It seems like when you are pregnant, everyone says all sorts of crazy things to you, and your body is like public property! Across my two pregnancies, I’ve heard so many of these, and it never stops being uncomfortable!
So here is the list of 10 things never to say to a pregnant woman:
1. "Are you pregnant?" There is never, ever an appropriate time to ask someone if they are pregnant. Unless you can physically see a baby exiting from the woman, never, ever assume or ask if they are pregnant. If you get it wrong, there is no way to recover the conversation. If the woman is pregnant but isn’t ready to announce, it puts us in a super awkward position of choosing whether to lie, or announce our pregnancy sooner than we had planned.
2. "Gee you look huge, it must be twins!" Does everyone else have that one awkward older male relative that feels the need to make comments like this? Or is it just me? It never stops being awkward having people comment on your body like this. And believe me when I say: we know we are huge. And we would know if it were twins. It isn’t news to us, don’t say it!
3. "Who is the father?" This makes me cringe so much! Never ever ask this question. If you don’t know the answer, you don’t need to. If it’s a surprise or unexpected pregnancy, we don’t need you to comment on it. No one other than the mother, father and dr need to know the answer to this. We will tell you when we need to.
4. "Gee you look tiny!" Believe me, it doesn’t feel tiny! Again, this is another case of it feeling incredibly awkward to have anyone and everyone comment on your body. It’s still your body. Even if your bump is smaller, it doesn’t have any bearing on how you feel. And I even remember having some people tell me I looked huge and I looked tiny in the same day.
5. "I loved being pregnant!" This might be just me, but I had some really challenging pregnancies, so hearing someone say they loved being pregnant really set me off! Not everyone loves being pregnant. Take it from me, there is nothing to love about a pregnancy full of morning sickness, back and hip pain, exhaustion, or medical complications (except the precious baby at the end!)
6. "Was it planned?" This one isn’t anyone else’s business. Ever. Its a very personal question to ask a woman and not one that’s ever appropriate. Its like asking about someone’s sex life, you just don’t do it! If you are very close to the mum to be, she may choose to tell you whether or not it was planned. If not, just forget it and move on.
7. "My birth was terrible" (followed by the most graphic description of a horrific and traumatising birth). This is never what a pregnant woman needs to hear. We may want to hear only positive birth stories, or we may want to know about all the possible complications and how to deal with them or prevent them. But we never need to hear about horrifying births from other people. For a first time mum, the thought of giving birth can be very anxiety inducing, and we don’t need our heads filled with awful stories.
8. "You really shouldn’t eat/drink/do that…" Unless we are taking drugs, getting drunk or dropping enormous weights on our bellies, we don’t need anyone else’s input. The guidelines are forever changing, and women need to make decisions about what to eat, drink and do during pregnancy in consultation with their dr. I had comments that I shouldn’t be eating cheese, even though the cheese was perfectly safe for pregnancy. I know others who continued to work out throughout pregnancy, and had consulted with their dr. It’s up to us and our drs to decide what’s best.
9. "You look tired!" We know! Pregnancy is exhausting, and it can be impossible to sleep while pregnant. We know we look tired because we feel tired! And it is a level of exhaustion that compares to nothing else. Instead you could try telling us that we look glowing, or make another kind comment.
10. "Can I give you some advice?" Nope. You cannot give any advice. Pregnant women do not need unsolicited advice. If we care about your opinion we will ask you. So much of early parenting is about learning your own parenting style and getting to know your own individual baby, unsolicited advice isn’t helpful.
Never ever touch a pregnant woman’s belly!
This one goes without saying, but I’ve had so many women tell me that they have had everyone from strangers, to relatives, to colleagues touch their stomach. Even while pregnant, a woman does not want to be touched by strangers. Don’t touch her belly. Even if you are close to the mums to be, always ask first and allow the mum-to-be to say no.
What other crazy things have you had people say to you while pregnant?