5 things you SHOULDN’T say to a pregnant woman

I’ll be the first to admit it.

Pregnant women be crazy!

You can take offense to that statement (or nod your head along as Travis is doing at this very moment), but hear me out.  A pregnant woman is really not her normal cheery self and it’s all due to the hormones raging through her bloodstream.  Hormones that protect and grow the baby, the uterus and placenta.  Good hormones, when we’re talking about helping her do what she’s supposed to be doing – growing a baby.  Not-so-great hormones when we’re talking about dealing with Hallmark commercials, a flat tire, the stress of Christmas shopping and/or ignorant people.

We’ll talk about ignorant people today.  Realize when I say “ignorant”, what I’m describing here is someone who just doesn’t know – lacking knowledge or information.  I say this because I refuse to believe that anyone would be so daring as to intentionally hurt another, let alone a woman who is doing her best to grow a child.  Call me naïve.

I was offended earlier this week.

Someone (who shall remain nameless) came up to me, rubbed my belly and said, “WOW!!  Looks like somebody ate a little too much turkey.”

In the list of things NOT to say to a pregnant woman, this one might be at the tippy top.

What NOT to say to a pregnant woman:

1)  Please don’t comment on the size (big or small) of a woman’s belly.

Here’s why this is offensive:

Just because I’m visibly pregnant does not make it ok to comment on the size or shape of my body.  In case you’re confused, a good rule of thumb:  If you wouldn’t say it to a non-pregnant person, definitely don’t say it to a pregnant person.  If you wouldn’t go up to anyone else and comment on the fact that they were looking bigger, why would you assume that it’s alright to say that to a pregnant lady?!!?! It’s notAnd it needs to stop.  Whether I look big or small to you (I’ve been on both ends of this – people thought I was starving Henry in the womb), keep it to yourself.  There are plenty of other things you can say to me.  Comment on how thick my hair looks from all the prenatal vitamins.  Tell me that you like my top or my shoes.  But please don’t comment on something that I really can’t control.


You see – Pregnancy is an exercise in letting go.

You have to let go of your body, your hormones, sometimes your food choices, and most difficult of all…you have to let go of your control issues.  Three times now I’ve had to grow stronger in this discipline and it really never gets easier.  Whether I look 2 months pregnant or 9 months pregnant at this point is somewhat out of my control.  I eat healthy foods.  I exercise daily.  I get 9 hours of sleep.  Drink my 100 ounces of water and take my vitamins.  These things I can control.

What I cannot control is what my body does with all of this.  The shape of my belly, the bigness/roundness/fullness of my breasts, whether I’m carrying high or low, whether I get stretch marks, whether or not I waddle when I walk, whether or not I retain water or get cankles.

I can’t go on a crash diet.  I can’t do a cleanse or a fast.  I can’t exercise outrageously.  And I can’t let people’s remarks get to me.  A pregnant woman can only do so much…then it’s time to let go of that control.

Ignorant people are a dime a dozen.  Don’t be one.  Choose your words wisely (SOMETHING YOU CAN CONTROL!!) and if you can’t lift me up by your verbiage, then keep it to yourself.


Other items on the “What NOT to say to a Pregnant Woman”-list:

2)  “Are you SURE you’re not having twins?!?”

3)  “I think you should have ____________-type of labor/delivery/breastfeeding plan because it’s what I did and it’s what’s best!”

4)  “Are you sure you can handle the pain of childbirth?  You know you don’t deal well with pain.”

5) “Wait.  You’re only 3 months along?!?”


QUESTION:  Mamas – tell me some more things to add to the list!!   Even better – let’s start a list of things we ABSOLUTELY SHOULD say to lift each other up!


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  1. The worst was when people commented on the acne I got. I always had clear skin before I was pregnant and then had HORRIBLE acne when I was. There were a couple people who though it was ok to ask me about it. One lady said “what is that on your face”…”oh I thought it was the opposite, that acne got better when you got pregnant” (uh, obviously not for me so why are you saying that out loud??!!) and the worst “why don’t you use salicylic acid to clear it up?” HELLO like I’m not TRYING to get rid of it??? And they say you can’t use salicylic acid anyway while pregnant. I was so mad. Thankfully about 3 months post-partum it started clearing up.
    My favorite thing to hear from people was “You look great!” Because even if I knew I didn’t, it made me feel like they didn’t care how I looked or that I did look good to someone (even if it wasn’t me!). That’s my go-to line now for preggo women.

  2. Comments that bothered me this week…..Did you feel the baby kick yet? No not yet and now I feel like is something wrong because am I supposed to feel it kick by now? Were you trying? Calling me “Little Mama” or “Mama”. Have you had any cravings?

