell, but it's important to keep those to yourself.

Unsolicited Advice

If she has questions, she'll ask. Unsolicited advice, while occasionally helpful, can often be overwhelming and unnecessary. On a deeply personal journey like this one, unsolicited advice pours in from all sides. You can help lessen the stress by listening, not advising—until she asks, of course.

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What are your go-to felicitations? While "Congratulations!" is called for, the most important thing to remember is that your friend is sharing the news with you. You can repay the kindness by listening to them, supporting them, and being there for them during this journey.