Making it my business: 5 things not to say to a pregnant woman

You might think you’re showing “interest” and “concern.” She might think you’re a total a-hole.

So I’m having a baby in November. Since I’m past the halfway mark, my “delicate condition” is getting to be pretty obvious. Thus begins the constant inquiries and input from relative to total strangers. For some reason, pregnant women seem to become public property once their bellies pop, and all sense of appropriateness seems to float out the window on a breeze of good intentions and unwelcome insight.

Now before I launch into my list of comments for you to avoid when around ladies with a wee bun in the oven, let me first say that I don’t typically mind these comments, but I could see why other women would be offended. So don’t consider this a rant. Think of it as a public service announcement meant to protect you from accidentally making a gestating woman cry… or punch you in the face.

1. “How much weight have you gained?”

Let’s think about this. Would you ever ask anyone else that question? Probably not. Pregnant women gain 25 to 30 pounds on average when they are pregnant. THAT IS A LOT – especially considering the average baby weighs about 7 pounds at birth. While they understand that the weight-gain is necessary, it’s a sensitive subject. They don’t need to get the feeling that you’re monitoring their gestational spread, too.

2. “If it’s a boy, will you get him circumcised?”

I’m not floored by much, but I was a briefly speechless when this one was tossed at me. First of all, we haven’t decided, and second, I was sure that if we do have a boy that he wouldn’t be too thrilled knowing that some person I knew once upon a time knows about the state of his bits and pieces. Good rule of thumb: any questions related to nether regions are strictly off limits.

3. “Can I touch your belly?”

I should preface this by saying that most women are probably Ok with close friends and family going for the goods, with or without permission – hey, I understand that there’s just something about that belly that makes people lose their minds. But chances are, if you don’t fall into one of those categories, hands off. And if you have to ask, the answer is probably no. Best to wait until (if ever) invited.

4. “You’re (blank) weeks? Wow, you look a little (big/small) for that!”

I got a similar comment this weekend. Granted it was exclaiming how small I looked rather than how big, but still, it ranks right up there with #1 on this list. Whether the mother-to-be looks big or small, chances are her doctor is well aware of her size and is monitoring it closely. Pregnancy is already stressful enough without casually making comments that could send the woman into a fit of anxiety-ridden thoughts of “Am I too big/too small? What if something is wrong?” Just because the woman doesn’t look exactly like your best friend’s sister did at that point in her pregnancy doesn’t mean that something is wrong.

5. “You look tired.”

Regardless of your intentions (which I know are probably more about expressing concern than anything), telling someone they look tired implies that they basically look like crap. Chances are, if a woman is pregnant, she is tired, she looks it, and she knows it. Give her a break and tell her she looks great… even if you are lying with every fiber of your being.

Got something to say? Leave it in the comments.

(And if you have a question or suggestions on things that I should be making my business, send them to

  • error

    Report an error

Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

There are 15 reader comments. Read them.