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Pregnant? Here's how to handle intrusive questions

Maybe you've been there, mom-to-be: While waiting in line at a grocery store, some random shopper behind you starts a conversation and, suddenly, tries to touch your pregnant belly. If you're a touchy-feely person, you might not mind the contact. But for others, this is an intrusion into their personal space.

There's no right or wrong way to feel about this scenario, but if you are struggling with invasions of your personal space or questions that you'd rather not answer, we can help. 

People gravitate toward moms-to-be 

Ever wonder why people are so drawn to your pregnant belly? Often, they just want to share in your exciting journey. But baby delight can sometimes lead to blurred boundaries. 

It may be easier to deal with tummy touchers and overly personal questions if you prepare a go-to response. Here are a few ideas for handling awkward situations:

The unwanted tummy touch. If you don't want someone to touch your pregnant belly, simply say so. For example:

If someone asks to touch your belly, you might say something like, "Everyone asks me that, but I really prefer that they don't. Thanks for understanding."

If humor is your thing, you might defuse the situation with a joke. "How about I touch your tummy instead?" Message received.

Or simply say, "Excuse me for a moment," and then walk away. That might work best at a family or friendly gathering. By the time you bump into the tummy toucher again, the whole thing may be forgotten.

The careless question or comment. How about those awkward questions pregnant women sometimes get: Are you having a natural childbirth? Aren't you too old (or too young) to have a baby? Do you know the quickest route to the hospital—you're so big you're about to burst! 

People seem to love asking pregnant women personal questions and offering unsolicited advice. And no matter how well-intentioned, some of the things people say are just too much. Here are a few ideas for how to respond:

  • If it's no one's business but yours, you can respond by saying something like, "I'd rather not talk about it."
  • If you'd prefer to be indirect, simply change the subject. 
  • There's nothing wrong with telling someone when their comment is out-of-bounds. Just say, "I don't think that's appropriate."
  • If someone offers their own take on pregnancy dos and don'ts, you might say, "That's interesting. But I'm already following my doctor's advice." 

Do what feels right 

The bottom line: It's your body, your pregnancy and your baby. While you may not want to offend, you don't have to let someone say or do something you're not OK with. Think about what works for you and stick to your plan, mom-to-be. 

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Reviewed 1/31/2022

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