Push Present Etiquette You Need to Know – Hints Worth Passing On

Say what? I’ve never heard of push presents or push present etiquejtte, either. Is that really a thing? If your pregnant wife or girlfriend has casually mentioned this, then you have a present dilemma on your hands. If you’re looking for tips, rules, or advice on your first push present, read on!

First of all, let’s clarify what the term “push present” means:

A push present is a gift given to a woman by the father of her child, commemorating the birth event. It can also be a way to acknowledge the mother’s sacrifices and challenges during pregnancy and labor. In some instances, push presents may come from friends or family.

At first glance, push presents seem very materialistic. The idea of a push present loses its sweetness when the mother feels entitled to receive it, or the giver feels compelled to give out of obligation.

Then I started digging deeper and found push gifts to be a beautiful concept.

Don’t forget to visit the comfort push presents ideas page, push presents jewelry ideas page, or push presents for dads page for more pregnancy gift tips.

Happy pregnant couple with laptop.
Is this happy, expecting couple shopping for baby things online, or pushing presents for themselves?

Are there etiquette rules for giving pregnancy gifts?

There are no etiquette rules for giving push presents. Each woman is unique and special and has different interests. Guess what? Your pregnant mom-to-be might not even want a push present (see “push-present haters” below).

What it comes down to is knowing the likes and dislikes of the pregnant mom. Pregnancy hormones can make picking a gift even more complicated. You have a choice of truly making the push-gift a surprise or having an open discussion with your pregnant loved one.

Some dads-to-be will reach out to their mother-in-law or sister-in-law, or another close female friend to figure it out. If friends of the pregnant mom have mentioned push-gifts, your pregnant lady will be sure to have formed an opinion on this.

Push gifts as a love gift

The push present tradition didn’t start because of marketing schemes of jewelers; fathers truly wanted to do something nice for their wives. In fact, dads have been doing something sweet for new moms for decades. Your own dad may have presented a bouquet of flowers or a pregnancy gift of jewelry to your mother after birth, simply out of love and respect.

These thoughts from parents better communicate the emotions behind the present:

“Giving birth is a huge feat, and it should be celebrated.”

“I want to express to my wife that I’m proud of her for giving birth and going through the struggles of pregnancy.” 

“A gift is a nice thing to look forward to in addition to the stress and fear associated with labor.”

“It was nice to feel appreciated after a traumatic birth experience.”

“As soon as the baby is born, it feels like all focus is on him/her. The appreciation for the mom’s sacrifices seems to fall by the wayside. I just want to feel cared for and not forgotten in everyone’s excitement.”

A father giving roses to his pregant wife.
Push presents are a “love language” gift – a symbol of respect and appreciation for the mother of your child.

Are push presents stupid? Some people think so, moms included. Some parents would instead feel free to give or get a push present. In truth, parents who are stressed about the financial aspect of paying for the hospital bill and all of the baby gear can be equally worried about an expensive push present.

Couples need to have an open conversation about what is important to them. If you don’t want a “push present,” let your partner know. If you want one, then you should bring it up in advance.

The nitty-gritty advice of who gets push presents

Judging by the name, you would assume it’s the pregnant mother getting the push present. This cutesy name is also extended to dads, but more as a thank you from mom to dad for all the support given to her. Check out push presents for dads if you are looking for ideas for your partner.

Let’s not leave out anyone giving birth by c-section! Yes, it’s a little off-putting to phrase it “push present” for these special moms. Some people may even search for “c-section push present” – just an indication that the term has become generalized.

What about surrogate mothers?

Keith Urban presented a push present to their wife, Nicole Kidman, after the birth of their second child. After baby girl Faith was born via surrogacy, Keith gave Nicole a $120,000 custom-designed emerald and diamond cross. My first thought would be, yeah, but what did the surrogate get?

Mother at home holding her newborn baby in a chair.
All mothers, in whatever form motherhood comes to them, deserve a push present.

I find the astronomical price tag on celebrity push gifts shameful as if these stars had more worth than any other mother. More disgraceful is the celebrity mother’s attitude that she more than deserves the present with a Fort Knox price tag.

Infertility is another matter, bringing its own emotional roller coaster of ups and downs for both parents. The website Infertility Aide confirms Kidman’s struggles with getting pregnant naturally after the birth of her first child. Her mental health was certainly impacted, and the choice of surrogacy was not easy. It is a great sacrifice (and personal loss) to hand over the chance to experience your pregnancy to another woman.

