Modern Pregnancy Etiquette Rules Will Make Moms Laugh

Eye Roll 94

pregnantYou know what there's not enough of these days? Etiquette. Gone are the days when every home knew the name Emily Post and referred to her for the right thing to do ... instead of just doing whatever the hell they felt like. One area in which America could use some serious etiquette education these days is pregnancy; or rather how to interact with a pregnant woman. You'd think it would be simple, but somehow over the years, people have forgotten their manners when it comes to matters of the womb.

Even though Emily passed in 1960, her family has kept up her tradition of trying to impart good behavior on the masses -- even if no one is listening. Great-granddaughter Anna Post recently wrote a piece for Reuters that outlines some proper pregnancy etiquette, which is great, but will likely give pregnant women a good laugh when they compare it to how people really behave around a pregnant woman. For example:

On Sharing the News

Ms. Post's etiquette says:

If you deduce someone is expecting, either from an extra glow or a declined glass of wine, show respect by allowing her to tell you in her own time. When she breaks the news, it's okay to share the insight you had then.

More from The Stir: Must See: 9 Months of Pregnancy in 90 Seconds (VIDEO)

What really happens:

The minute you get married people start staring at your stomach, asking, guessing, and raising eyebrows when you gain so much as an extra pound.

On The Bump

Ms. Post's etiquette says:

Some women enjoy the occasional belly rub or pat from close friends and family and see it as part of sharing the joy of expecting a baby. Others don't. Never pat a pregnant woman's belly without first asking or being invited to do so.  It's not okay to walk up to a non-pregnant stranger and touch their belly, and the same goes for a woman who is pregnant. 

What really happens:

Pregnant bellies are like magnets for the hands of others -- particularly those of older women in grocery stores for some reason. No matter how much body language you try to exert, there will be belly grabbers just waiting to get their hands on yours.

On Mistakenly Assuming Someone is Pregnant

Ms. Post's etiquette says:

Sometimes excitement is misplaced rather than mis-expressed. Be quite sure a woman is pregnant before assuming and asking when she is due. If she says, "I'm not pregnant," there is no graceful exit beyond, "I beg your pardon." Then drop the subject-there is nothing else that can be said to make it better.

What happens in real life:

You may get punched.

On Giving Up One's Seat to a Pregnant Woman

Ms. Post's etiquette says:

All but the lousiest of people will hop right up for a pregnant woman; and if they don't, you can be sure the person next to them will.

More from The Stir: 10 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Having Kids

What happens in real life:

Pregnant women seem to find themselves surrounded by a lot of lousy people.

What are the worst pregnancy etiquette violations you've encountered?


Image via sundaykofax/Flickr

baby prep, motherhood


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SwePea SwePea

When friends and/or family ask things like, "Are you sure this is the right time?" Um, the baby is already gestating & I announced that I'm expecting. Why the negativity?

rache... rachelnicole3

A customer at work said to me, "Oh, you're not wearing a wedding ring? Is it because your single or swollen?"

Firen... Firenygirl180

I got a lot of comments about not having a ring and being pregnant.  And when people don't believe your due date or make comments about your size.  

My bump didn't really show until 6 months and even at 40 weeks I didn't look like i was due any minute. A close friend was huge by 3 months and looked ready to explode by 9 months.  

Casey Dalbey

the last one makes me cringe. When I was very pregnant with my 2nd baby I was still going to college and using their park and ride buses. Never failed that I would get on the bus and have to stand while a LARGE number of college boys sat and stared at my belly. On occasion I would just sit down on one of their laps for the ride. BTW I did say I needed to sit because it wasn't safe for me to stand and it was few and far between that anyone would give me a seat.

mamivon2 mamivon2

People not believing me that I AM pregnant specially the ER nurse when I came in full blown labor and 9cm dialeted..

Sucro... SucroseMonkey

Sorry I am a lousy person for not giving up my seat to a pregnant lady.  Too bad my arthritis in my hips and the titanium pin in one side isn't visible like a pregnant lady's belly.  

paren... parentalrights1

Stop looking for a fucking ring on my finger once you see my belly. I am married, but don't wear my ring because it doesn't fit like it did prepregnancy and even if I'm not married it's no damn concern of yours.

Stop asking my due date. I don't care if I'm pregnant or not, if you don't know me then you don't know for sure if I'm pregnant or if I want to talk to you about it.

Quit assuming that because I accencuate (sp?) my pregnant belly with cute maternity shirts that it means it's on display for grabs. It's the same as assuming a woman who accencuates her breasts is up for grabs too.

For crying out loud. I agree that women don't need for a man to give up their seats for them anymore, but pregnant women are an exception just like the elderly and the disabled. Get your lazy ass up.

paren... parentalrights1

And sucrose monkey, the article was talking about a bus full of college boys. Not an arthritis afflicted woman in the only available seat. Don't make it about you.

Sucro... SucroseMonkey

"All but the lousiest of people will hop right up for a pregnant woman; and if they don't, you can be sure the person next to them will."

Direct quote from the actual article, not the comments by other users.  Please show me where it gives any details beyond "all but the lousiest of people will hop right up."

Melis... Melissa042807

Husband and I took a trip to Washington DC when I was 6 months pregnant - and very obviously pregnant! - and we used the metro for our transporation and I learned real quick, seat are valuable real estate, and ain't nobody givin' theirs up! They do "the DC look" - straight ahead, slightly down, avoid eye contact at all costs. LOL Was it annoying to have to stand up and deal with trying to stay balanced when the train started and stopped? Sure. But it is what it is. Which is maybe unfortunate, but whatever. 

And SucroseMonkey, I think Emily Post assumed it would be a given that nobody would expect a handicapped person to give up their seat and was talking about the average able-bodied person. 

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