Pregnancy is a time when you will receive well wishes and nice remarks from those around you. It’s also a time when you’ll be on the receiving end of some rather unflattering, frustrating and darn right infuriating comments. Here’s our pick of what not to say to a pregnant woman.
What not to say to a pregnant woman #1: “Wow! You still have a way to go!”
We know it’s just basic arithmetic, but when there’s a foot jammed in mum-to-bes ribcage and she hasn’t slept a wink for back pain, she probably doesn’t want to be reminded how far she is from the finish line.
What not to say to a pregnant woman #2: “You are going for a natural birth, RIGHT?”
Whether she chooses to channel the likes of Jessica Alba and Angelina Jolie and opt for a hypnobirth or decides to have an elective C-section, a mum-to-be’s birth plan is completely her business, so keep your comments to yourself. And remember, very few things rile a pregnant lady more than eyebrow raising in relation to her birth plan.
What not to say to a pregnant woman #3: “Are you sure there’s only one in there?”
Fact: This is tantamount to saying she looks fat so don’t be surprised if she doesn’t respond warmly. Admittedly, some women’s tummies are large during pregnancy, while others stay teeny-tiny, but speculating about whether a multiple is in the post will not win you any favours with the majority of pregnant women. Besides, thanks to modern medicine, multiple births are very rarely a surprise, so the chances are if she’s carrying twins, she knows about it.
What not to say to a pregnant woman #4: “Are you gaining enough weight?”
Just as it’s tactless to comment on excess pregnancy pounds, it’s equally infuriating for mum-to-bes when you draw attention to their smaller bumps. You might think you’re paying a compliment when you say, ‘You’re so small’, but you may only be fueling her fears about the growth and size of her baby. If you want to flatter her, simply tell her she looks great.
What not to say to a pregnant woman #5: “Can I touch your bump?”
When a women’s tummy becomes big and round with pregnancy she may as well hang a sign saying ‘Free Touches’, because that bump suddenly gets a whole lot of physical attention. However, lunging in for a belly rub, whether you’ve asked or not, puts her in an awkward position, especially if she isn’t fond of fondles. If her little one is kicking and she wants you to feel it, she’ll invite you to have a rub, otherwise, it’s best not to ask.
What not to say to a pregnant woman #6: “It’s about time!”
Whether she has faced fertility issues or purposely decided to put pregnancy on hold in favour of her career, time with her husband or travelling the globe, it’s not cool to draw attention to it. Remarks like, ‘I never thought this day would come,’ or ‘You took such a long time to get started,’ are likely to cause embarrassment on both sides.
What not to say to a pregnant woman #7: “You can’t eat/drink that”
We know you have the best intentions when you warn her off that cup of coffee, or tuna fish salad, but it’s never a good idea to tell a pregnant woman what she can and can’t eat. The food list is one of the first things her doctor will have gone over with her, so the likelihood is she knows exactly what she is putting into her body. Besides, for all you know, that coffee could be decaf and the tuna salad might be her once a week treat (so don’t assume she’s OD’ing on mercury).
What not to say to a pregnant woman #8: “You are never going to sleep again. Ever!”
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that babies and sleepless nights go hand in hand. However, you don’t need to remind mum-to-bes how exhausting the next phase in their life is going to be. Anyway, the chances are they’ve spent the last few months waking five times a night for toilet breaks, so they’re already in training.
What not to say to a pregnant woman #9: “Was your pregnancy planned?”
If she’s telling you she’s expecting, it’s because she wants you to know and be happy for her. What she doesn’t want is to be cross-examined about whether she forgot to the take the Pill or conversely, has been dutifully taking her temperature and using an ovulation kit on a daily basis. So do her a favour and just say, ‘Congrats!’
What not to say to a pregnant woman #10: “I did X, Y and Z in my pregnancy, you should try it…”
Okay, you might have run a marathon in your third trimester and then gone on to give birth without an epidural, but unless she’s asking you to share your experience and recommendations, don’t give unsolicited advice.