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 properly.
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 been the recipient of any of them. Hopefully, we can kindly spread some pregnancy etiquette and make sure we aren’t doing this to anyone ourselves!
1. Wow, when are you due? Are you near your due date?
There is nothing wrong with asking a pregnant person when they are 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 then ask, “When are you due?” This is more insulting. Or if you put a word like “Wow” or “Yikes” with the comment, this makes it more insulting. I would know. I received this about once a day the last two months of my pregnancies. 😉 Good times.
A better comment: You look beautiful. When are you due?
2. Are there twins in there?
I just can’t think of a context in which this comment is ever 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 are implying 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 the only thing you want to comment on is the size of her belly, it’s better not to comment. If you think she looks pretty or is glowing, feel free to comment on those things!
A better comment: Pregnancy looks good on you.
3. Your belly is so tiny! Is there really a baby in there?
A pregnant girl never minds hearing her body looks thin, but her belly is a different thing. While you may feel you are complimenting her, you may unintentionally be insulting 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!
4. You don’t know what you’re having, but they tell you they hope it’s a …
There is nothing wrong with telling someone you are close to why you would love them to have a girl or a boy IF they are asking you. But that second part is key…if they are asking you. If they are not asking you, they may not want to hear why you think they need a boy. Maybe you are the fourth person that day that 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 who is pregnant with my fourth, this is the comment I hear the most, and it never sits well for so 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 is assuming 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 just 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. Read here for my article titled No, I’m Not Trying for a Girl!
A better comment: Congratulations on your new baby!
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 you don’t think that person should have another child, and that just isn’t a helpful thing 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? You’re 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 own pregnancy. And she must be informed of the decisions she makes. However, unless she is asking you about your opinion, it is really her decision to make. 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.
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 pregnant mom has no choice but to face. Tips on how to handle 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 are specifically asking you) or share with someone who is not nearing delivery. You want to ease a pregnant person’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. For more, listen to our podcast episode HERE, where we talk more about things NOT to say to a pregnant person!