FYI, yes, the surrogate mother should get a gift, too.

What about single moms? You bet they deserve push presents! They just might be giving them to themselves. In fact, some women do, regardless of the men in the picture.

What about adoptive moms? They are included as well. Giving push presents is an individual choice.

Typical to unusual push presents

A typical push present is a piece of push-present jewelry, such as a ring, necklace, or bracelet. Some are chosen to represent the baby’s date of birth, with a birthstone or engraving or the new baby’s initial.

Of course, small token gifts, such as flowers and balloons, could come from excited new grandparents and friends. These aren’t really push presents, as the push present is much more personal.

Beyond that, gifts can be as individual as the woman giving birth. Push presents can be something the woman has wanted for a long time. This could be a luxury fashion item, a tech gadget, or a comfort gift. Visit the comfort push presents ideas page, push presents jewelry ideas page, or push presents for dads page for more pregnancy gift tips.

A husband hides a single rose behind his back as he visits his wife and new child in the hospital.
Any surprise is a nice touch for the physical event of childbirth.

Push present haters, yep, they’re out there

By now, you are thinking that push presents are a nice gesture for the mom, right? Wrong! There are many parents out there who view the term “push present” as insulting, a little goodie for “pushing” a baby out. Some parents view it as a marketing ploy cooked up by jewelers and fueled by celebrity births in Hollywood.

There is a large percentage of moms and dads that deem a push present as inappropriate, as somehow trying to compete with the miracle of life. Some parents have even equated it to a transactional gift, “you gave birth, so you get this.”

I get why the idea of push presents is confusing. Most folks will say that the baby is the gift and that “it’s inappropriate to reward normal life milestones that should be rewarding in themselves.”

Giving a # could backfire on you. I know, I know. As the guy, you probably fear that no gift will end up in resentment. What if your wife says she doesn’t want a present but secretly does? Or is she really worried about paying for the birth? Or do those raging hormones leave you walking on eggshells, stuck in the unknown?

In that case, I would suggest a small gift, such as flowers and/or inexpensive jewelry push-present. I would also strongly suggest checking out the kindness and support push gifts section on the push presents idea page. Take comfort in knowing that push presents can be given at a later date. Keep those communication lines open, and you shouldn’t run into any problems!

When did push presents become a thing?

Push presents have always been a thing!

I was curious about the whole “push present” origin. A quick look at Google Trends (2004) confirms what I thought. Push presents started to gain popularity in the U.S. around 2010. Babycenter.com, the pulse on everything baby, asked its online community as far back as 2004 about push presents when responses started to trickle in.

Google trends chart 2004-2023 of upward trending search term "push gift".
Google trends chart 2004-2023 of upward trending search term “push gift”.

To be clear, this is when the label “push present” became popular. Giving a special gift to a woman after birth is something men have been doing for centuries, believe it or not. If there is a finger to be pointed, point it at celebrities. According to the Marie Claire site, the favorite push present is outrageously priced jewelry. This kind of stuff always catches the attention of social media boards, spreading like fire.

Not all celebrities dump more money into themselves. Kudos to the Kutcher family. Rather than accept a push present from Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis chose to forego the gift and instead helped to create a motherhood ring with Italian designer Marina B. The rings (which sold for $4,800) helped raise money for maternal health in Zambia.

Finding the perfect time to give a push present

You might be surprised at the wide window of opportunity to give push present gifts. Although the name implies a present given when “pushing” a child out, a push present can be provided at any time. It’s worth discussing the timing of giving a push present, and then you can decide what feels right for you.

There are three ideal times to give a push present, dictated more by common sense than etiquette:

Below, I go into more detail about each of these choices. My push-gift advice is to be flexible in the timing of the pregnancy gift. Be sensitive to the pregnant mom’s feelings, and get a read on the situation.

Giving push present before birth

It is better to give a push present in advance of the birth. Actually, this is an excellent idea for several reasons:

  • gives mom a distraction from the waiting game of delivery
  •  provides a distraction from the discomforts of pregnancy
  •  the mother has the time to enjoy the gift (before contractions start)
  •  an emotional boost while birthing

Ensure your pregnant wife/girlfriend/partner is on the same page as you about receiving a push-present gift before the baby is born. While some women are ok with it, others consider it bad luck to get a gift commemorating birth before the baby arrives safely.

