What NOT To Say To A Mummy-To-Be

Expecting a baby is a new and exciting experience, but often times friends, family and even strangers can say (or do) things that offend or scare a pregnant woman. Of course, most people have the best of intentions – but it’s important to remember that pregnant women feel much more sensitive and protective than they might normally, so it’s polite to remain courteous to that fact. To support any mums-to-be in your life with my tips below on what NOT to say or do around a pregnant woman – of course every woman is different, but these are just my two cents!

Please don’t tell me the worst is yet to come.
Morning sickness is horrible (um, can they re-name this ‘24/7 sickness’?), but what makes it worse is having close friends or even strangers tell me that the worst is still to come. It’s about as helpful as telling someone waiting for an operation that the worst is yet to come, which is not very helpful at all! The same goes for the second trimester: a fitness trainer told me I was in the ‘honeymoon period’ yesterday, which although I’m sure she meant to be reassuring, just made me feel worse! Pregnancy can be amazing, but it’s certainly no honeymoon! Instead, it’s so much kinder to remind someone that nothing lasts forever and that whatever symptoms they are dealing with aren’t permanent – and that they’re all worth it in the end.

Please save your birthing horror story until after I’ve had the baby.
As soon as I tell people I’m expecting, I almost immediately learn that their best friend’s cousin’s hair stylist had serious birthing complications, and I’m presented with a lengthy horror story about their experience. A different fitness trainer (what is it with fitness trainers, LOL?!) told me his wife’s birth was so terrifying and dangerous, she nearly died and at one point he wondered if they should just abort the baby. Charming! Thank you for that! While sharing experiences after a woman has given birth may be something many people choose to do because they can empathize with one another, doing this when someone is still expecting can only add to fear anxiety. It may be tempting to share, but it can be terrifying for a mummy-to-be to have so many horror stories swirling around in their head.

Please don’t tell me what is and isn’t safe to eat or do
Everyone has a slightly different list of things they completely ward off while pregnant. If you happen to see someone eating something or planning to do something you would never do, like eating sushi, getting an epidural, or attempting a water birth – just tell them that what they are eating looks yummy, or that you think it’s great they have come to a decision about how they want to have their baby. I am relishing in my weekly glass of red wine, which my doctor has told me is perfectly fine to drink. It makes me happy and relaxed and I nurse that glass for at least an hour! Last week, a friend who isn’t a mummy herself turned her nose up at me for drinking it. I smiled and avoided the confrontation – but honestly, it drove me crazy! It’s so much kinder just to be supportive and trust that each pregnant lady will make informed, personal choices, rather than making her question her every move.

Please ask before touching my bump.
Wait, scrap that, just don’t touch it at all! The touching the bump party is an invite-only event for best friends and family! Many women are happy to let friends touch their bumps, but it’s polite to ask because not everyone is comfortable with having people touch their body (and I’m one of those peeps). Imagine if I just went around touching random people’s thighs or boobs or stomachs?! The other evening at a charity event, a girl I had just been introduced to stretched out both her hands and began to cradle and rub my entire stomach. I backed off faster than you can say fashion faux-pas! So – always ask first, or just don’t ask at all. If a mum-to-be feels their baby kicking and is happy to let you touch their bump, they will usually ask you if you would like to feel it anyway.

Please don’t ask us if it was planned.
This one seems like common sense because it’s so nosy and intrusive, but it’s amazing how many people think it is ok to ask if your pregnancy was planned or a little accident. Funnily enough nobody has asked Mackenzie and I this specifically, but I’ve got so many close friends who went through emotional and turbulent hoops to finally get their baby – from multiple IVF rounds and miscarriages to rollercoaster adoption and surrogate processes – it’s better to be as sensitive. It might be easy to forget that pregnancy is not a community endeavor and some things are private.

Please don’t ask me how I will work when the baby arrives.
For a woman, this is the epitome of loaded questions and most of them will answer defensively, regardless of how you intended the question. People always ask women who work if they will go back to their full-time jobs after the baby is born, and when. It’s such a personal choice whether you choose to become a stay at home mom, or whether you choose to carry on working. If she readily shares the information with you, then try to understand that her decision is her own and all you can do is support that. For me, running my own business with my husband has huge benefits but also drawbacks – there will be no official maternity or paternity leave, and probably no more than a few days off social media. But at the same time, we are lucky enough to work from home most days and often our schedule is flexible. There is no set rulebook on being working parents, and no doubt we will figure it out ourselves, step by step.

