Hell hath no fury like a pregnant woman dealing with a socially unaware human.
Summer is here, and pregnant women everywhere are shedding their winter coats, thus revealing those lovely growing bellies. If you’ve ever been a pregnant woman, you’ll understand that an exposed belly is like a giant invitation for unwanted comments and advice.
As someone who has been through four pregnancies, I do have quite a bit of experience in this department. In fact, all the comments below are not hypothetical. They were all actually said to me at least once during those four pregnancies. Yes, all.
So for that reason, I thought that I would compile a helpful list of things never to be said to a pregnant woman. By the way, I wrote this list during my last pregnancy, but feared sharing it would lead readers to accuse me of #20. Luckily time brings wisdom, right?
25 Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman
1. “You are MASSIVE ! Honestly… you’re as big as a house!”
Just ask yourself, “How many women do I know who would be pleased to be described as ‘MASSIVE’?” So, why then, would you say it to a pregnant woman?
2. “Have you thought about circumcision?”
You are talking about her unborn child’s genitalia. Do I actually have to explain to you why this is wrong?
3. “Do you plan on breastfeeding? You know what they say… ‘breast is best’!”
They are her breasts. What she does with them now and in the future is her business. Not yours.
4. “I had a horrible birth experience! Like, I thought I was going to die. It was terrible…”
I’m genuinely sorry that you had such a bad experience, but is sharing your story going to help her? Or simply scare her? Sadly, our society tends to focus more on the pain and fear of the birthing process, and less on the power and beauty of it.
5. “You’re so brave to be wearing a bikini! You do know that they make one piece maternity bathing suits?”
If she’s proud of her body and secure enough to wear a bikini, good on her. Tell her she looks beautiful, or keep your negative thoughts to yourself please.
6. “Do we need to call an Ambulance!? You look like you’re ready to deliver at any second!”
I can’t even tell you how many times I heard this. And, what made it worse was that when I answered, “No, I still have a few months to go.” they’d say #1. Or the dreaded, “My God! Do you have triplets in there!?”
7, “You shouldn’t lift that.”
Do you think that if a woman is old enough to conceive and carry a child, she may be old enough to know what she’s capable of lifting?
8. “A home-birth!? Do you have rocks in your head?!”
Yes. This was said to me. If a woman tells you about her birthing plan, and you were not in the room when the baby was conceived, hold your tongue. Or at least share your concern in a gentle manner.
9. “Oooh …looks like you might need coconut oil for those stretch marks! I applied it the second I found out I was pregnant. Look at me! Not one stretch mark!”
Does coconut oil work for black eyes?
10. “Your breasts are HUGE! Just wait ’till your milk comes in!”
Would you randomly comment on just any woman’s breasts? (If the answer is ‘yes’, you need to stop doing that too.)
11. “You probably shouldn’t be eating that. It’s very salty and you already appear to be retaining a lot of water.”
Are you her midwife or OB? No? Then just pass her the effing chips.
12. “Wow! Look at that plate! Looks like you really are eating for two!”
If she has a good appetite, good for her. Hold your comments and offer to carry her plate.
13. “You should really start planning for daycare now. It’s almost impossible to find good child care.”
While there may be some truth to this, we don’t need to cause panic. Trying to slow down and enjoy the early days with a little one is important.
14. “Ooooh…you’re still running? I don’t know if that’s good for the baby. You should be more concerned about the baby’s health and less about your own physical appearance.”
The answer to this is in the statement: “I don’t know if that’s good for the baby.” So, let’s just assume that she does, and good for her for taking care of herself mentally and physically.
15. “Have you looked into vaginal rejuvenation surgery? Your future sex life depends on it. Ain’t nobody want to be throwing a hot dog down a hallway, if you know what I’m saying.”
Her vagina. You’re talking about her VAGINA?!
16. “You seem really small. Like, you don’t even look pregnant! Are you sure the baby is growing properly?”
Is your goal here to fill her with panic? Every pregnant woman grows a little differently. Please don’t talk about her size.
17. “You will need an epidural. Trust me. The pain is unbearable.”
Are you “just wanting to be honest”? Then I suggest you say this instead: “It is painful, but you are strong and the birthing process is a powerful one. You know your body better than anyone, and you’ll know just what to do.” You’re welcome.
18. “You have quite a bit of acne—it must be a girl!”
The only thing you should say about her complexion is that it’s glowing.
19. “I think it’s a boy. You are carrying a ton of weight in your face. In my experience that is always an indication of a boy.”
You just told her she had a fat face. How would you feel if someone told you that you had a big fat face?!
20. “You seem very hormonal!”
No. Just, no.
21. “Those cravings are all just in your head.”
They aren’t. But if they were, that would be fine too. Just offer to buy it, make it or bake it, and then quietly watch her enjoy it.
22. “What’s your plan for losing all this baby weight? Are you going to sign up for some classes?”
Again, you’re commenting on her size. And again, that’s just wrong in any circumstance.
23. “Do you have your cloth diapers yet? Mother Earth shouldn’t suffer just to make life easier on you!”
I do believe we need to take care of Mother Earth, but pretty sure she never benefited from guilting a pregnant woman. In other words, maybe take this time to think about what YOU can do for Mother Earth.
24. “You look exhausted. You think you’re tired now? Just wait until the baby comes!”
Being told you look exhausted is like being told you look like crap. And yes, life with a newborn is tiring, but you won’t be saving her from sleep deprivation by preemptively describing it to her.
25. “You. Just. Need. To. Relax. This baby will come when he is good and ready.”
Does anyone actually feel relaxed when told to relax? Is it just me, or do people mostly lose their shit a little more when told to “relax”? You want to help her relax? Call and book her an appointment to get a massage. Send her flowers with a note attached that simply says, “You’re doing great!” or “You look stunning!” or “I’m here if you need help with anything.”
Pregnancy can be hard. We know that. And for whatever reason, people see pregnant women as fair game for comments and questions that we typically wouldn’t say or ask to anyone else. So if you hear someone providing their unsolicited advice, please feel free to pass this on. You may save a future pregnant lady from the hassle. And she’ll most definitely thank you for it. I know I would have.
What is the craziest thing someone said to you while you were pregnant? What would you add to this list?
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.