Top 10 Worst Things to Say or Do to a Pregnant Woman

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton
The next time you see a pregnant woman, remember to NOT say these things unless you want to be scolded. And if that happens, you kind of deserve it. Don't ever try and share birth horror stories— who wants to be scared before giving birth? Also don't tell a pregnant woman to not eat or drink that because are you her doctor? If the answer is no, then leave her be!

Top 10 Worst Things to Say or Do to a Pregnant Woman

What is it about a baby bump that invites such invasive and insensitive questions? Welcome to MsMojo and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Things to Say or Do to a Pregnant Woman.

For this list, we’re looking at the most offensive and/or downright ridiculous things that people say and do to women who are expecting.

#10: Sharing Birth Horror Stories

Pregnant women have enough to worry about without being told the story about your friend of a friend who had terrifying, dramatic, or gross birth complications. She’s seen birth scenes on TV and in the movies so she knows that there are a million things that can go wrong during labor without you reminding her. The simple act of pushing a human being out of her body is probably worrisome enough without hearing one more anecdote about the horrific experience someone else had. The majority of births go quite smoothly, so there’s no need to cause her undue anxiety.

#9: "You Can't Eat / Drink That!"

Though there are some foods that doctors and health experts agree that pregnant women should avoid, there are also many consumables that are safe in moderation, or if they’re from a reliable source. Some women choose to consume small amounts of caffeine during their pregnancy while some avoid it for the whole nine months. The information is constantly changing on some gray area foods like herbal teas, cooked seafood and foods containing nitrates. What it comes down to is that it’s up to each individual woman what she decides to put into her body during her pregnancy, and she’s probably done plenty of research into which foods are safe.

#8: “Aren't You Too Old / Young to Have a Kid?”

The simple answer to this one is: “well, apparently not!” Younger women who get pregnant either by choice or otherwise probably don’t need to be reminded that they will be judged for their age, and there’s no doubt that older women are all too aware of their biological clocks. Men are fertile for their entire adults lives, while women can only bear children between their first menses and the beginning of menopause. There shouldn’t be any reason to cast judgement on someone no matter when they choose to have children, whether it's their first or 10th child.

#7: “Enjoy Life Now Because Once the Baby Comes, You Can Kiss It Goodbye.”

Once a woman has made the inevitably life-changing decision to have a baby, you can probably assume she’s spent a decent amount of time considering the pros and cons. It’s not like it’s breaking news that babies cry a lot or take up a lot of time and energy. It’s not like you’ll be enlightening her with information she’s never heard before by reminding her that she won’t be getting a good night’s sleep for quite a while. If you want to share your experiences, rather than focusing on the negative, why not try to reminisce over some positive memories from your baby's’ first days instead.

#6: "Are You Planning on Going Back to Work?"

While asking this may seem innocent enough, unless you’re speaking with someone you’re very close with, it's bound to come across as a loaded question. It’s an incredibly difficult and personal decision for a woman to choose if and how soon she wants to re-enter the workforce after having a child. A woman’s right to choose means exactly that: there is no right or wrong choice about whether to stay home full time or work once you have children. Some women can’t wait to go back to their jobs after maternity leave while others would much prefer to be at home- and it’s totally fine either way!

#5: Unsolicited Childbirth / Rearing Advice

People are just full of opinions about what a pregnant woman should do, whether it’s critiquing her birthing plan or giving unwanted advice on how she should raise her child. Almost no labor or parenting issue is black and white, so unless a woman asks for your opinion - keep it to yourself. You may have read a great article about the benefits of breastfeeding, but if a woman has decided to bottle-feed then she has probably done her research. There are tons of decisions a pregnant woman has to make, but you can trust that she has already put in the time and energy into making them on her own.

#4: Not Giving Up Their Seats

If you’ve never carried a human being in your uterus, you probably have no idea how exhausting or physically demanding it is. Especially by the third trimester- when a woman’s baby bump is quite obvious to bystanders- it’s always the right choice to offer up your seat on the bus, train or subway. This isn’t just chivalry, pregnant women are experiencing a ton of uncomfortable symptoms that make standing for long periods of time unpleasant. Unless you’ve got a really good reason not to, always err on the side of politeness.

#3: Touching Their Bellies

Repeat after us: a baby bump is NOT an invitation to touch a woman without her consent. In fact, unless she is a friend or family member, you should try to refrain from even asking. Some -if not all- women are not wild about the idea of having their stomachs rubbed by strangers, so you’re putting them in an awkward predicament by inquiring at all. If a woman wants you to rub her belly, she will offer. So as tempting as it may be, keep your hands to yourself- especially around pregnant women.

#2: "You Look Huge!" / "You Look Like You Could Pop Any Day!"

We understand why people feel inclined to say these sorts of things. Maybe you’re not used to seeing pregnant women. Maybe you’re surprised at how big their bellies are up close. Maybe you’re intending it as a compliment. No matter the reason, it is never a good idea to comment on how large a woman is, pregnant or not. They are fully aware of their size and definitely don’t need any reminding as they’ve probably been struggling with it in a myriad of different ways. It should go without saying, but unless you're looking at an ultrasound, telling a woman it looks like she must be having twins just implies you think she's enormous.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

-"Are You Going to Keep It?"

-"Are You Going to Have More?”

-Predicting the Sex of Your Baby

#1: "Was It Planned?"

Sure, you might be curious if someone you know announces a surprising pregnancy, but it’s best to let them share this sort of private information themselves. Also, it’s pretty easy to read between the lines and gauge whether someone was planning a pregnancy or not. The key here is that since she is announcing her pregnancy, you can assume she’s excited about it- whether it was after months of trying or a single night of fun. At this point, just get on board and offer her a heartfelt congratulations.