Pregnancy can be a wonderful time in a woman’s life, but it can also be challenging.
When a woman reaches a certain point in her pregnancy, it’s hard for her to hide the fact that she’s carrying a life inside her. You may feel the need to comment on her current condition, but beware that there are some things you should never say to your pregnant coworker.
1. “Who’s the father?” or “Is the father still around?”
This is unacceptable for anyone to ask. Depending on the circumstances, it can be incredibly hurtful and an invasion of the mother’s privacy. Even if she considers you a friend, it’s none of your business what she does outside of work and with whom.
2. “Was your pregnancy planned?”
Again, this is absolutely none of your business. Whether it was planned or not, the baby is here and will be making an entrance into the world soon. The mom-to-be has a lot on her mind, including tons of worries, and if her pregnancy wasn’t planned, she doesn’t need your judgment on top of her stress.
3. “Are you looking forward to maternity leave?”
While this question may seem innocent, it can also carry a lot of hidden meaning behind it. After all, your coworker is about to go through the birthing process, followed by sleepless nights and taking care of a tiny human being who requires constant attention. Maternity leave is not like going on vacation, so don’t assume she’s going to be relaxing.
4. “What are you going to do if you don’t get a boy/girl?”
Mothers don’t have a choice when it comes to the sex of their baby. Nature decides for them. Sure, it’s possible they were hoping for one or the other, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re getting what they’re getting. More than likely, no matter if they have a boy or a girl, they’re going to love it with all their hearts.
5. “Wow! When are you due? You’re huge!”
Pregnant or not, most women are incredibly sensitive when it comes to their appearance and their weight. Throw in hormones on top of that, and you have a recipe for disaster with this question. She knows how big she’s getting. She’s reminded every day when she needs help putting on her socks or shoes, or when she can’t bend over to pick things up. Don’t add to her misery.
6. “Aren’t you a little old to be having a child?”
For the past several decades, more women have been postponing having children until they are older. This delay gives them a chance to focus on their life, education and career and to be financially stable before settling down to have a family. She probably wants to give her child every opportunity to be successful, and she might not have been able to do that before, so don’t question her ability to do it now.
7. “Did you decide on a name?”
You can ask this question with the most innocent of intent, but it’s also a loaded gun. No matter what the woman and her spouse have decided, someone will feel compelled to weigh in about their choice. More than likely, she doesn’t want to hear that opinion, so she could be reluctant to respond.
8. “Your life is going to totally change once the baby gets here.”
There’s no doubt that the mother-to-be is well aware of this fact. More than likely, just being pregnant has changed her life — and her eating and social habits. There’s no reason to remind her that sleep and alone time are about to be a thing of the past.
9. “Can I feel the baby move?”
There seems to be this idea that once a woman gets pregnant, her body becomes public property. Family, friends and even strangers feel the need to reach out and touch her belly — sometimes without asking. Even if you do ask, she might not feel comfortable telling you no, and she might be even less comfortable with your hands on her. Don’t make things awkward. Just keep your hands to yourself.
10. “You should really do ________ during the birth.”
When it comes to giving birth, your coworker needs to do what makes her comfortable. The process is different for everyone, and personal preference and comfort play a huge role. While your intentions of telling your pregnant coworker what she should opt for during the birthing process might be good, they are probably unwanted.
11. “Should you be eating/drinking that?”
Pregnant women are fully aware of what they can and can’t eat during their pregnancy. They don’t need you offering opinions about their diets. Besides, it’s still their bodies and their choice. You might not approve, but it’s not your place to say anything.
12. “Are you going to have more babies?”
Maybe you should let her worry about having the one she’s carrying first! If she chooses to have more children down the road, that’s between her and her partner. You have no say in what they decide.
13. “Isn’t it amazing to be pregnant?”
While pregnancy can be a magical time for a woman, it can also be filled with worry and other complications. Every woman experiences pregnancy differently, and it’s possible your coworker has had a difficult pregnancy. Since you don’t know what she’s going through, it’s best not to assume she’s having an amazing time.
You shouldn’t be afraid to talk to your coworker during her pregnancy and ask her how she’s feeling, but keep in mind some of the things you say or the questions you ask could be upsetting. If you wouldn’t want someone asking you the same questions, don’t ask your pregnant coworker.