  3. Maybe I was just either naive or maybe due to my daily dealings with completely ignorant people I just innately ignore people’s annoyances (even if I don’t mean too lol), but I never seemed to really care. I am a small person when not pregnant so pretty much every day and every where I went I would get the whole “oh you must be having twins”, “you still have HOW long??”, “you don’t even look pregnant from behind” (like somehow people have some big sign on their backs that say “I’m pregnant”), “how long are you going to keep working?” (news flash people, pregnancy isn’t a disease and how is it such a big deal to work up until your due date if all is well??…I only get 12 weeks off with my sweet new baby and I’m not rich so I believe I’ll enjoy that time WITH the baby, not waiting on it). And there were many more of course, but I just smiled and went on cause who cares what they say. I think people just feel the need to acknowledge and address the fact that you are pregnant and simply don’t know what else to ask about or say, especially if they aren’t close to you or are strangers. I did like the “you look beautiful, you’re belly is so beautiful, you really are glowing, and how are you feeling” comments/questions.

    What DID however seem to bother me-probably because of my own personal control/strong willed issues-were the people that either told me how I should do things!! For example: how I should deliver, how I should feed, what I should do about x/y/or z…. or how when I told people I did not want an epidural, most would immediately either tell me I was crazy or the worst…”oh just wait until labor starts, you’ll be begging for one.” grrrrrr……LADY YOU DON’T KNOW ME!!!! And if you did really know me you would know that once I have set my mind to something, that’s pretty much it!! Every woman gets to make her own decisions on what she wants for her labor/delivery so just because my plans weren’t your plans doesn’t mean I’m wrong or that I’m just going to break down and say “oh you were right, I should have done it your way.” Especially on my second child!! But at least with #2 I could say “well this sure isn’t my first rodeo and I was just fine with my 36hour pain med free no-epidural labor and deliver with my first child, I’m sure I can manage a birth plan for my second.” I met some resistance to the breastfeeding but thankfully not a lot because at that point I think I would have killed somebody lol. Plus most people don’t get personal enough to ask how you will be feeding your baby unless they are close enough to you that you don’t mind, but those people don’t seem to want to tell you what to do so much as to support you in your decision. Either DONT ASK or BE SUPPORTIVE of a woman’s decisions for her pregnancy and child rearing!!

    Well that was a long comment lol. I just hope you don’t let those people bug you too bad, just remember they probably just don’t know what else to say but just feel the need to make sure they realize you are growing a new beautiful life ;)

  4. Amen. My standard remark to pregnant mamas is just “You look great!!” – because I know I couldn’t even turn that into a negative thing if someone said it to me. Like you said, I think people just don’t know what to say…so they say dumb things.

  5. I’ve never been pregnant, but knowing myself, I can only image how annoyed I am going to be at remarks like this. It’s funny because I have some co-workers who tend to always make comments on people’s appearances. I can only image what those type of people who say to someone who has a body that’s changing all the time…

  6. Numbers 1, 2, and 5…I got those all.the.time. I mentioned that I’m your last post, but I had a big first baby (I was a big baby too, just genetics!) and “popped” early with my second. A guy at the gym actually pointed at my belly one day and said, “your turkey timer popped! The baby is done!” Seriously. Why do people lose all sense of manners when it comes to pregnant women?!

  7. I got the twins comment all the time and it hurt my feelings every single time. I had 3 more months to go and while I was indulging during my pregnancy I felt like a whale when someone would say that. AFter my uncle wouldn’t stop obsessing during a Christmas celebrationI cried all the way home.

  8. I know this sounds different, but one thing I heard someone say and I think everyone could benefit from this comment is to never say to a pregnant woman, “I hope you have a “normal”, healthy baby, with 10 fingers and 10 toes…” Whereas this sounds like a nice thing to say, think about when the woman has her baby and there is something not “normal” about her baby. I am sure she feels extremely upset already and then thinking back to the comments people said makes her feel even worst. One thing people can say instead, “Isn’t having a child such a blessing from God not matter how they turn out?” or “I know you will love your baby unconditionally” etc. Anyway, thought I would chime in.

  9. THANK YOU! Seriously don’t people realize i’m slightly (ahem) bat$hit crazy right now? lol I get comments all the time about how small I am for 32 weeks, and not only is it frustrating because I AM like you mentioned, doing everything in my control (eating healthy foods, and water, exercising moderately, vitamins, yada yada) but the worst thing is it makes me FEEL INADEQUATE and feel like I have to try to reason with them as to WHY i’m “smaller.” I have enough stress without that weight on my shoulders, thank you very much!

    Tell me instead that i’m glowing, and how healthy I look! Tell me how flattering my new maternity top is!

