Whole Parenting Family

7 Things NOT to Say to a Very Pregnant Woman

me prego

When you’re 33 weeks pregnant, there are several inappropriate things you do not want to hear, not from your partner, family members, friends, or strangers. I have personally experienced all of these during this pregnancy or the last. People, don’t say this stuff!

1) Wow. You’re big. (Usually followed by: how much bigger do you think you’ll get?)

Yep, and chances are you’re just going to get bigger. It’s called pregnancy and you grow in all parts of your body, not limited to your belly. A hair dresser once told me (when I showed her a photo of how I liked my hair when I was about 40 weeks pregnant with SuperBoy), “Oh, honey, we can do that hair, but this girl’s face is shaped differently than yours.” Um. That was me. 45 pounds heavier. Oope!

2) So how uncomfortable are you?

More than you can imagine. And do you want me to be graphic? I can describe which parts of my body the baby’s body chooses to body slam. I can also describe all the other uncomfortable parts of life that revolve around my pregnancy-related-areas. Is this a question people ask just to rub in that you’re a beached whale and they’re not?

3) Do you want it to be over yet?

What a tricky question. No, I want my child to grow until she’s considered full-term. And then I want her to come out without medical intervention. So the answer is no. But the answer is also YES because I want to be done with the back aches, front aches, belly aches, kicking, pinching, bladder bouncing, poor sleep, etc. This last bit leads to the next thing people say:

4) But when you actually HAVE the baby, then you’re never going to sleep again. (Chuckle, chuckle.)

Duh. This is number 2 for me, bozo. At least when I’m waking up at all hours it’s for the purpose of nourishing my little love dove. Having a newborn is very very hard. I do not underestimate that, nor have I forgotten the endless stream of sleepless nights with SuperBoy. But I also know the joy of being a mother, and the delights of getting to know your child. So yes, you suffer poor sleep, but the reason for that poor sleep makes all the difference.

5) And how old is your other child?

The implication being that you are having children too close together. ?? How is anyone else a judge of that? I always catch myself feeling like I’m supposed to defend why our children will be just shy of two years apart. Often it’s an innocent question, but you know when you’re getting the hairy eyeball from the lady at the store when she sees your toddler in your arms, and your burgeoning belly.

6) Are you ready to have this baby?

I don’t even know what that question means. And it’s not offensive per se, depending on who’s asking it, of course. Really, how can anyone be ready for anything they’ve never experienced? In my case, I’ve never experienced having two children under the age of 3. I cannot begin to fathom how I will split myself into two, and meet both of their needs, while doing everything else under the sun. This is where I’m counting on lots of grace! And of course, there are so many unknowns. Will she be healthy? Will I be healthy? Will SuperBoy continue to be healthy?

7) Was this a planned pregnancy?

My pet peeve question. In our case, yes. But what about all those families who have been trying and trying to conceive, and finally do? Are they expected to explain to this person their fertility and sex lives? Or families who were surprised to have conceived, but happy for the gift of a child. Are they to defend their contraceptive methodology?  Or people for whom this pregnancy has been a real struggle in many ways? Maybe she decided to keep the baby, and had little support from the father. You have no idea what a pregnant woman has done through in her journey of motherhood. It’s no one’s business either way. So aside from telling you that ours was planned and welcomed, I don’t respond to that question from people (often strangers or acquaintances), but instead merely say, “What a personal question!” I hope by baby number 4, I stop getting asked it 🙂


  1. Diapeepees on March 1, 2012 at 8:18 am

    It’s funny, your #1, I’ve never been bothered by it. I actually think it’s amazing how big one gets with a baby. Maybe that’s weird. But it’s pregnancy in all its glory. I like the big.
    The #7: I agree. I know people want to know, but that’s asking some really personal business in a very casual way. It’s esp. not a good question when you know they are thinking you should be done having babies already, and this must certainly have been an accident, because otherwise you are completely crazy.

