I Can’t Believe You Asked That? What Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

Congratulations! You’re having a baby! Your emotions are all over the place—from pure joy, to fear about the responsibilities you’re facing (especially if this is your first). Your family and friends are thrilled, too. Now that you’re pregnant, here come the stories and advice. Unfortunately, some well-meaning folks enjoy nothing more than sharing their personal trauma stories of childbirth and what their pregnancy was like. It seems the worse, or more drama-filled the story, the more likely they are to share it with you. That, coupled with the personal questions that come your way, make the long-ago custom of retreating from society during pregnancy sound like something worth considering. What are some questions or comments you’d just as soon not be asked, or topics you really don’t want to discuss?

You sure do look pregnant. Are you having twins? Or, the opposite—you don’t look pregnant. Are you eating enough? The less said about weight, the better during and after pregnancy. The social pressure to gain the right amount and then lose it as quickly as possible puts unhealthy pressure on a woman at a time when her health is so closely aligned with her baby, and it sets unrealistic expectations.

Were you trying? Really, is that anyone’s business? Best to assume that was uttered without thinking in a moment of surprise. The question deserves no response.

Can I touch your belly? This one is baffling. In this age of personal space, why does everyone, including strangers, think it’s okay to put their hands on a pregnant belly? The general answer is “No.”

Say goodbye to sleep and any time to yourself. Wow, thanks for that positive snapshot of motherhood! Granted, getting your routine can take a while, but you will find a schedule and plan that works for your family.

Do you know what you’re having? Yes, it’s a baby. Okay, sarcasm aside, with the popularity of reveal parties, some parents really want to be surprised. The practicality of knowing the gender aside, there’s such anticipation, and whoever is in the delivery room gets to find out first.

Are you planning to have more children? Unless the person is a census taker, it’s really not relevant.

Then there are the comments and advice that begin with “You should . . . (do this, take that, get rid of pets, get a pet (it’ll be good for the baby to grow up with an animal buddy), baby proof, bottle-feed, breastfeed, use cloth diapers, use disposable diapers,” and so on and on). Exercise patience, they’re trying to help. Everyone who ever gave birth has their own opinion on how to care for a baby and what a new parent should and should not do.

What’s the best response to pregnancy news? “Congratulations! Happy for you! You’ll be a great parent! Let’s have a baby shower!”

Join the expectant mom in these months of anticipation with a positive outlook for the fun, joy, and memories of motherhood.