    Other things they shouldn’t say: “Are you supposed to be eating that?” “Aren’t you only supposed to wear flats?” “You really shouldn’t carry that [3 pound box]” Good grief i’m not an invalid. I know my own limits. I’m not wearing spiky 5 inch heels, just a 2 inch wedge so my jeans don’t drag. lol

  10. Ughhhh … these all sound terrible. I remember when a coworker of mine was pregnant with her second child, she popped early and was as big as a house (but super tiny until you saw her side profile — it was kind of funny). People were asking her — seriously — if she was having twins because she looked 9-months at 6-months. I felt so bad for her, especially when she delivered a nearly 10-lb baby. :/

    My massage therapist is giving birth soon, and I’m impressed that she went almost 9 months working hands-on with people. I can’t imagine the kind of comments that she got from people. I tried really hard to not shuffle around when her belly touched me because I didn’t want her to feel awkwardly huge.

  11. My least favorite: when people commented on the size of my family or how close my kids were (L&C are 18 months apart, the babies are 13 months apart). “You do know how that happens, right?” Or “it’s not enough to keep your fingers crossed, you have to keep your legs crossed, too.” And “do you realize how much it costs to raise a child?”
    And then there’s the one crazy lady who assured me that I was having a boy based on my rear end. When I told her it was a girl she told me the dr was wrong.

  12. I sent this to my coworker (currently in her third trimester) and she loved it! She and I can relate in terms of body image issues and she has said that her pregnancy has been a great lesson in just letting go and letting her body do its thing. But then people will make comments to her that make it all the more hard for her to release control and be okay with her body. People have NO idea how hard they can make it for someone! I cannot stand body comments, pregnant or not!

  13. When I was pregnant the last time, the doctor du jour at my practice measured my belly with the tape measure. He didn’t say anything after and so I said “does everything look as expected/normal?” He then said, “ha! normal? your baby is going to be big…I mean, look at you!” My husband said he was trying to indicate that I’m a tall person and it was to be expected that we’d have a larger than average size baby, but the way he said it with the scoffing laugh made me want to punch him in the throat!

    My favorite thing to hear from friends, family and strangers is when they comment on my glow. I swear I don’t see it, but people keep telling me I’m glowing, so I am happy to take their word for it!

  14. I’ve been asked, “Was it planned?” too many times to count and “How are you feeling?” nonstop. I had a coworker (who is morbidly obese and developed preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, delivering both of her sons 3 months early) tell me that working out and seeing a midwife was irresponsible of me. People are always commenting on my belly size too. I like to be sassy back to people who say dumb things, so I’ve also been hearing, “You’re so grumpy now that you’re pregnant.”

  15. Gosh, I was a hormonal beast when I was pregnant with Max (my second). I completely agree, if you wouldn’t say it to a non pregnant person, please, for all that is good, don’t say it to a pregnant person! I think the bigger issue here is that some people don’t know how to see the positive. I am the kind of person that always wants to see the good in people, so I compliment them on things I know will make a positive impact on them. I think lifting someone’s spirits should be the first thing considered when opening your mouth! (I say all of this after a rant I had yesterday after too many people decided to not use their manners in regards to people with food allergies and intolerances…UGH).

    Keep your chin up Lindsay! You are beautiful inside and out! xoxo

  16. “It’s about time.” Agh – I was told this and it really irked me. We had been trying for over 6 years with lots of fertility issues. Going on 9 months now trying for our second and people keep asking me “When are you going to have another one?”

  17. Things not to say: (Coming from a stranger)

    “Where you trying?”, “Did it take a long time to get pregnant?” (IE did you have fertility issues) ,”You’re so small!”, “Are you sure there’s a baby in there?” “Are you supposed to be eating that?”

    Things to say:

    “You look amazing.” done. period. end of story.

  18. Oh I’ve got one that I hear ALL the time due to me having 4 kids. Have you not figured out what causes that? Lol it really doesn’t bother me at all I just laugh it off. Oh and are you getting fixed after this one? Or WOW you are ALWAYS pregnant!

  19. Yes to the size thing and thank you for including being small. I’m really, really small and people say things all the time and tell me that I’m lucky. I think they think they’re complimenting me, but in reality, I’m staring potential growth restriction in the face and that’s the last thing I want to hear.

  20. I had to see another doc in my doc’s practice for one of my visits. He looked at the amount I had gained and said “looks like someone’s been hitting McDonalds a little too often. Then he looked at my chart and realized I was having TWINS and spent the next few minutes trying to apologize. I cried all the way home!

  21. haha, i think i would have told that person that she looked like she ate a little too much pie. ohhh, so wrong!
    You should check out monday’s post… you might like what you see

  22. In addition to everything you said, I did not enjoy when people used to tell me that I was crazy for trying to have a natural birth and that I wouldn’t be able to do it. My other favorite was early on in my pregnancy several people warned me not to pull a “Jessica Simpson.” I did enjoy when people told me that I looked beautiful and strong and told me I was doing a great job!