Please don’t comment on my size – or ask me if I’m having twins!
Near the end of a pregnancy, many women have friends, and even strangers, telling them that ‘it could be twins’ and asking ‘are you sure there’s only one in there?’. This can be so hurtful to someone who is already pretty physically uncomfortable at that stage of their pregnancy. If someone’s bump looks a little bit bigger, they may be self-conscious anyway, so it’s best to just tell them that they have a lovely bump! The same goes for telling someone they look really small. At 6 months along, I’ve had many kind compliments about the way I look, and most tend to say I’m carrying small. Now, I totally accept this is meant with kindness, but it actually made me worry until the doctor told us recently that our baby is actually bigger than the average, which is a good thing! Everyone carries weight differently and everybody carries their baby slightly differently too.

What do you guys think? Were there any questions or comments that drove you nuts when you were pregnant? What are your own pregnancy etiquette rules? Tell me in the comments below!

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Louise Roe tips on what not to say to a pregnant woman
Louise Roe tips on what not to say to a pregnant woman
Louise Roe tips on what not to say to a pregnant woman
Louise Roe tips on what not to say to a pregnant woman
Louise Roe tips on what not to say to a pregnant woman
Louise Roe tips on what not to say to a pregnant woman

What I’m Wearing: Dress by Isabella Oliver, Jacket by Sincerely Jules, Sneakers by Zespa (similar here), Sunglasses by Ray Ban


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39 responses to “What NOT To Say To A Mummy-To-Be”

  1. Shloka says:

    I totally get where you’re coming from. Both my cousins had babies recently and I know they felt the same way. I also just wanted to say I think you’re looking amazing!


  2. Marie-France says:

    I have experimeted almost all that you’ve said but mostly the 2 things that hurted me the most were about the fact that i choose to bottle feed instead of breast feeding and the fact that i chosse to get the peridurale. My body my choices! Even if at first i was not confortable with breast feeding i have some medical issues that doesn t allow me to do that but i never explained that because it s too personnal i think.

    It s like your body became a public place since the first day of pregnancy and it hurt!

    Stay strong , the best is yet to come, i was crazy sick the 5 first months but at the end i was better. Everybody was so pessimist and so sory for me it pissed me off, we need happiness and positiveness during this time!

    Take care of you 🙂

  3. A true fan says:

    You are a lovely person and this is an insightful post. Best of luck for this wonderful journey!

  4. Nati says:

    Oh Louise!People has no manners !!!My mum and me we used to watch plane jane toghether and we think you are lovely!!Then she online had two daughthers!My mum now is pregnant and she is in her 8th month,she is about fifty and she had twins 3 years ago…imagine all the comments from “it is natural?” “are you crazy?” Or “at this age I rather kill myself”…and to me all the “you can practice” “you are also gonna be her mum” “all the help your mum will have with you,you will be her nanny” and so on…
    as a regard to the issue of the touching and the personal space,people does that with the belly and the babies,so much touching!!Why!?Personal space!!Anyhow I think it is a beautiful and tough experience for what I have seen and I am sure it must be a bittersweet feeling…People should be very respectful with the miracle of life as if it was a delicate flower…but they are not, so what I mean is consider yourself lucky to be a radiant gorgeous healthy mum- to -be and be surrounded by the people that makes you feel nice(avoid the other ones for a while).I think you are going to be a great mum so gentle and caring…You look perfect as alwaysI wish you the best!!!!

  5. Briana says:

    Although I’ve never been pregnant, I think these are great tips. However, I really wish they were just common sense! People can really be very thoughtless, unfortunately.

    Briana | youngsophisticate.com

  6. Anita G says:

    So true, dear Louise! I’ve also been asked similar inappropriate questions such as if the baby was planned. I don’t see how this is anybody’s business. Also, whilst I didn’t have any wine during pregnancy, I enjoyed a cup of nice coffee every now and then, for which I repeatedly received the question “but is it good for the baby if you drink coffee “.
    Anyway, I remember being extra sensitive during pregnancy and what helped me get over it was the support of my partner. Enjoy your pregnancy; it is a wonderful experience ❤️?? Best wishes, Anita

  7. Violetta says:

    Hi Louise, II totally agree wirh you! I became mommy 2 months ago and same things happened to me and I was forced to listen these stupid comments during my pregnancy! A lot of peole annoyed me and gave me a lot of stress with these dummy comments! Leave them speaking and remeber to smile always!!!
    Greetings from Italy! Violetta

  8. Sarah says:

    I recently got told that I had a neat bump but expanded everywhere else, and that she could tell I was pregnant by my face my nose and chin.. (knowing I’m conscious of my face changing a lot in my first pregnancy) that’s certainly one way to make me feel great before a 30th celebration meal we was going to that evening ! I often get told my bump is very big and am I having twins also!

