It is highly likely that you will soon encounter a pregnant woman either in person -- at work, at home, at the gym -- or through one of your social networks: your Facebook feed, Twitter stream, or what have you. Pregnant women are basically everywhere, both in reality and digitally, and at some point you're bound to end up communicating. While she may enjoy chatting with you, it's important to be mindful of the fact that she might not want to engage with you on everything under the "pregnancy topics" umbrella.
There are the obvious no-no's when it comes to talking about conception and pregnancy, such as asking why a woman waited so long to have children, or asking when the next one will start cooking, since so many struggle with infertility or other life circumstances that make childbearing difficult. However, there are also some lesser-known (and admittedly much more benign) evils when it comes to discussing gestation among your friends and acquaintances. In order to prevent any mishaps (i.e. your pal's hormonal self losing her mind and punching you in the mouth), here's a list of things she's sure NOT to want to hear coming out of your face.
1. "Oh my goodness, my labor was absolutely horrifying. Worst pain of my life." She is perfectly capable of visualizing worst-case scenarios in her own head without any help, thank you very much. No need to tell her some miserable story about stretching or ripping or sh*tting (or some sort of horrific trifecta) that will haunt her for the hours/days/weeks after she hears it.
2. "I only gained 17 pounds during my pregnancy. I totally craved organic apples and rice cakes the whole time!" Yeah, you're a freak of nature. Step away from her and her artificially flavored puffed cheese snack food or she might place that crinkly bag over your head and suffocate you with it. That is, after she creases the bag into a v-shape and finishes pouring the last of the crumbs into her mouth.
3. "Oh my, your bump is getting bigger every day!" The ugly cousin to the "You must be due any day!" comment. Believe it or not, pregnant women are pretty attuned to their bodies and can tell when their skin is stretched to the limit and their organs are getting mashed and wedged into every available space inside their bodies. They can really feel that extra 30+ pounds they are carrying with them every time they take the stairs, too.
4. "How long are you planning to breastfeed/pump?" Or any other questions or advice at all related to why/how/when/where she is going to nourish her child. It's none of your freaking business. Until you've lived INSIDE her body and/or analyzed her genetic makeup and/or gone through her exact life situation, you are in no position to offer unwanted advice or analysis about her child's nutrition.
5. "Are you supposed to be eating/drinking/doing that?" Unless she's drinking a six-pack of beer or chain-smoking cigarettes, I'd say it's safe to assume that she's making sensible decisions for her unborn child, based on advice from her doctor. If you're questioning something as ridiculously benign as feeding her baby salty/fatty processed puffed cheese snack food, refer to the possible consequence described in number two.
6. "When I get pregnant I'm going to _________________." (Insert eyeroll here.) Yeah, shut it. You have no idea what you're going to do. Even if you've already had one, the second (or third or...) time around can be a whole different ball game. In reality, you will do what the baby tells you to do. It's nature's prep for when the baby is here and is in charge in person.
7. "We're out of doughnuts in the lounge." The horror! The horror! Even if she's never enjoyed a peanut-covered doughnut in her entire life, there might be a day during her pregnancy when ALL SHE CAN THINK ABOUT is swallowing a peanut-covered doughnut, and hearing the news that the peanut-covered-doughnut-eating opportunity has been stolen from her can be devastating. Don't be the messenger.
8. "How are you feeling?" A seemingly friendly question, I know. But even the most grateful of grateful and fittest of fit feel about the same way. Pregnant. She's feeling pregnant. Exhaustingly, whale-ishly, hormonally pregnant. She feels like sh*t and wants to stab everyone around her in the eye with a fork. Even if she feels happy, she also feels like sobbing. Frankly, it takes physical and emotional energy she doesn't have to fake a smile and tell you she's feeling just fine. Don't steal precious energy away from the baby by asking this question. Stop harming the unborn babies!
9. "Hi Mommy!" OK, hearing anyone other than your own offspring call you "Mommy" is just disturbing as hell. It's not even sort of cute. Pure creep-o, right there. If it's said in a high-pitched voice, it makes her think you might actually be psycho enough to try to murder her in her sleep. Stop creeping her out.
10. "Shrimp." "Raw chicken." "Mangoes." Or any other word that conjures up even the notion of a smell so offensive that it makes her literally gag just from hearing the utterance. I realize you may not know ahead of time which word will cause this response (especially if it's something seemingly non-gagworthy, such as the word "dust" or "wall"), so just let the bobbing Adam's apple be your guide.