    • Novice Natural Mama on March 1, 2012 at 8:31 am

      It is pretty amazing. And that our skin stretches and makes way! And then you can see all these veins and arteries. I do like the big myself, but not when people point out that I look like a hippo 🙂

      I almost wonder if people don’t realize that #7 is so personal. It’s like, we live in a culture where everyone’s sex lives is public info, so why can’t they ask? And aside from the innocent few, most people seem to really imply “you’re having too many.”

  2. mtnmomma on March 1, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Interesting. Only number 7 bothers me, and only if it’s not a close person with whom I would openly share what I am going through. Sometimes it’s a welcome question, because it’s nice to have someone care about your feelings about a pregnancy that may be taking a toll on you (but it HAS to be a very very very close friend to be that way for me). But I think any of these things said out of turn could be bothersome – but said in a genuine and loving way allows pregnant women to address the fact that pregnancy is not in fact always rainbows and unicorns but rather some difficult emotional and physical work!

    Judging by your list I will simply say, I hope the next few weeks go by quickly and smoothly. You’re beautiful, strong, and will be an awesome momma of two! Lots of good vibes and warm hugs being sent your way this morning!

    • Novice Natural Mama on March 1, 2012 at 10:35 am

      You’re totally right. Clearly I’m hormonal, very pregnant, and taking every comment in the worst light! Hahahaha. Said in a sweet or natural way, almost all of them (I totally agree with your caveats on number 7), are benign. Sigh. Thanks for the love & thoughts! You do such a great job with your two . . . I’m hoping I can too!

      • mtnmomma on March 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm

        I’m so sorry if that’s how it came off! Add my comments to your list 😉 It’s situation dependent, personal, and I think the point is that pregnant women are hormonal, so take care when making risky comments and expect to be navigating a minefield!

        Strangers should definitely not be saying these things, though. Or rubbing bellies. Or giving unsolicited labor/delivery/child-rearing advice. Or sharing random labor horror stories.

        • Novice Natural Mama on March 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm

          Oh no! Electronic misunderstandings! I wasn’t offended by anything you said! It was comforting. And I took a chance to laugh at myself.

          Strangers do terribly inappropriate things! The horror stories is my least fav. No one wants to hear bad labor story before their own labor 🙂

  3. Andrea on March 1, 2012 at 10:05 am

    #1 never bothered me either, but it certainly would have if I were more uncomfortable with my size. (Between morning sickness, gestational diabetes, and heartburn, I think I actually LOST weight when I was pregnant!) I did hear an awful lot of “You still have one month left? You’ll never make it to your due date!”… ok, thanks for your opinion.

    I’d like to add the opposite comment to the list: “Wow. You’re tiny!” A good friend of mine is almost due and looks 2nd trimester. EVERYONE says this to her, but they don’t know she’s had a scare about the baby not growing enough, so it’s really not a great thing to say either. I’m sure they’re trying to give her a compliment, but it’s making her paranoid.

    If you’re going to comment on a pregnant woman’s appearance, the only really acceptable thing to say is “You look beautiful!”

    #7 is totally along the same lines of “When are you planning to have kids?” being asked to people who are trying to get pregnant. Since the asker usually doesn’t know that key fact, that means it’s ALWAYS an inappropriate question (unless you know the person reaaally well!)

    And I have a friend with twins who people always ask “Did you do fertility treatments or do twins run in your family?” Unbelievable!! His answer was, truthfully, “Neither.” But what if it wasn’t? Then you’re stuck talking with a stranger about your fertility… I imagine people who adopt get awkward questions like this too.

    My personal pet peeves were comments like #4, especially when it followed them asking how I was feeling (#2), and me saying I was tired. It’s like they’re leading you down the path to making fun of you. If you ask someone how they feel, be supportive or don’t ask. And related to #6, I had several people say, with a knowing smile “Are you READY?” — if I said yes, then they’d tell me you can never really be prepared for parenthood. But why would I say no? (No, I’m not ready even though I got pregnant on purpose?) Trick question!!!

