Pregnancy Etiquette for Expectant Moms

As you may have discovered, even the most well intentioned family members and friends, coworkers and strangers will ask unwanted questions while you’re pregnant. So how does a mom-to-be handle the queries gracefully while keeping her cool? The key is to be ready for whatever people will throw at you. Here’s how to cope with some awkward situations you'll encounter while pregnant.

The question: “What are you going to name your new baby?”

Let’s face it: Coming up with a baby name that you and your partner can agree on is hard enough without anyone else chiming in, and it’s normal to worry that someone will steal your baby name. While some expecting parents have no problem revealing potential monikers, it’s okay if you prefer to not to share. Just politely explain that for now you’re keeping names a secret, and if you decide to announce the name before the baby comes they’ll be the first to know.

The remark: “Did you know I was in labor for 38 hours?”

It’s normal for new moms to want to share their experiences and offer pregnancy tips, but no one wants to hear horror stories about the delivery room. If a conversation gets too graphic, feel free to interrupt and politely say that you appreciate the advice, but everyone’s pregnancy and delivery is different. Explain to your chatty friend that the next time you have a question, you’ll be sure to give her a call.

The question: “Are you pregnant?”

If a nosy co-worker or cousin is prying before you’ve decided to make the announcement, remember that you’re allowed to keep it a secret for as long as you’d like. Not ready to ‘fess up? Try a quick, “Not yet!” fib as a response. When you are ready to tell family and friends that you'll be a new mom, it’s usually best to start with your inner circle before posting on Facebook. At your workplace, your wisest course is to tell your boss in private before spreading the word.

The question: “Was it planned?”

Whether someone asks whether you went the IVF route or if the pregnancy was a total surprise, don’t feel obligated to answer. The easiest way to wiggle out of it is to say, “We’re so happy we’re having a baby; how have you been?” By changing the topic, you indicate that you’re not willing to talk about the subject, and most people should get the hint.

The request: “Can I touch your belly?”

It seems that the instant you have a bump, everyone wants to feel it. But having your tummy rubbed -- especially by total strangers -- can be awkward and weird, to say the least. Ward off unwanted hands by keeping something in front of your belly (a purse will do the trick). When it comes to people you know trying to get in a rub, you’ll have to be a little more diplomatic; jokingly tell them that the baby is sleeping and doesn’t want to be woken up.

Just remember, it’s your baby -- and your body -- so don’t let other people make you feel uncomfortable. There’s always a polite way to refute questions you don’t want to answer.