  9. Leanne says:

    I found the size comments infuriating. Almost immediately, friends asked me if and then how much weight I’d put on. When I began to show, there was lots of comparisons made. One particular friend bragged about how at my stage, she didn’t have a bump at all (her baby was actually premature and had a low birth weight) and that two weeks after birth, she’d lost her baby weight. Lots of people have commented on my beautiful bump which is completely normal says my midwife, but if one more person uses the word ‘big’ or ‘massive’ when that is not the case, i am going to scream!

  10. Alice says:

    My friend is expecting a baby in 3 weeks time! She is a fitness instructor so as you can imagine she has an amazing figure. When she announced the wonderful news to her clients half of them said to her….”Oh good! I can’t wait for you to get really FAT!” all because she has that amazing figure. What do they expect?! She’s a fitness instructor!!! The funny thing is she’s actually lost weight with her pregnancy, due to illness and her occupation, rather than gaining weight so joke’s on them! But what a horrible thing to say! Gaining weight while pregnant is a natural response of the body and there’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone is different! Now people are saying they hate her because she’s so lucky to look so good while pregnant. Some people are never happy and others need to install a filter between their brains and their mouths! Best of luck with your pregnancy Louise, you look stunning! xx

  11. Agree completely! My body, my babies and my decisions! I’m expecting twins so I feel like I get double the opinions and commentary directed at me!

  12. Eva says:

    I’m just about finishing my second trimester now and cannot say how much I agree! The worst thing someone said to me was after one of my scans. They asked if everything is fine and I said yes (knocking on wood here) which only invited this mother to talk about an issue her first son had and how rarely these things can be seen on scans. Which was so unnecessary and made me worried sick!

  13. Myrna says:

    I’d worked with a horrid bully manager but I’m glad I’d stayed strong throughout and reported it to HR. He was non stop with rude and ignorant comments but when he shouted at me over the phone that’s the final straw because I wasn’t at my desk when he’d came into the office (he’d forgotten I went for my first antenatal appointment). Also what’s horrible my papa wasn’t well. In the end my manager was fired and 10 days later my papa passed away. My first pregnancy I felt so low with all the drama with my manager and at the same time with all crazy emotions! Do what’s best for you and baby bump! You’ll be a wonderful mama because you’re beautiful inside and out! God bless xx hugs from mama & 2 babas from Twickenham

  14. XHENI says:

    Nearly everyone (mostly strangers) were telling me I was carrying small or I wasn’t eating enough during all my pregnancy. I was not worried because since the very first months my doctor said us that the baby was bigger than the average. We welcomed our 9 lb 2oz (4.150kg) baby after a 3 hours labor and it was a natural birth.
    So just don’t hear to what other people are saying. These 9 months are the most beautiful journey of your life and once you’ll have your baby in your arms you’ll know that the best is yet to come.
    Good luck!!

  15. Caroline says:

    I gave birth to twin girls and being a tall thin woman everyone’s favourite comments was that I couldn’t possibly be having twins as I was still so small and telling me I should be eating more for the babies – uh none of your business – and I was a perfectly healthy weight for my girls given my height. People who haven’t experienced pregnancy or even have experienced it need to leave their own opinions at the door. Every pregnancy is different as is every woman.

  16. Moza Alkharji says:

    I am only 18 years old and faaaaar away from getting pregnant but, oh my god, I didn’t realize that people can be this rude to a pregnant woman! I’m extra sensitive, I don’t know how I’ll deal with such people if I didn’t get over this sensitivity.

  17. Joy says:

    When I was 3 months pregnant someone said to me oh your stomach is big are you having twins?
    Also recently I had to retake the 3hr glucose test because I threw up trying to do it before. I’m 6 & 1/2 months now. Well I just drank that nasty drink and I was laying down willing myself not to puke again while waiting to get my second blood draw. This lady says to me are having a girl I said I didn’t know and she says oh you’re just wider and she said suck out all your beauty oh but I’m not saying you’re not. You’re beautiful. Thanks lady I know right now I look and feel like crap but thanks for saying I look fat and ugly that made my day especially since my husband got deployed last week and isn’t here to support me.

