What Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

pregnant-woman-with-flower-1200We all know that pregnant mamas are hormonal and uncomfortable. (We all do know that right? If this is news to you, please make a mental note.) So why is it that people have a tendency to just blurt out whatever insensitive thought crosses their mind when they are around pregnant women? Most of us have been taught to THINK before speaking since we were young, but it seems that this rule goes out the window as soon as a pregnant belly is involved.

Friends, let’s be a little more careful about what we say around those who are carrying precious cargo. Perhaps you made you comments like this innocently in the past, but in the future please be aware that these phrases have the ability to make even the sweetest mama turn into a raging bear in two seconds flat.

1. How much weight have you gained?

Honestly, this is number one and SHOULD GO WITHOUT SAYING, yet, I have personally been asked this question on a couple different occasions. Guys. Seriously. Unless you are one of my care providers, you should not be privy to this information. Have I ever asked you how much weight you’ve gained in a particular time frame? NO. Why? Because it’s rude, and frankly, none of my business. It’s not yours either, whether I am pregnant or not. If my weight gain was a problem, that would be between me and my doctor. So stop asking.

2. Are you sure it’s not twins?

Yes, I get it. I have a huge tummy. Why? BECAUSE THERE IS A PERSON THE SIZE OF A PINEAPPLE IN THERE. And a ton of amniotic fluid. And excess blood. And a whole mess of other medical stuff. Fun fact: At 35 weeks, my uterus is 1,000 times its original size. So OF COURSE I look pregnant. And no, it’s not twins. If it was, 1) I would have told you and 2) my doctor would have caught that on one of the many ultrasounds throughout this pregnancy. But thanks for asking. It makes me feel like I’m twice the size I actually am. Cool.

3. You look like you’re ready to pop! There’s no way you are going to make it to [insert due date here].

I was just 29 weeks pregnant when someone made this comment. I was nowhere NEAR about to pop, but thanks for this very considerate vote of confidence. Once again, I now feel huge.

4. Any day now, huh?

This comment was made by an acquaintance at 34 weeks. And it dawned on me: Saying this to a woman with 6 weeks left of pregnancy is like saying, “You’re almost there!” to someone on mile 20 of a marathon. For those of you who have never ran a marathon, please allow me to explain: At mile 20, yes, you are mostly finished the race. There are only 6.2 miles left. BUT THE HARDEST PART IS COMING. Mile 20 is when most runners hit “the wall,” or the point of the race when your body wants to quit and your mind has to take over. The race becomes mental and HARD because all of your muscles are exhausted. This is basically what the last month of pregnancy is like. So don’t tell me my daughter’s birth is “any day now.” Because I know that these days are only getting harder. I am NOT “almost there.”

5. Get your sleep now!

Ha! While this comment is much less offensive than most others, it’s just annoying. You can assume that a woman in her final trimester is NOT sleeping already between constantly getting up to pee during the night and just generally being uncomfortable. Waking up in the middle of the night in a considerable amount of pain is normal for us, and there is little that we can do about it (I’m trying NOT to pop Tylenol like it’s candy, but trust me that it is tempting.) We KNOW that we’re not going to sleep when the baby comes, but at LEAST we will have a baby then so we’ll have a good reason to be up at night! Right now, our lack of sleep seems pointless, and it does not help us to be reminded of that fact.

6. Any comment about a pregnant woman’s body

Unless you are saying something like, “You look great!” or “Pregnancy agrees with you,” just STOP COMMENTING about pregnant women’s bodies. Whether you think a pregnant woman looks big or small, DON’T SAY ANYTHING. Women are different; pregnancies are different, and we all carry our babies differently. Babies can be in different positions in the womb, and it affects how we look on the outside. And of course, babies are all born different sizes themselves. Don’t ask a tiny pregnant woman if her baby is big enough. Don’t ask a woman with a watermelon-sized belly if she is afraid of giving birth to a 10-pounder. Just stop all the body talk. Here is the rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t say it to a woman who is not pregnant, don’t say it to a woman who is.

Finally, a real life example of what not to do:

Co-worker: Are you tipping over yet?

Me: *Gives questioning look*

Co-worker: At first I saw you from behind, but when I see you from the side, WHOOOOA!

Me: Uh, yeah. Okay. *Runs away*


Photo by Paul Lin on Unsplash

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