From your birthing horror story to that offhand "wide load" joke, pretty much anything that comes out of your mouth can offend a pregnant woman—unless you're telling her she looks better than Beyoncé and can't possibly be due so soon. But in case you're not clued in, we offer this handy guide to what not to say to someone who's expecting.
11 Things NO Pregnant Woman Wants to Hear
1. "OMG—When I gave birth, I..."
Stop right there, lady. Telling a pregnant woman—especially a first-timer—that you couldn't get your epidural on time and felt the whole thing, including your episiotomy, is definitely not a preggo-friendly topic of conversation. First-time moms-to-be are already terrified of what will happen when Baby makes her grand entrance, so details of how excruciatingly long and/or painful your labor was are not even remotely helpful. And please don't talk about how many stitches you got, either. This also falls under the "Not Helpful/TMI" category. Should you sugarcoat it and lie if your birth experience falls on your list of Top 10 Things I Never Want to Do Again? Of course not—but save the in-depth discussion for after the mama has given birth. If you can't say something even sort of nice, steer the convo in a different direction. Please.
2. "It's going to hurt so much—are you scared?!"
Unless she's already birthed a litter of kiddies, yes, she's probably scared. She's probably having night sweats just thinking about it, thanks to unhelpful childbirth horror stories (see above). If you don't have some helpful hints to share, like how to make the process a little more comfortable, skip this line of conversation.
3. "We're all going to that amazing new club/restaurant/concert/[fill-in-the-fun-blank] tonight! You didn't want to come...did you?"
She gets it—she's settled down, about to start a family, and generally in bed by 9:00 p.m. these days. Your preggo pal may not be up for joining you on the next girls' night out—because (a) she can't drink, (b) she may go into labor at any moment, or (c) see her new bedtime, above—but that doesn't mean she doesn't want to be asked. Pregnant women can still go out, dance, and have fun like everyone else. Don't assume she doesn't want to come simply because she's got a bun in the oven.
4. "Are you having twins? Are you sure?"
You think you're being witty and hilarious with this comment, but we guarantee that you're not—nor are you likely the first person who's made that "joke" to her. Normal pregnant bodies run the size gamut (like non-pregnant bodies, FYI!) and if she's more big-belly than micro-bump, she doesn't need you pointing it out. And while it's totally normal and healthy to gain weight during pregnancy, those body changes can be hard to handle on an emotional level for some moms-to-be. So please don't remind her of what she already knows. There aren't eight babies hiding in there. (She already made the ultrasound technician double-check!) Cut her some slack. She's bringing new life into the world and there is no greater reason for the human body to change.
5. "Wow, you're so tiny to be that pregnant!"
This is the other side of the pregnancy body-shaming coin—and, yes, it can be taken negatively. You may think that the mom-to-be's bump is enviably small (or maybe you're being passive-aggressively judge-y) but she may fear that something is wrong with her pregnancy or that she's not gaining enough weight to nourish her growing baby. Truly, almost any reference to body image can be taken negatively by a preggo. So stay away from any convo that gets her thinking about how much (or how little) space she takes up in a room. Tell her she looks amazing—whatever size she is.
6. "The baby weight just fell off with the first one but it really lingers with the second."
It may have been a harder battle for you the second time, but that doesn't mean it will be for her. Every pregnancy is different and so is every woman. All pregnant women have issues accepting their pregnancy bods. They certainly don't need an extra reminder that what comes on may not come off. Picturing herself unable to bounce back into shape can be depressing, especially when her hormones are raging.
7. "It's a boy? Are you going to try again for a girl?"
Maybe you prefer one to the other, but that doesn't mean she does. There is life growing inside of her and she's thrilled to be carrying it. (Unless she's weeping on your shoulder with disappointment, in which case your job is to be excited about the baby boy or girl that she's carrying for her.) And bringing up a future pregnancy when she isn't even through with this one yet? No.
8. "Do you miss wine?"
Of course she misses wine! And she misses it more when she's watching you polish off your second glass of Pinot grigio right in front of her. And even if she doesn't miss alcohol much, she's probably tired of the question itself, which she's likely heard a dozen times already this week alone. In general, avoid questions you already know the answer to.
9. "Oh, can you eat that?"
Yes, pregnant women need to modify their eating habits—but not everything is off-limits. If she's reaching for some brie, don't reprimand her for it. Most imported cheeses in North America are pasteurized, so they're safe to eat. Unless she's asking for your input on the matter, trust that she knows what she can and cannot consume, and assume that she doesn't want her choices to be policed by you or anyone else.
10. "You dropped mustard right on your baby bump!"
The. Worst. Nothing makes her feel more like a bottomless pit than a giant food stain right on her protruding belly, which seems to get in the way of nearly everything these days. Don't point it out. She sees it. She knows it appears as though her day revolves around eating—which it does. By the eighth month, every top she owns is basically a wearable napkin. But at least let her pretend no one else notices.
11. "So, you're due any day now, huh?"
This question is often followed by an awkward moment of silence when you find out she's actually only six and a half months pregnant. If you're uncertain when she's due, start by asking how far along she is. Insinuating that she looks like she's ready to pop (another phrase you should never use, btw) is going to make her feel terrible—and secretly hold a grudge against you for a long, long time.