5 Things You Should Never Say to a Pregnant Woman

Things Never Say Pregnant Woman

If you are currently pregnant or have been pregnant, chances are you’ve been on the receiving end of some unsolicited comments. From your size and habits to your plans for baby, there seems to be no topic for discussion that is off limits.  Below we’ve rounded up five things that we hope no pregnant woman ever has to hear.

  1. Should you be eating/drinking that?

Unless you are her dietician or other designated healthcare professional, avoid doling out nutrition advice to a pregnant woman. By now we’ve probably all heard the advice to limit caffeine intake and avoid lunch meat because of listeria… but maybe mom-to-be is drinking decaf and has microwaved her lunch meat. Trust that she’s discussed her diet with her doctor, and that she’s making the most informed choices for her own body.

  1. Was it planned?

Simply put, this is absolutely none of your business!  Planned and unplanned pregnancies are equally joyous.

  1. Wow, you’re HUGE!

Think about it – would you ever spontaneously comment on the large size of a woman who isn’t pregnant? We hope not! The fact that a woman is carrying a baby doesn’t give you a license to publicly acknowledge her dimensions.  Some women struggle with gaining too much weight during pregnancy, which can be very upsetting and stressful. On the flip side, some women have a hard time gaining enough weight during pregnancy, so it’s probably the safest bet to avoid all comments relative to the size of mom-to-be. Instead stick with a simple, “You look great”!

  1. Oh, the tearing!

The journey to motherhood, especially the part when you actually give birth, can be… messy. Although you have every right to be extremely proud of the pain that you endured in order to bring another human into the world, no woman about to push out a baby really wants to hear horror stories about your 72 hour labor, 4th-degree tear, or postpartum infection. There are so many unknowns associated with childbirth, which are scary enough on their own. No need to further frighten mom-to-be. Unless she specifically asks, let her OB take care of covering the potentially gory details!

  1. You’re planning to _____, right?

To co-sleep or not co-sleep? To breastfeed or formula feed? To stay at home or go back to work? To send baby to daycare or hire a nanny? To use disposable or cloth diapers? The list goes on!   Preparing for motherhood presents countless decisions to be made, and it’s important to remember that there is no “right” answer to any of these questions. Sure, there are some expert recommendations out there, such as that breastfeeding is the best option for feeding baby, but perhaps the mother has issues beyond her control that prevent her from choosing that route. If you are asked to give it, then it’s great to share advice with mom-to-be regarding which sleeping/feeding/childcare/diapering/etc. choices worked best for you and your baby. But don’t automatically assume that your choices are best for everyone else.

Did we miss anything?  Please share your opinions or stories in the comments!

Kristen Hollinger
Dr. Kristen Hollinger has a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from Pennsylvania State University. She currently resides in Maryland and works as an Instructor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on neurological diseases including depression and multiple sclerosis.

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