  18. Sasha Jones says:

    I’m a bit young to have a child but I do understand the touching without permission… I have redhair and for some reason plenty of elderly women just go ahead and touch it without asking me first… Happened to me all the time as a child and even sometimes now as an adult! Consent is key! Also have you heard of Doulas? They’re these women that help you step by step through your pregnancy, birth and postpartum! I took a human development course and met some of these women. It was very informative so I highly recommend talking to one!

  19. Camille says:

    I can totally relate. I constantly have people saying “you can’t do that, you’re pregnant!”. Really? I hadn’t noticed… I try to brush those types of comments off and on occasion tell them that it is my decision and I know my body best.
    Another thing that has been annoying me immensely is that my boss asks me constantly if I have thought about how I will be able to afford a child and what my plan is. Excuse me? How is this any of his business at all? I work in the financial business and my boss is a financial adviser, but I definitely do not want any unsolicited advise about how I should be budgeting to afford having a child. No thank you.
    You look great and keep doing you!

  20. Emma says:

    WOW! I would have never imagined people like friends and people who you trust can be so harsh about it. I am not a mom, but feel very shocked about what you are sharing! I am glad to say that I will keep your article in my head.
    It feels so odd for me to receive so much negativity when in reality pregnancy and giving birth and the whole process is just so miraculous and unbelievable.
    You are gorgeous Louise!!! Keep up the good work, be positive, and i’m sure your baby is going to arrive in the best ways ever and it will be something just so awesome!!!
    xoxo thanks for sharing these advices and personal thoughts

  21. Janine says:

    I really hate the last one. So many people told me my belly is so big, and o my god you liok enormous… as if i don t know myself. F*ck off
    Also the fact that people tend to ask. Are you excited? But in the way that they ask you are you affraid of what is coming.. thank you for the positive vibes…

  22. Claire says:

    Yep totally with you!! I’ve had a lot of the comments you have mentioned! Also lots of “you’ll never sleep again” and “enjoy the freedom now”. The other day, someone said to me “oh so you’ll be quite big over summer? You planned that well” (I’m 5 months pregnant and in Australia). Duh, Captain Obvious! I just replied “Yes, thank you for reminding me.”
    People have no brains.
    P.S you are totally rocking pregnant!! I love your attitude and smiley face! You always make me feel so much better when I watch your instagram stories. Thank you for being you! x

  23. Elsilcc says:

    Great article and so true! However, I wish I had heard a few more birthing stories before I had my first one ? It obviously depends on what is considered a ‘birthing horror story’ as such, but I wish I had known more. Especially about how your body could potentially be aching etc for days/ weeks after!
    I cannot believe there are people out there who would actually ask whether a pregnancy was planned or not, it’s such a personal question! I got that question asked a lot with my second pregnancy as my two were only 17months apart and for the record yes it was!

    Love following your stories and you look great!

  24. Jill says:

    Hi Louise, I really like your material and enjoy your updates. I’m a working mum of two and can relate to a lot of what you say. It’s so important to try and take peoples’ comments and questions less personally though. Try to bear in mind that the change pregnancy brings can make the best of us hypersensitive and that can affect our perspective in terms of how we interpret others’ remarks. Next time someone says something that makes you react, try to force yourself to laugh instead of taking the hump – it’s so much more fun when we take ourselves even a wee bit less seriously. Becomming a mum was a massive leveller for me, there was so much character growth and ego stuff that got stripped away – but it’s been a good thing. I like to think it’s made me a bit more understanding of others. Enjoy your journey, and laugh the annoying comments off! ❤️❤️❤️

  25. Tracey says:

    I completely agree with all your points. I have 3 children. loved my glass of red or glass of Guinness if I was out. the faces of people! I did not care. FYI labour is amazing and empowering. I was scared for my 1st – due to these horror stories but the sheer high afterwards it is so addictive! I had my 3 one after the other as a result and also because labour is actually so cool and now I’m in a crazy demented happiness! you’re doing great, well done you.

  26. Karina k says:

    Its so true… I m a mother of two and i used to feel same as you now. However i should admit most of stupid questions were coming from the ones who had not yet experienced the motherhood.
    Do not want to frighten you in advance 😉 but people Like to ask about “ how it was” after baby delivery and postnatal period. So be ready for that..;( I think its just not polite to ask that sort of private questions.
    Anyway, as for me pregnancy is the time when woman is the most beautiful. And so you are!;)

  27. Michelle Park says:

    Hahahaha Louise , Im 27 weeks of pregnancy in this week.
    I totally agree with you!! Well done !:D

  28. A. says:

    You look lovely. Enjoy this special time.

