Isn’t being pregnant fun? Not only do you get to grow a brand new human inside you, but you also become a target for some really stupid people. People who seem to have missed the memo on things you should never say to a pregnant woman. Actually, people who probably shouldn’t be allowed contact with others. Ever.
As if throwing up constantly for months on end isn’t enough of a punishment. No. You get the added joy of trying to stop yourself throwing your stapler at your co-worker.*
Telling someone who’s struggling into work every day with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, that you didn’t even feel nauseous during your pregnancies, is top of my list of things you should never say to a pregnant woman.
*Helen Galbraith, if you’re reading this, I had to stop myself from doing this on at least 4 occasions. Every. Single. Day.
For 6 bloody months.
Never say to a pregnant woman
There are things you should never say to a pregnant woman. Ever. Under no circumstance. Whether they’re your best mate or a total stranger.
Are you sure you aren’t having twins?
I can 100% assure you, that if the woman has had any kind of pregnancy scan, she is 100% sure it isn’t twins. So unless someone tells you they are expecting multiples, don’t say a word. All you’ll do is make the poor woman feel like a heifer. Or make her feel very angry. Neither of which are good.
Haven’t you had that baby yet?
Why? Why would anybody ask this? Clearly, if the woman is visibly pregnant, she hasn’t had her baby. It’s not even slightly funny the first time we get asked this. By the third time, expect a sarcastic comment.
Ask any more than three times at your own peril.
Genuinely. You don’t want to piss off a pregnant woman in her final stages of pregnancy.
Oh, and don’t bother texting constantly ‘for updates’ either. Unless you want to end up blocked.
Oh wow! You’re huge!
Unless you’ve got a death wish, or enjoy making people cry, this is definitely something you should never say to a pregnant woman. Would you go up to a fat person and say that? It’s just bloody rude. And would probably result in some choice words being thrown at you if you tried it. (At the very least!)
Pregnancy is a wonderful time, but not every woman is comfortable with how ‘big’ she gets during it. Unless you know the pregnant woman really well, you won’t know if she’s ever struggled with an eating disorder in the past. If she has, it’s more likely that she’s already concerned about her rapidly changing body shape. Pregnancy and/or unhelpful comments like this can trigger a woman suffering with, or has suffered from, eating disorders.
Actually, even if you do know the woman really well, just keep your mouth shut.
Your bump is really tiny
Just as some people love to tell pregnant women they’re huge, others like to say that your bump is tiny.
This isn’t a helpful comment at all. There is absolutely no need whatsoever to comment on a bump size. Every baby is different. Every position they lay in is different. And guess what? Every woman is different too. There is no ‘standard’ bump size. Each pregnancy and mother are unique, as is the bump size. Tall women carry their babies very differently to short women. Some women don’t even look pregnant from behind, whereas others (myself included) look like they’ve been stretched widthways as well as outwards. It’s all normal.
Although if this is a genuine worry for you, speak to your midwife.
How much weight have you put on?
This isn’t even a question that should be asked of anybody, let alone a pregnant woman! They are still women, and still have feelings. Just because they have a baby on board doesn’t automatically make them game for every inappropriate question you can think of! Some women put on loads, some women lose a bit. Whatever. As long as they are healthy it’s none of your business.
Basically. Never ever comment on a woman’s weight. And absolutely never comment on a hormonal, emotional woman’s weight.
She might try to eat you.
Or at least throw her cutlery at you.
I’m getting strong feelings that you’re having a boy/girl
So. Apparently, being around a pregnant woman suddenly gives people psychic abilities. Who knew? Let’s face it, your new pal Mystic Meg has a 50/50 chance of guessing correctly anyway. Even if you know what flavour baby you’re having, people will still try to guess. Or even tell you they think the scan was wrong.
Those psychic abilities are more powerful than modern technology you know 🙄
Can I touch your belly?
OK. This one is fine if you know the person who you’re asking. But if you’re just going to walk up to the next pregnant woman you see and ask this, don’t.
It’s so inappropriate. How would you feel if someone walked up to you and asked if they could feel your arms or your legs? Creeped out probably. Possibly a bit affronted. Definitely awkward. And that is exactly how a pregnant woman feels when a stranger asks this question.
So unless you know the Mum-to-be, never say to a pregnant woman “can I touch your belly?”
General labour horror stories
Never say to a pregnant woman that labour is the worst thing they’ll ever experience. Honestly, it goes without saying. Women KNOW it’s going to bloody hurt. There’s enough stuff out there telling women this. Women definitely don’t need to hear relentless horror stories in the weeks leading up to their baby’s birth.
What hurts more? Labour pains or getting kicked in the nuts?
Never say this to a pregnant woman. ESPECIALLY if she’s already in labour. There is a 99% chance you’re about to have your nuts booted.
Nobody will ever know the ‘true’ answer to this. But as a woman, who’s had 4 natural births, I can tell you this : getting kicked in the nuts might well be painful, but it is not even on the same scale of pain as what a woman goes through during labour. And as for the birth itself? Imagine this. You have to go through hours and hours of intense pain, gradually pulling your jap’s eye apart. Then you then have to push a grapefruit out from that little hole. Can you imagine that pain? It’s nowhere near the pain a woman feels when her baby’s crowning.
So just shush. And never ask that question. Debate it with your mates down the pub by all means. Just don’t ask a woman.
Lastly, and most importantly:
Babies move less towards the end of pregnancy
I cannot reiterate this enough : NO. THEY. DON’T.
Never say to a pregnant woman that babies run out of room towards the end of pregnancy and their movements slow down. It is utter bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit. This kind of sentence is the most dangerous thing you can say to a pregnant woman.
Babies move around plenty at the end of pregnancy – and even during labour itself.
It is NOT normal for a baby’s movements to reduce at any stage of pregnancy.
Reduced movements need to be checked out by a midwife immediately. If you are pregnant and notice a reduction in movements, call your midwife straight away. You aren’t wasting their time.
If your friend is pregnant and says their baby’s movements have reduced, encourage them to call their midwife.
Reduced movements are the biggest indicator of fetal distress and need to be checked out urgently.
There is a fantastic website called Kicks Count, which will tell you all about baby’s movements throughout pregnancy, and gives great advice about what to do if you’re worried.
What should you say then?
Basically, anything that’s kind, helpful, sympathetic and supportive. Just be there for support through everything. Whether they’re crying happy, sad, angry, confused or scared tears. Or laughing hysterically over nothing. And everything else in between.
And you should be golden.