15 things you should never say to a pregnant woman…

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...expanding our home by another 2 feet :)

There are some things that should absolutely remain unsaid when speaking to a pregnant woman, but unfortunately, if there’s one thing that makes people forget their manners or a woman’s need for personal space, it’s pregnancy.

So in no particular order, here is my list of 15 things i think should never ever be said to a pregnant woman, what you should say instead and some replies should anyone dare to say them to you:

1. “You look like you’re ready to pop!” “I can’t believe how huge your bump is!”

Oh wow, I thought no one had noticed I’m pregnant, but now I feel much better knowing how horrifyingly huge my bump is.
Okay seriously guys!!!! How annoying is that statement? Especially in those last few weeks when you are already so tired of being pregnant. The last thing a heavily pregnant woman wants to hear is how big she looks. She’s already frustrated and exhausted and reminding her of her size isn’t good for anyone.

What to say instead: “How are you feeling?”, “Almost there, Mama. Wish you all the best”

2. “Are you sure there aren’t twins in there?”

Why, thanks Dr Stranger! You are so witty and hilarious. I totally get the joke; you took the size of my bump and implied I was actually carrying two babies. Please let me know where to drop off your “comedian of the year award
First of all, commenting on anyone’s size is absolutely tasteless, and just because a woman is pregnant does not make it OK to remark on her body, especially considering that such a silly question could probably make her extra sensitive about her looks and her body.

What to say instead: nothing!

3: “Wow, What A cute Little Bump! Are you sure you are gaining enough weight?”
Excuse me?  This is my pregnancy, my baby, and this is the size I’m meant to be – God willing.
Trust me; the naturally slender pregnant women are not immune from some very clueless comments. You may be trying to compliment a pregnant woman when you say, “I can barely see your belly!” but you may end up stoking her worries about the growth of her baby. Everyone carries differently; but if you want to make her feel good about her pregnancy appearance, simply tell her that she looks great.
You are not an authority on appropriate bump size / pregnancy weight, so don’t comment on it.

What to say instead: “you look fab mama!”

4. “Can I touch your belly?” OR Touching the belly without even asking!!

Unless you’re a relative or friend, this is just awkward for her – and should be for you too. Just because a woman is pregnant doesn’t make her belly community property. What do you hope to get from touching a strangers belly? Beats me!
Best if you ask first, but many pregnant women aren’t fond of fondles. Personally, I didn’t mind friends, or family members touching my bump but not strangers. Urrgghhh.

5. “You shouldn’t be eating/drinking that.”

Thanks Dr. Stranger, but I’ll eat and drink whatever I please. I’ll be sure to let my mid-wife in on your concern though.

A lot of pregnant women are well aware of their dietary requirements and restrictions but if you think she may be causing harm to herself or her baby and you feel you absolutely have to say something then find a VERY polite way to say it.

Ultimately, what a pregnant woman decides to eat, drink or do is between her and her physician.

6. “It’s not safe to exercise when you are pregnant”


Let’s assume that I want the best for myself and my baby. Let’s assume that I’ve had extensive talks with my OBGYN who is pretty familiar with what my body can and cannot do and let’s assume that I’m pretty happy about my decision.
By all means you may be genuinely concerned but just don’t assume she cannot / should not do it. Nobody likes to feel disabled.

What to say instead: “lucky you are strong enough to work out while pregnant!”

7. “You’re hoping for a girl right?”

With my first kiddo being a boy, almost everyone assumed that I must want a girl the next time around, right? Wrong. And I hated that everyone assumed that I wanted a girl since I had a two-year-old boy. I was thrilled to be having another boy.

What to say instead: “do you (care to) know what gender your baby is?”

8. “No baby yet?” / “Oh Wow, You’re still pregnant!”

Er, yeah. Obviously. Or maybe I had the baby months ago and decided not to tell you. Or perhaps I’ve left my baby somewhere and the bump you see are pillows which I stuffed under my maxi dress.

Pleeaassseeeeeeeee, when a pregnant woman is approaching or past her due date, DO NOT ask her if there’s a baby yet – especially if she’s noticeably still pregnant. She’s more frustrated than anyone that her baby has yet to arrive, and the last thing she needs is a reminder that she’s still pregnant. Pressure from well-meaning family and friends can result in mothers feeling like their baby isn’t coming soon enough and she may be more likely to accept an unnecessary induction of labour.