Husband giving push present to wife before birth.
It’s so hard to wait for a new baby, especially when the due date is close! Giving the push present at this time is a nice way to distract the pregnant mommy from the waiting.

Giving a push present at the hospital

Some dads may tuck the gift into the hospital bag and present it at the hospital during quiet time. I would strongly advise not to whip out the gift instantly after the mother expels the child from her womb. The child being born is a unique and miraculous moment, not to be interrupted by commercial gifts.

In addition, a woman is experiencing chemical changes in her body at birth, which can lead to confusing communication. The National Partnership for Women & Families reports, “High endorphin levels during labor and birth can produce an altered state of consciousness that can help you deal with the process of giving birth, even if it is long and challenging.”

A pregnant woman and her husband at a hospital room with medical personel.
Hospital rooms are busy places during labor. The last thing a woman wants is a gift when she is focusing on contractions.

Many women will tell you that the last thing they want is a present shoved into their face in the delivery room. The discomfort of pregnancy doesn’t end with childbirth. This includes expelling the placenta, episiotomy stitches, continual massaging of the stomach to expel the placenta (which can be quite uncomfortable), the unpredictable emotions on pain meds, and everything that goes with caesarian section birth. Did I mention the lack of sleep?

In addition, you have no idea if complications will be present for the mom or the child. If you do decide to give a special present, day two of the hospital stay may be a better choice. Look for a moment where you are alone with the new mom, and the nurses have left you for a bit.

Giving the push present at a later date

Life becomes a blur when a new baby enters your life. Some parents prefer to “push” the push present off. At that point, it might not even be considered a push present anymore.

Finding a quiet and appropriate time during the first weeks when the baby is home may work better. Often, dads help during this particular time (consider a push present for dads!). Bonding as new parents and the wonder of parenthood lasts for months. What better time to give mom a gift during this magical moment in mom and dad’s life.

An after-the-fact push present may come later for those husbands and boyfriends who may have a delayed reality check on how much the mother of their children went through. Did you know that even members of the female crowd have never even heard of push presents? Heads up, those women may still hold you to a push present.

New mom and dad enjoying newborn baby at home.
Life is a blur after bringing baby home from the hospital. Still being on the “baby high” that first week could be a great time to give a push present in a quiet moment.

For some women, there is a feeling of missing out. It will be okay if the mom brings this up after the event. In one situation, a woman happily accepted her push present 18 months later. For those women who missed it in the first round, a push present may appear at child number two.

Don’t underestimate the overwhelming flood of emotions a woman feels when receiving a completely unexpected gift showing that you appreciate her. The element of surprise is in your favor!

Picking out the push present, should guys go solo?

For the most part, the husband or boyfriend will, under the mother’s guidance (or hints), pick out the push present. Moms – would you feel confident to solo pick out a push gift for the dad?

A dip in online baby forums confirms the woman’s influence, with the phrasing usually including “I’ve had my eyes on this.” Admittedly, many push gifts come off unapologetically as “me” gifts. Even the men join in as if it’s a Christmas wish list.

Some couples justify it as the last fun or slightly irresponsible thing they get to do before the grown-up world of parenthood. With that said, a woman may hint at birthstone earrings and then leave it up to the man to carry out the purchase.

A pregnant woman shopping in a mall.
Who picks out the pushing present? Both parents could have a say in it.

In conclusion

Parents should not feel pressured by peers, social media, or “etiquette” to give push gifts. Keep it personal and private. The best practice is to respect the mother’s individuality and her wishes. Whatever you decide to do, support and love each other. Remind yourself that you are experiencing a life miracle!

Pregnant, smiling woman touching her belly.
Know when and where to give the push present to the new mom, and where the heck did this idea start, anyway?
Renee Cavvy
Renee Cavvy

Renee brings over 30 years of gift giving experience to holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, workplace and faith events. Every life moment is cause for celebration or those times in life when we need the "the gift of support". Her mission: Let's all be better in appreciating one another, put an end to meaningless gifts that clutter our lives, and give from a place of love and kindness. This midwest mom (and grandma) offers novel and creative ideas to do gift giving better!