Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pregnancy Etiquette: The Things to Never Say or Do to a Pregnant Woman

As a doula I hear so many stories from my clients about what other people say or do to them during pregnancy. Some are horrifying. For some reason, when people see a pregnant woman, they feel like they can give her advice, or tell her stories of what happened to themselves or their friends.

Pregnancy is a very vulnerable time for women - emotions are high and women are sensitive. The following is a list of inappropriate things to say or do to a pregnant woman.

Do not ask if you can touch her belly (especially if you don't know her!). Or worse yet, don't just go up and touch her belly without asking. Would you ever go up to someone else and touch their tummy? Didn't think so...

Do not tell a pregnant woman horror stories about birth. This is beyond inappropriate. Every woman's labor is different, and you are just causing anxiety and stress by sharing the gory details. Some of my clients have told me that strangers on the street have come up to them and shared what happened to their sister/cousin/friend/etc. This just causes a lot of fear surrounding childbirth. If you are pregnant, please feel free to ask these people to stop.

Do not tell a pregnant woman that she HAS to get an epidural. Please let her make her own decision. I had a friend once who had a PAINLESS labor and she got an epidural because she thought it would cut her anxiety (taken from the suggestion of her friends). She didn't need one, but was so persuaded by what others told her. We live in a culture where pain is bad, and we do whatever we can to avoid it. But, in this instance, the pain brings something so beautiful... a baby. Some cultures look at the pain as good (and therefore they handle it much better). Many of the women that I have worked with that didn't have an epidural tell me they felt empowered and strong after giving birth. Some even say that overcoming the pain was the most spiritual experience of their lives.

Do not tell a pregnant woman that she looks like she is "going to pop." At the end of pregnancy a woman (desperately) wants to have her baby. She can be tired, impatient, frustrated, and sooooo ready to be 'un-pregnant'. It doesn't help her at all by saying something like that. Remember, pregnant women are sensitive. Be mindful and compliment her instead.

The list goes on, but these four are the things that keep coming up. If you have something to add, feel free to comment!

Natural Birth Doula Montreal