  29. Beautiful Louise… the best is YET to come! Each and every stage is unique and amazing. It will be difficult to comprehend the love you have for this little person you have brought into the world. Your love will only grow and you’ll think that you can’t love your next child( if you choose to have one) as much, but you will. My first childs due date was December 24. Oh the comments I heard on how awful to have a child that time of year. We’ll let me tell you. She loves it! Family is always around, everything is beautifully decorated and we are all here to celebrate. This year she turn 21. We will all be together. She was such a good baby I was afraid to have another, but did. She too was the best. Totally different in every way except they are both amazing young women. No advice( unless asked) just enjoy every stage as it passes quickly by!!! Xo Zoe

  30. Arwa says:

    People would always come up to me to give advice, but I would immediately tell them: “thank you, but I don’t want to hear it- I’d rather do it all and learn from it!” I made that decision the moment I knew I was pregnant- it saved me from listening to any inscesant advice & me feeling bored! U LOOK A-MAZING??

  31. Marijke says:

    Oh my God, the bump touching is horrible! How do people think that is ok? Exactly what you are saying, we don’t go around touching their bodies, do we?

  32. Tereza Spilková says:

    Dear Louise, greetings from Prague, Czech Republic! My baby girl is 3 months old so I couldn’t agree more with you! Especially about the glass of wine! I recommend book from Emily Oster: Expecting better. Then you can really make your own decision about lots issues during pregnancy.

    I really enjoy your insta stories. Thank you and I wish you all the best, Tereza

  33. Maria says:

    You forgot to mention, maybe because it didn’t happen yet, that when they see you with a glass of wine (doctors allow to drink one, now and then) they talk to you like you poisoning your child and you are a monstrous mother. Basically they make you feel like a crappy mother and person. Wait for the delivery of the baby and the breastfeeding…. Prepare for a battle… With the perfect mothers of these world.

  34. Anna says:

    Hahaha, I agree on all of the above, so on point! As a first time mum-to-be, I’ve been sometimes left speachless after these exact same questions. But I have to say that my own pregnancy definitely has brought some perspective on the matter that I just didn’t have before, so I try to be understanding when people say stupid things… Good luck to you! You look amazing 🙂

  35. Martha D says:

    My least favorite at the moment is, “do you know what you have gotten yourself into?” I’m 24 weeks pregnant and at its not like I’m a teenager, I’m 32 and happily married.

  36. LouLou says:

    Thank you for sharing this!! I’m 27 weeks and I’m so tired of people telling me I’m ‘so tiny for 27 weeks’ and asking if I am sure I’ve got my dates right. Yes I’m sure thank you!
    It made me so paranoid the baby wasn’t growing that I ended up worrying and having an extra scan which showed the baby was perfectly average.
    Hope you have a great rest of pregnancy!

  37. Jen says:

    Omg thank you so much for this very truthful blog post. I’m 6 months pregnant and I can’t tell you how many of these “dont’s” have happened to me. I posted it on my FB page so hopefully some people will learn… but some people never learn. Thanks again for writing this and you look so beautiful pregnant. What type of workouts have you been doing? I’d love to know. Thanks!

  38. Louise says:

    Thanks so much, congratulations on your little one! I talk about my diet and fitness on my latest vlog, which you can find here: https://youtu.be/H7rdxifO6eQ


  39. Stella says:

    I am so glad to read your post because I feel like I’m not the only one bothering. I wrote a similar post recently about the things I learned while pregnant, and one of them is that people have no manners. For some reason, when they see a pregnant woman, feel that they have the right to ask anything, touch you, comment on your weight and appearance. Honestly this is the part of pregnancy I am not going to miss… The thing I have been told the most is “sleep now that you can” even from women who have never had a baby, it’s like this phrase has been coded to our DNA to say it when we see a pregnant woman haha! Like I don’t know that I will sleep less and that all my routines are going to change. Why do they have to say something negative? Another thing I noticed is the sympathetic look on their eyes, asking “how are you” but in a way like you are having a terminal disease instead of being pregnant.
    Anyway, big congrats for the arrival of little baby girl, I am sure you will be a wonderful mother and I really enjoy following you on this beautiful journey of motherhood. The best is yet to come 🙂
    Sending love & best wishes,

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