5 Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

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Last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Mila Kunis had a bone to pick with fathers-to-be who say, “We’re expecting.”

“You’re not pregnant,” declared Kunis, who’s expecting her first child with fiancé Ashton Kutcher. “Do you have to squeeze a watermelon-sized person out of your lady hole? No.” Watch the clip, above.

Pregnancy seems to short-circuit the tact filter in everyone around you. If you’ve ever been pregnant, chances are you’ve got a long list of weird, offensive, and/or annoying things people have said to you. Here are my top five.

“You look like you’re going to pop any second!”
Translation: YOU ARE HUGE! This is usually said toward the end of your pregnancy, when you’re tired and achy and you feel like a beached whale anyway. The only reason people who say this don’t get smacked more often is because the pregnant lady in question can’t waddle over to them fast enough.

“OMIGOD you’re sooooo tiny!”
The flip side of the above. In a culture where you’re supposed to sport a fashionably petite “bump” (but not put on pounds anywhere else) and lose the weight 10 seconds after delivery, I think this is generally meant as a compliment. But it was still annoying to hear during my first pregnancy, when I was struggling to gain enough. Rule of thumb: Don’t comment on a pregnant woman’s body. At all.

“Are you supposed to be eating that?”
A friend of mine was once given a hard time by a waiter when she ordered a glass of wine at a restaurant on her anniversary—the only alcohol she touched her whole pregnancy. What a pregnant woman eats and drinks is between her and her doctor. The rest of you: butt out.

“[insert traumatic birth story here]”
During my first pregnancy, I remember sitting frozen in abject horror as a group of my female coworkers, veteran moms all, regaled me with stories of all the terrible, weird, and just plain icky things that had happened to them during childbirth. If a first-timer actually asks you to share your birth story? Great, share away! But if you feel compelled to volunteer the tale of your stalled induction, four hours of pushing, and third-degree tear to someone you barely know, maybe it’s best to keep it to yourself, sister.

“Are you planning to breastfeed?”
And this is your business…why, exactly? Though I suppose answering this one is good practice for dealing with all the breastfeeding busybodies you’ll meet after the baby is born.

So what should you say? How about this: “Congratulations! You look beautiful.” That’s something every pregnant woman does want to hear.

Jeannie Kim is the Executive Deputy Editor of Health magazine.


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