Let’s face it; it’s hard to be 8-9 months pregnant. Heck, it’s hard to be pregnant at all!!! Personally, with both pregnancies (for my 2 boys) the end of my 3rd trimester was painful, tiring, and emotionally difficult. I mean, I did my best to enjoy the last few days and weeks of pregnancy, but I was mostly sleep-deprived and uncomfortable. And every time someone would call / text to say “IS THE BABY HERE YET”, I only felt more and more anxious!!! I just wanted to scream – NO, THERE’S NO NEWS and I’ll be sure to let you know when there is.

So rather than make comments that would make a pregnant woman even more impatient, why don’t you try to take her mind off the painfully draining waiting process.

9. “Why would you use an epidural?” / “You should get an epidural!”

What a great, objective, super unbiased way to voice your unsolicited advice, but I think I’ll trust my healthcare provider’s judgement if that’s ok.

A pregnant woman’s birth plan is extremely personal and should be about what she wants. Epidurals may be pretty common, and natural births may be pretty common too but it’s essentially a matter of choice. Questioning her decision to do (or not to do) something you didn’t (or did) could make her worried about her birth plan.

What to say instead:
“Personally, I decided to get an epidural because…but everyone is different.”

10. “You Look Awful/Tired/So Pale!”

Thanks for your kind comment that will undoubtedly play on my mind at random intervals. I apologise for not meeting your high standards today, it’s largely due to the rather obvious fact that an entire human being is growing inside me, but I’ll be sure to look more appealing the next time I see you.

What to say instead: “You look great mama”

11. “Wait Until… The Sleepless Nights/The Birth/You Have A Toddler!”

This isn’t a competition; I’m not trying to outdo you. I just wanted to have a little moan about pregnancy, please don’t then use my own future to scare me.

Avoid saying this to a first-time mom – a person who is typically feeling high anxiety, stress, and overwhelming fear about what’s to come. If a pregnant lady says, ” morning sickness sucks!,” do not come back at her with, “oh just wait! You’re only in your first trimester. You haven’t seen anything yet.” Instead, try to be more empathetic.

What to say instead: “pregnancy is certainly full of ups and downs but motherhood is worth it!”

12. “You plan on exclusively breastfeeding right?”

This question is just as outrageous as someone saying, “Will you feed your child?” It’s a bizarre question. The way a mom wants to feed her newborn is completely up to her. Whether she chooses to breast feed or use a formula is her business and hers alone, and asking only adds to the immense amount of pressure and guilt women already feel when it comes to this topic of ‘breast is best”!

13. “When is your EDD?”

Oh, sorry, did I just spit my food out all over you, it was the shock. I assumed you knew that was none of your business.
This is absolutely no one’s business except who the mom-to-be thinks should know. And if you are going to ask this question, do not do it on social media – instagram, facebook, bla bla. This opens the door for any and everyone to inquire!!! And she may feel forcefully compelled to tell you simply because you asked.

14. “It’s too bad you have to go back to work right away.” Or, “It’s too bad you’re giving up your career to stay at home.”

No matter what your motive in asking, most women will answer defensively.
Every time people asked me if I was going back to work after my second baby was born, I said yes!!! I mean, of course! Babies are expensive! Who would give up a job in such an unsteady dwindling economy? Plus, above everything else, I love my job. I love working, and I sure as hell love being a lawyer – it gives me a sense of fulfilment doing what I do!!!

Well, I would assume the exact same reaction is probably true for a woman who plans to stop working after her baby is born. How could I leave my baby and pay / trust someone else to take care of my infant?

Why You Shouldn’t Say It: Deciding on the appropriate maternity leave time — and whether or not to commit to the role of stay-at-home parent — is a very personal choice that pregnant women give a lot of thought to. In other words, they’ve already made their decision and it was based on a list of factors that affect them personally, so your input on the matter is unhelpful and can even be hurtful. Women struggle a lot with the topic of career vs. family. Be supportive and don’t lecture.

Now whether you’re on the receiving end or the giving end of a cringe-worthy comment, it’s unpleasant for everyone involved! What’s the worst comment you’ve gotten as a pregnant woman? Which one irked you the most? Or what have you said to a pregnant woman that you maybe shouldn’t have lol.

Love & Light,

Mrs O.