    • Novice Natural Mama on March 1, 2012 at 10:39 am

      Excellent addition. The “You’re tiny” comment would conjure up for me low-birth weight, and all sorts of other terrible medical complications. Again, maybe don’t comment on weight at all! 🙂 I think that saying, “You’re beautiful” sounds precisely correct.

      And excellent on #7 as well. If you’ve been together a while and are sans-children, the question is inappropriate. If you’ve been together a short time, and are pregnant, again. And you’re totally right. If they don’t know the answer, they shouldn’t ask the question. And if they knew the answer, they wouldn’t have to ask.

      How appalling about the twins question!

      It is a trick question! And leading you down the path to a more damning question. There’s no correct answer other than perhaps to respond, “Don’t I look beautiful pregnant??” 🙂

      Thanks for weighing in!

  4. ejones217 on March 1, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Three thoughts–

    (a) “Hairy eyeball” made me laugh aloud. Another novice natural mama-ism I may have procure as my own.

    (b) Just shy of two years is a wonderful age difference. My sister and I are 22 months apart, and while sure there were arguments growing up (what siblings don’t argue though), I love that now, we can share common experiences with one another.

    (c) People are ding dongs. Just keep on keeping on, mama. You’re doing a fabulous job.

    • Novice Natural Mama on March 1, 2012 at 10:35 am

      Haha! Dingdongs. Love it! Thanks for the encouragement, mamasita!

  5. ST on March 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    The one that made me cry was “Are you having twins?” And I wasn’t…

    Also..never get your driver’s license renewed during your 39th week.. You’ll get comments about how different you look/how much weight you lost for years afterward whenever you get carded..

    • Novice Natural Mama on March 1, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      That’s terrible!

      And ironic that you bring up the driver’s license. I need to get mine renewed before the baby arrives. Oh dear.

  6. Molly on March 2, 2012 at 8:39 am

    I have one to add which was asked of me at a dinner where I revealed my state: “What went wrong with your birth control?” After I picked my jaw up off the table, I went on to stammer some sort of incoherent comment about being open to a baby at any time. Only in retrospect did I have the presence of mind to think of retorts like, “How dare you?” or “None of your business!” or “The chicken here is delicious, I highly recommend it.”

    • mtnmomma on March 2, 2012 at 9:09 am

      I wanted to add this one, too!!! I got one similar: “So, does birth control just not work for you?” It was incredibly awkward. And a good friend was the one who said it, but still very very very awkward. My midwife’s brother in law apparently sent her husband a package of condoms as a birthday present after they conceived their third. People are crazy and awful sometimes.

      • Novice Natural Mama on March 2, 2012 at 9:19 am

        OHMYGOSH. And it’s not like you were announcing your 20th pregnancy (still, even then, mind your own beeswax). It’s hard to explain about why or how you space your children (or choose not to). And how terribly awkward!

        I can’t believe your midwife’s condom thing either. Wow.

        I have heard, to add to the hilarity of these comments, “You do know what causes that (pregnancy), right?” Also from a good friend. I think my response was “a fabulous time with my husband?”

    • Novice Natural Mama on March 2, 2012 at 9:17 am

      I am so in shock. I cannot believe anyone would say that. WOWOWO. Your latest retort would have been the most brilliant, to be sure.

  7. Kerri on March 2, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    I’m so with you on the “big” thing! I actually got a “you look FATulous” walking into work one day! Went straight to my desk and cried. You look stunningly BEAUTIFUL, Mama! Gorgeous!

    • Novice Natural Mama on March 3, 2012 at 10:57 am

      That is the most terrible thing I’ve ever heard. People are cruel and clearly don’t know what it takes to grow another human being!!!!

      Thanks, dear! MWA!

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  10. Anonymous on May 12, 2017 at 7:53 am

    I love your reactions. Mine are very similar. The most important though to me is the ultrasound tech. Just tell me what looks good…quickly… and I do wish there was a more generally accepted etiquette guide for conversation about pregnancy and reproduction. I hope I can guide my kids to be tactful and polite and understand there are some vast differences of opinion on family size and planning or not. I have often bit my tongue and wondered whether a retort was more appropriate than fielding questions “politely”.