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A User's Guide to Talking to A Pregnant Lady

Photograph by Twenty20

There are a lot of surprising things that pop up (and out) during pregnancy that no one ever tells you about. Overly perky nipples, belly buttons and pimples, just to name a few.

But one particular issue that surprised me was people's apparent feeling of freedom when voicing their observations about my appearance and opinions on anything pregnancy related. It's like some people see a belly and a little bell goes off in their head like "Ding! Ding! Ding! This lady's fair game! I should tell her what I think about everything!"

So as a public service, I've created a user's guide to talking to pregnant women. Feel free to pass this on to anyone whom you feel it could benefit—basically, everyone.

DON'T

Guess how far along she is. You will undoubtedly guess too far only reminding her that she still has many weeks left with this baby on the inside. You will also leave her feeling HUGE! (Pregnant woman's mind: "OMG! They thought I was 8 months?! I'm only 6.5! I'm a blimp!")

INSTEAD...

Ask when she's due. Make no comment or strong facial expressions when she answers. Only give a slight smile and comment on how nice the weather is that time of year.

RELATED: All These Studies for Pregnant Women Can Just Shove It!

DON'T

Touch her belly without asking. Think about it. In what other situation is reaching out and touching another human being's stomach considered acceptable? Preggos already feel like their bodies are not completely their own. Placing your hand on her belly just might make her feel like her body is becoming public property.

INSTEAD...

Wait for a sign from her. If she's rubbing her own belly and commenting that the baby is kicking up a storm she very likely may be inviting a touch from someone else.

DON'T

Blab about your 46-hour labor, your sister's miscarriage or how your best friend's cousin had third-degree tearing. An expectant mother needs a pregnancy horror story like she needs a four-hour car ride with no bathroom stops. Trust me. Shut it.

INSTEAD...

Listen. Listen to how things are going for her. Listen to her concerns, complications and complaints and only speak if you have an encouraging word or a story with a happy ending.

DON'T

Say that she doesn't even look pregnant. This may seem like a compliment to the bumpless commoner, but it actually has the opposite effect on a pregnant woman. Most mamas start feeling bloated right away and are unable to button their regular jeans by the end of the first trimester. Trust me, they feel pregnant. By saying they don't look it you might as well just call her "hefty" or God forbid, "plump."

INSTEAD...

If you know she's expecting, comment on how cute her little bump is. Key words being "cute," "little" and "bump."

Trust me, she's very aware and likely self-conscious about all of her symptoms.

DON'T

Say a single negative word about a couple's name choice for their child. If they're brave enough to share it with the masses prior to the actual birth of the child, they're not actually seeking your opinion. You may hate it. You may think of a million unflattering nicknames just waiting to be used. It might even be the name of an ex or that awful kid that used to pick on you in junior high. But guess what? NO ONE CARES.

INSTEAD...

Say, and I quote, "What a perfect name!" The End.

RELATED: 15 Things Moms Wish They Had Known Prior to Baby

DON'T

Comment on your gender guess based on the mother's appearance. It's a shame I have to even mention this, but saying, "You're definitely having a girl! Girls just steal the mother's beauty!" is for sure just calling the woman ugly.

INSTEAD...

Ask her if she knows the gender or has a guess herself. Then comment on why that particular gender is amazing and will fit into their family perfectly.

DON'T

Comment on her swollen feet, pregnancy waddle or the fact that she needs a nap to survive even the most mundane task or day. Trust me, she's very aware and likely self-conscious about all of her symptoms. Pointing them out will, at best, make her sad or, at worst, could result in you being physically assaulted by a hormonally charged mom-to-be.

INSTEAD...

Tell her to go lay down. Offer to bring dinner home while she puts her feet up. Suggesting that she rest before she even mentions being tired will make you her hero.

Hanging with a pregnant mama can be amazing and scary all at once, but follow this simple guide and everyone's chance of surviving and thriving will likely increase exponentially. You may feel like you have to walk on eggshells at times, but cut her a break. After all, she's growing a human. She deserves it.

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