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I already said "Congratulations", via text message, to my friend who's wife just gave birth to a girl at 25 weeks.

Assuming that everything is ok, or at least going well given the situation, is it OK to say "Congratulations"?

At first I said "let us know if there is anything we can do", or something like that, but upon reflection, I felt like being apprehensive about the situation is decidedly negative, and that does seems quite INAPPROPRIATE for the birth of a child. I figure that a new life has started, and even though the circumstances might not be ideal, it's still something to celebrate.

I may have already put my foot in my mouth, but thought I would see what others think.

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    I think you overthink this. If I was the parents, I'd be really worried about the survival of my child, and I'd be glad that someone offered support, even if there wasn't much they could do. And of course congratulations are always in order for a birth. – Pascal Sep 10 at 8:53
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My daughter was born at 27 weeks. Congratulations will be appreciated in any case, I don't think you've stuck your foot in your mouth. After all, they did expect to have a baby, just not quite so soon.

At this point they may be able to spend time in the hospital with their daughter. But they won't spend all their time there, so they will be able to look after themselves for the most part when they are home. Social interaction with others will be helpful. (I'm assuming this is their first child, it's a bit different if they already have another child.)

After their daughter comes home (three months or so from now), then they will be in full-on baby care mode. Things people can do to help, depending on how close you are, are stuff like: Make a meal and deliver it to them; go over and do some laundry or wash dishes; mow their lawn or water their garden. Mom will hopefully sleep when the baby sleeps, so talk to dad and listen to what he needs.

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