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,
P.S: It feels good to be back 🙂