This is from a MSN writer, who was a twice-pregnant woman, and considers herself an expert on pregnancy dialogue etiquette. So if you know someone who is, or has been, or may one day be pregnant, or if there’s a chance you may ever encounter someone who’s pregnant, then you’ll want to avoid making any and all of these remarks.
1. “It looks like you’ve gained about 40 or 50 pounds, right?”
Women never want to discuss their weight. Why on earth would a pregnant woman (who is probably 40 pounds more than usual) want to talk about hers? It’s already terrible that we have to go to the doctor’s office every few weeks and step on that cold, unforgiving scale. We certainly don’t want to make the information public knowledge.
2. “Can I touch your belly? It’s huge!”
Would you want me to caress your belly? I didn’t think so. I imagine that there is some scientific reason why people think it’s OK to touch a woman’s pregnant belly — maybe evolutionarily it helped homo sapiens survive? Doubtful, I know, but it is a strange phenomenon that people — who would never touch an un-pregnant belly — feel perfectly comfortable rubbing a pregnant one.
3. “My friend had the worst thing happen during her pregnancy… “
A pregnant woman is already anxious about the impending birth of her unborn child — why add to the anxiety? The last thing a pregnant woman wants to talk about is how your friend/sister/cousin had morning sickness for nine months and then had an emergency C-section and almost died.
4. “Sabrina? I knew a girl in high school named Sabrina, and she was a total slut.”
Naming a baby is a very personal endeavor, and people, on the whole, like to keep their name choices private. It’s hard to keep a poker face when you hate the name someone is thinking about for her child, so you’re much safer not asking.
5. “Wow — twins? Did you do IVF?”
It’s none of your business! Going through IVF or any other fertility treatment is an incredibly taxing experience, both mentally and physically. And it’s also very private.
6. “Your belly is so small — is the baby healthy?”
You may think it’s a compliment to say how small a pregnant woman looks, but it’s not; I know from experience. For both my babies, I didn’t “pop” until I was about seven months pregnant. I was often asked, “How far along are you?” They’d always tell me that I looked so small and ask if the baby was measuring OK. So unless you’re an OB, comments like these should be kept entirely to yourself.
7. “You’re definitely having a girl — I can tell from behind.”
All pregnant women know the myth that if you’re having a boy, then you carry in the front, and if you’re having a girl, then you carry in the tush. It’s ridiculous. I had two girls, and I carried both like basketballs stuffed up my shirt. So if you tell a pregnant woman that you think she’s having girl, then you’re basically telling her that her ass looks fat. We get the subtext!
8. “You really shouldn’t be lifting those bags in your condition.”
Pregnant women are not the delicate flowers some people seem to think they are. Now, I’m not advocating for pregnant woman to bench press 250 pounds, but most women know what their bodies are capable of doing. So if a pregnant woman is unloading groceries, then don’t tell her she shouldn’t be doing it.
9. “My heartburn was so much worse than your heartburn.”
Sometimes, pregnant women just want to tell you how horrible they feel — without you launching into how you felt worse during your own pregnancy. It’s not a contest.
10. “You seem really hormonal right now.”
A pregnant woman is hormonal — that’s how they make the babies! But being reminded of the hormonal rages is just offensive. And I’m not making generalizations (yes, I am), but husbands are often the biggest offenders in this category. That may seem like a lot to remember, so here are a few things you can say: “Congratulations!” “What great news!” “I’m so happy for you!” Or just say what every pregnant woman really wants to hear: “You look fantastic!” Little white lies never hurt anyone.