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Pregnancy Etiquette 101

By KARA EBERLE

Smart Mama

As a pregnant woman, I have become accustomed to a certain amount of discomfort.

There are the many trips to the restroom, day and night. The near-constant nausea (even into my second trimester). The weight gain. The growing belly. The cramps. The exhaustion. The swelling of my feet and ankles.

And I can accept these physical symptoms of my pregnancy. It’s all part of growing an amazing little person inside of me.

What I have trouble accepting are the rude and ultra-personal comments I’ve gotten since I’ve been pregnant. They make my already uncomfortable days even worse.

I’ve considered that perhaps people just don’t know any better and that maybe they don’t realize that they’ve hurt my feelings.

In an attempt to educate folks on how to act around pregnant women, I pulled together this list of do’s and don’ts.

Don’ts

-Never comment on a pregnant woman’s weight gain. Ever.

-Never look at a pregnant woman while she’s eating and ask if she should really be downing those calories.

-Do not look at a pregnant woman’s chest and ask if she’s going to breastfeed. It’s none of your business.

-Do not tell a pregnant woman that she’s huge, looks like a house or that you can’t imagine how much bigger she’s going to get before the baby comes.

-Do not touch a pregnant woman’s belly, no matter how big or small, unless you ask first. It’s still part of her body. How would you feel if I put my hand on your stomach without asking?

-Do not compare one pregnant woman to another in any way. I don’t want to hear about how the friend of a friend gained only 15 pounds and was running a marathon the day after delivery.

-Do not share horror stories from the delivery room.

-Do not ask a pregnant woman “how this happened.” You know how it happened, and it’s personal.

-Do not say, “Get your sleep now ‘cause you’re not going to get it after the baby comes!” and then laugh at the “funny” joke you just made.

-Never say “Are you sure you’re not having twins?”

-Never ever assume that a woman is pregnant just because she’s wearing an A-line dress or because you think she has a belly. You know what they say about people who assume, right?

Do’s

-You look great!

-Would you like some help with the baby after he or she is born?

-Here are some maternity clothes I have and thought you could use.

-How are you feeling?

If you’re still not sure what to say, ask yourself these questions:

-Would I say this to someone who isn’t pregnant? If the answer is “no,” don’t say it.

-Could my question or comment be considered rude or too personal, especially to someone with lots of hormones in her body? If the answer is “yes,” don’t say it.

-And if you still don’t know what to say, don’t say anything at all.

Kara Eberle is editor of Smart. Sign up for a free subscription to the magazine at www.smartmamapa.com/subscribe.

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