Crucial advice from someone who’s been there.
Coming off the heels of Matt Lauer making some not so kind comments to Savannah Guthrie regarding her pregnancy on The Today Show, and then following it up by putting his foot even deeper in his mouth with Jackie star Natalie Portman, we thought now would be a good time to reiterate some basic rules regarding pregnancy. As with all our etiquette-related queries, we thought it best to seek out advice from Myka Myer, owner of Beaumont Etiquette, and mother to a two-week-old baby (congratulations Myka!).
As someone who has heard it all, and knows better, we thought it best to let her identify nine things nobody should ever say to a pregnant person.
1. Commenting on pregnancy:
“No matter how pregnant you think a woman looks, the etiquette rule is to NEVER ask, ‘How far along are you?’ or ‘When are you due?’ Women come in all shapes and sizes, and you risk asking a non-pregnant woman (or a woman who recently had a baby but has not lost her belly yet) if she’s pregnant. The etiquette rule is that you should always wait for the pregnant woman to bring up her pregnancy before commenting.”
2. Commenting on weight gain:
“Never say things like, ‘I can see it in your hips/belly/face!’ or, ‘I can only see it here/there’ or even, ‘I knew it was a girl because you gained in your lower half.’ Pointing out weight gain of any kind can be a sensitive thing for pregnant women adjusting to their fast-changing bodies! The only thing that is appropriate is if you’d like to say how great she looks.”
3. Conception game:
“‘Was the baby conceived naturally?’ ‘Were they natural twins?’ With many women choosing to have children later in life nowadays, you may be wondering how she was able to conceive. Keep wondering, as unless a pregnant woman shares that information, it can be a very personal decision for many who perhaps had a struggle and wish not to share that part of the journey.”
4. Questioning her choices:
“‘Are you sure you should be doing that?’ ‘Should you really be eating that?’ Or, ‘Did your doctor really say it’s okay to still work out?’ Let’s hope that each woman will do what is best for her baby and her body, and questioning her decisions can lead to one upset (and defensive!) momma!”
“Never ask a pregnant woman, ‘Is it twins?’ Or even joking, ‘Are you sure you’re not having two?’ It’s a sure way to make her feel insecure…even if you’re simply kidding.”
6. ‘Is the baby here yet?’
“At the end of a pregnancy, it’s easy to get excited for the pending arrival of a friend or family member’s baby. That being said, if 20 people per day are asking the same question, you can be assured mom-to-be is already feeling the pressure. Asking every day doesn’t bring the baby any closer!”
7. The Name Game:
“It’s okay to ask, ‘Have you chosen a name?’ But not ‘So what are you naming him/her?’ Many parents choose to keep the name a secret until the big birthday, and if they want to share it before the big reveal, then they’ll be excited to do so on their own, and adding pressure to share it probably won’t change their decision!”
8. Pain in the…:
“Asking, ‘Are you scared of the pain?’ or sharing your horror stories of your own/your friend’s painful birth, isn’t a good idea. You can be assured many women have thought time and time again about the impending labor and birth ahead of them…and adding any anxiety or thought of pain into the mix is not what mom-to-be needs on the brain right about then.”
9. Opinions about Labor Choices:
“‘You will be getting an epidural, right?’ or ‘Why are you having a planned C-section?’ Clearly, mom has thought this through and spoken to her doctor in depth about the best decision for her body and the baby. Having someone second-guess her decision can be frustrating to say the least!”