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9 Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman (And What to Say Instead)

04/20/2015 05:00 pm ET | Updated Jun 20, 2015
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Being pregnant seems to invite conversation from random strangers. While there are plenty of polite people who know how to engage in conversation without offending someone, there are a few people who are clueless, particularly when they notice that a woman is pregnant. And, unfortunately, sometimes these are people you know, like friends and family.

So, for greater awareness, I thought I would give some tips on what not to say to pregnant moms and what you might want to say instead.

1. "Get used to not sleeping, it's preparing you for the baby's arrival!"

Ummm.... bullsh*t! Not sleeping doesn't prepare a new mom in any way for late night feedings with a newborn. It just leaves her exhausted by the time the baby does arrive.

Instead, say: "I'm sorry you can't sleep. That really sucks!"

2. "Are you sure you should be eating/drinking that?"

What a pregnant woman eats or drinks is none of your business. She's already received a list from her doctor telling her what to avoid and what she can drink or eat in limited amounts. Let her make her own choices and trust that she knows what she's doing.

Instead, say:
"Boy, that looks delicious!" or nothing at all.

3. "I didn't have morning sickness."

This sounds like bragging to me. When I hear this, I want to slap the person because of course I had morning sickness for 34 weeks with my oldest, 24 weeks with my second and 27 weeks during my current pregnancy.

Instead, say: "How are you feeling?" Then, wait for her answer and be supportive without the bragging (or whining about how much worse you might have had it).

4. "You do know how babies are made, right?"

This question happens to women who already have two children. I guess it bothers people when someone might want to have more than one or two. Guess what? It's none of your business if a person wants more or if it was or wasn't planned. And, if you think saying that is funny, guess what? It isn't.

Instead, say: Nothing at all.

5. "Do you want the baby to be a boy or a girl?"

Unless the expectant mom volunteers that she hopes the baby is one or the other gender, just assume that she doesn't care and leave it at that. I have two girls now, which has led to a lot of people saying to me, "I bet you are hoping this one is a boy." Actually, no. All I hope for is a healthy baby. Period.

Instead, say: "I bet you can't wait to meet your baby."

6. "Oh, since you'll now have a boy and a girl, I guess that means you're done."

I have to admit that not only does this one piss me off, but it confuses me, too. Why would the gender of your kids decide when a family is complete? Since I have two girls, I felt like people expected us to have one more just so we could try for the boy. Ummmm... hell, no! We tried for a third because we wanted to have three children. If we had a boy and a girl, we still would have wanted to add a third child to our family. One has nothing to do with the other.

Instead, say: "Congrats on your new baby boy or girl!" Then, leave it at that. Don't ask if they plan for more. If they do and want to share, they will.

7. "Boy, she really ballooned up nicely during the last couple of months since I saw you guys in Chicago!"

My husband posted a picture of me before I went in to have my second child, Grace, and one of our acquaintances left that comment under the picture. No woman wants to hear that they have "ballooned," look large, or any such thing. It doesn't matter if the woman gained only 10 pounds or 60. You NEVER make a comment like that, unless you want to get punched in the face.

Instead, say: "You positively glow! "

8. "Since you're over 40, you had to get fertility treatments, right?"

First off, don't assume that because the mom is older she required fertility treatments. Not all older women do, much like not all younger women get pregnant without a little medical help. Secondly, it's none of your business how I got pregnant. I just am.

Instead, say: "Congrats on your pregnancy! "

9. "Boy, you look tired! "

Yeah, that's because I am. Thanks so much for pointing that out to me and making me feel even worse than I already do. Now I know that I'm not only fat but also look haggard.

Why the heck do people say crap like this? Of course we're tired. In the first trimester, we deal with pregnancy fatigue, get a brief respite during the second trimester, only for it to return the third. Then, on top of that, we can't get comfortable enough to sleep. I also have two girls that I care for during the day who exhaust me. How can I not be tired?

Instead, say: "You positively glow! I bet you can't wait to meet your baby."

In the end, there are lots of inappropriate things people will say to a pregnant woman. While the person might have good intentions (most of the time), the comments come off as rude, especially from strangers. The best thing to say is congrats and ask how she's doing. Leave it at that. If she wants to talk about her pregnancy, she will. If not, she won't. Just because a woman is pregnant, doesn't mean that her life suddenly becomes an open book.

If you're pregnant, what inappropriate comments have people said to you?

This post originally appeared on Adventures of a Jayhawk Mommy. You can also follow Jayhawk Mommy on Facebook.