P.S: It feels good to be back :)

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23 COMMENTS

  1. In most civilized countries there’s nothing wrong with asking about a due date especially if you want to know when to expect they’ll be out of the office, when you should send a gift, plan a visit, etc. it’s only in Nigeria where people think you’re being too prying (or that you’re a witch who wants to eat their child) with that question

    • hahaha I don’t think it’s a “country” thing, I think it’s more a personal thing! I’ve been in full time employment during both pregnancies and HR doesn’t ask for my EDD, they’ll only ask what period you’ll be away on maternity leave. that’s perhaps a less intrusive question than my actual “expected date of delivery”. Then again, like I said, it’s objective to each individual looool

    • @Curious, You’re very right. Over here, people will ask the sex, the due date and even ask to touch your bump. I’m about 17 weeks gone and I’ve been asked those questions at the library, mall, office etc. In Nigeria, you’ve got to be high on dog food to approach me with those questions 🤣

  2. I absolutely love your write ups and yeah this is exactly what expecting mothers face. I mean, you could say these awful things behind me but how good do you really think this would make me feel when you say it to my face?
    And then, the part where they ask if the baby isn’t here yet??
    Seriously, you think I’m not waiting for that too??
    You think I’m not checking every second for a freaking “show” already to successfully pass through this stage with my newborn?? *Especially for first time mums*. I agree with you jare. People should always taste their words before spilling it out to a pregnant woman because already she has a lot on her mind.
    Mothers rock abeeeeggg, e no easy!!

  3. I absolutely love your write ups and yeah this is exactly what expecting mothers face. I mean, you could say these awful things behind me but how good do you really think this would make me feel when you say it to my face?
    And then, the part where they ask if the baby isn’t here yet??
    Seriously, you think I’m not waiting for that too??
    You think I’m not checking every second for a freaking “show” already to successfully pass through this stage with my newborn?? *Especially for first time mums*. I agree with you jare. People should always taste their words before spilling it out to a pregnant woman because already she has a lot on her mind.
    Mothers rock abeeeeggg, e no easy!!
    Keep it up mama🙌🙌

  4. This is so witty!! Had such a good laugh. Some people truly don’t know they shouldn’t be saying these things, and that’s so unfortunate! Not even a mum yet, but I think y’all are super humans! Xx

    Kachee | KacheeTee.com

  5. Yipee, Congrats on the birth of you baby. Do write something about the difference you felt between the first and second time out, that’s something i’d really like to read.

    Your write up is so refreshing, and yes these questions are so annoying. The touching bit is just not right, though to be fair touching is not so common back home as compared to how much of it you get from random strangers outside the country. Lovely, lovely article. Thumbs up!!!

    • Thanks Dami :)

      Ahhh yess!!! I’ve been meaning to write on how I’m dealing with ALOOOTTT of things differently with baby number 2. You should subscribe tot he blog s you get updates when there’s a new post up…..we have some really exciting things coming up 😉 😉

      xx

  6. I heard alot. Someone told me “you have started looking ugly?’
    The one that annoys me the most is when I’m eating and someone comes to tell me, “You eat alot (that may have been my first meal of the day), your baby will be big.” So Annoying!
    I heard all sorts. Peoole can be annoying. They think they have to comment about everything.
    I think I heard the worst when my LO arrived. Sigh!
    Most times they think they are being helpful.

  7. experiencing the E.D.D question lately as well as the small bump one.Its quite annoying and very intrusive.What irks me the most however is those ladies who constantly questioning whether something i have worn isn’t too tight for the uterus and belly,bisch please , you aren’t in my skin to know whether its tight (which is never is btw) or not! Moreover my obgyn has never had a problem with it, so excuse me please! It takes a lot of self control to hold my tongue and reply calmly with a smile…lol

    • hahaha I got that a lot too! “is your dress not to tight, are your heels not too high” lol! fetus police all over the place lol

      Yup, smile and move on was what I did most times… lol! thanks for dropping by mama x

    • omg , people can be so mean :(

      sorry you had to deal with that…people reallyyyyy need to learn manners lol

      Your LO is worth any physical changes 😀 XX

  8. Lovely write-up.
    Next Pls write on things not to say to a new mom.
    It’s more annoying than what they say while pregnant sef.
    On a 2nd thot, some ppl just don’t know better. They just bliv everyone must be like them.
    I learnt alot from your write-up about “bragging about your baby”. It’s just sth you do unconsciously with pride. I had to consciously caution myself when talking with others so it doesn’t seem like bragging.
    I think the same applies too. Just learn the proper response to give (rude to rude questions, polite to polite questions) and know how to treat others in such.

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