Month: April 2013

9 Things to Say and Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

Alanna 22 weeks

I’m happy to tell you I’m five months pregnant with our first child! Our little boy is due around August 12th. Since I learned I was prego on December 10th, people have said kind and gracious things to me. Others have said things that if I’ve ever said them or anything else offensive to pregnant women out of ignorance, I’m going on record here to apologize and state I’ll never say them ever again, God willing. It’s been made painfully aware to me how folks lose all sense of boundaries with a pregnant woman. People mean well, and they’re not saying these things out of malice or to bother me enough to include them in a blog post. I hope this list makes you smile (and even giggle), and I also hope it will help make you aware of what to say and not to say the next time you’re talking to an expectant mother. Enjoy!

DON’T SAY

1. “Are you sure you’re not six or seven months? You look big today.” I was asked this at 21 weeks, more like five months. Yes, I’m sure.
2. “Are you sure it’s not twins? One might be hiding behind the other.” So, are you saying I’m so big there must be two babies in my belly?
3. “Was it planned?” Yes, he was “planned,” but this question irritates me. Babies are a gift from God whether or not they were intended by the child’s parents, and it’s such a nosy question. Are you asking me if I had unprotected sex with my husband on purpose? I think that’s none of your business.
4. “Is it your husband’s?” I was asked this with my husband standing right next to me. There are no words for this one, except, yes, the baby boy was sired by my husband. Thanks for asking.
5. “You’re not allowed to drink coffee.” Um, thanks, but actually, I am “allowed” to drink coffee. According to What to Expect When You’re Expecting, the most helpful and at the same time frightening book on pregnancy out there, on page 69:
“Most evidence suggests that drinking up to approximately 200 mg of caffeine a day is safe during pregnancy. Depending on how you take your coffee (black or with lots of milk), that could mean limiting yourself to about two cups (give or take) a day. Which means you’re good to go (and fuel your get-up-and-go) if you’re a light or moderate coffee drinker.”
 
6. “You might change your mind about his name after he’s born.” My husband and I have had our boy’s name picked out for years. We use it when we talk to him through my stomach (yes, we do that). You may know people who had this experience, which is great for them, but I still don’t understand why you’d say that to me? Why not say what a nice name and move on?
7. “Wouldn’t it be great if you had him on your birthday?” No, it wouldn’t. My birthday is about three weeks after my baby’s due date. That would make me 43 weeks (10-11 months) pregnant.
8. “You’re going to get carpel tunnel. Wow, I didn’t know you were a doctor! And that every single pregnant woman gets carpel tunnel! Again, just because you or someone you know had that experience doesn’t mean I will. Please don’t speak that over me (along with number seven). I already have carpel tunnel, it started 11 years ago and I’ve since made lifestyle and ergonomic changes that keep the pain away.
9. “You’re not allowed to dye your hair.” Please people, unless you’re my doctor (which you’re not), don’t tell me what I’m allowed and not allowed to do! No one has researched or freaked out about this stuff more than me. I am “allowed” and I did (gasp!). From What to Expect When You’re Expecting, page 144-145:
“Even though no evidence suggests the small amount of chemicals absorbed through the skin during hair coloring is harmful when you’re expecting, some experts still advise waiting out the first trimester before heading back to the salon for retouching. Others maintain that it’s safe to dye throughout pregnancy.”
 
I waited a few weeks into my second trimester to be on the safe side and also because I didn’t feel well enough the first trimester to make a trip to the salon (smells are also magnified during the first trimester and I handled this much better during the second).

DO SAY

1. “You look great.”
 
2. “You look beautiful.”
 
3. “You look lovely.”
 
4. “You have that lovely expectant glow.” or “You’re glowing.” We love hearing that.
 
5. “You’re so tiny!”
 
6. “You don’t look like you’re having a baby.” This made my day one day at the beginning of my fourth month.
7. “You’re so little!”
8. “What a lucky baby!” Well gosh, thanks!
9. “You’re going to be great parents!” or “You’re going to be a great mom!” Again, thank you and expectant mothers love hearing this one!
In other words, if you’re not telling me how fabulous I look or complimenting my future parenting skills, then please shut up.
If you have any DOs and DON’Ts of your own to add, please share them in the comments.
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