8 Things NOT to Say to a Pregnant Person - Baby Chick
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8 Things NOT to Say to a Pregnant Person

We are addressing 8 common comments that people say to pregnant people that are NOT helpful. Here's what NOT to say to a pregnant person.

Published April 18, 2016

by Quinn Kelly

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

If you’ve been pregnant, then you’ve probably been there — a well-meaning person decides to comment on your pregnancy but unintentionally insults you in the process. You know they aren’t trying to do so, but you can’t help but feel defensive anyway. And in addition to hurting your feelings, many of these comments are challenging to respond to. Statements like, “You do pregnancy very well,” or “You are simply glowing” are always appropriate! So say them as much as you like without fear. But today, I want to address 8 comments that people say to pregnant people that are NOT helpful. And I ask that you share this article if you’ve ever received any of them. Hopefully, we can kindly spread some pregnancy etiquette and ensure we aren’t doing this to anyone ourselves!

Do NOT Say These 8 Things to a Pregnant Person

1. Wow, when are you due? Are you near your due date?

There is nothing wrong with asking a pregnant person when their baby is due, especially if you congratulate them and just seek information. However, there are contexts when the question does seem rude. If you have just commented on how big their belly is and asked, “When are you due?” This is more insulting. Or if you put a word like “Wow” or “Yikes” with the comment, it is more insulting. I would know. I received this about once a day during the last two months of my pregnancies. 😉 Good times.

A better commentYou look beautiful. When are you due?

Pregnant mom in background with quotes in the foreground of things to not say and say to someone when they are pregnant.

2. Are there twins in there?

I can’t think of a context where this comment is appropriate, but we all know people who’ve received it! Because if you know the person is having twins, you wouldn’t be asking. And if they are having twins, they will let you know. So, the only context where this is being asked is when you imply a pregnant girl looks huge. And in case you’re wondering, this is never helpful to share. If she’s huge, she knows it. Again. I’m saying this from personal experience. So, if you only want to comment on the size of her belly, it’s better not to comment. Feel free to comment on those things if you think she looks pretty or is glowing!

A better comment: Pregnancy looks good on you.

3. Your belly is so tiny! Is there really a baby in there?

A pregnant woman never minds hearing her body looks thin, but her belly is different. While you may feel you are complimenting her, you may unintentionally insult her by making her wonder why her belly is so small. She may be having insecurities herself, so you don’t want to add to that. 

A better comment: You carry your baby so well. I love your bump!

Pregnant mom on the right side with quotes on the left side of things to not say and say to someone when they are pregnant.

4. You don’t know what you’re having, but they tell you they hope it’s a …

If they ask you, there is nothing wrong with telling someone you are close to why you would love them to have a girl or a boy. But that first part is key…if they are asking you. They may not want to hear why you think they need a boy if they are not asking you. Maybe you are the fourth person that day who has said to them, “I hope you have a boy!” This may make them feel like they are disappointing people if they don’t deliver (literally) the gender of preference. So, hold your gender preference to yourself unless you are being asked.

A better comment: I can’t wait to find out what you are having!

5. Oh, another boy, I’m sorry. Are you going to keep trying for a girl? (Or this comment in reverse.)

As a mother of three boys and pregnant with my fourth, this is the comment I hear the most, and it never sits well for many reasons. First of all, it is usually a person I do not know showing disappointment in my own life experience, which I am not expressing disappointment in. And it assumes that I have chosen to have children based on gender, which is a complete falsehood. Third, it is insulting to my other children if they are standing with me. All in all, I can’t think of a productive reason to say this. UNLESS I have just shared with you that I am gravely disappointed. Then, a comment stating, “Maybe you will have a girl next time,” can be a kind thing to say.

A better comment: Congratulations on your new baby!

Pregnant woman on the left side of the screen and a quote on the right side.

6. Oh, you’re having another?

This statement is not helpful because it seems to imply judgment. It’s not wrong to say, “I didn’t realize you were pregnant!” But saying it in the above manner gives the impression that you don’t think that person should have another child, which isn’t helpful for a pregnant person to hear. Nor is it your business.

A better comment: “Congrats! I didn’t realize you were having another baby!”

7. You’re getting induced? Are you using a midwife? Are you sure that’s a good decision?

Again, it is okay for every woman to have her preference for how she wants to go about her pregnancy. And she must be informed of the decisions she makes. However, it is her decision unless she asks you for your opinion. There is nothing wrong with asking a woman how she has come to make her personal birth choice, but imposing your thoughts is likely not appropriate.

A better comment: “Awesome. What made your doctor decide to induce?” Or “How did you go about choosing to use a midwife?”

8. Oh, you’re having a C-section. I hope you don’t have an experience like mine.

It is never a good time to share your negative birth stories with a pregnant mother. Even though learning is useful, it can add panic and fear that the expectant mom has no choice but to face. Tips on handling delivery well or things that worked well for you are helpful. You can even share things like, “I have learned that it is important to advocate for yourself if you need something.” But keep your scary experiences to yourself (unless they specifically ask you), or share with someone not nearing delivery. You want to ease pregnant women’s worries, not add to them.

A better comment: I know you will be in good hands that day!

If I have missed anything important, please let us know!

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Quinn Kelly Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
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Quinn is a mother of four, licensed marriage and family therapist, host of the “Renew You” Podcast, and author of “Raising Boys: A Christian Parenting Book.” Throughout the last decade,… Read more

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