You Don’t Look Pregnant

Since When Did “You Don’t Look Pregnant” Become Offensive?

Mom Jeanine
September 6, 2011


Good Question, hot topic, Jeanine Edwards

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Over the weekend I got the chance to catch up with lots of my family that I hadn’t seen in a while, including my cousin who is expecting a baby early next year. Of course, all we could talk about was babies when we saw each other. She did the requisite baby bump debut and at 4 months she’s still pretty teeny. She’s not even wearing maternity clothes yet. So I say to her, “You look great! You don’t even look pregnant.”

Big mistake. Or so I was told after the fact. I don’t think my cousin said anything, but when we left my mother said “You never tell a pregnant woman she doesn’t look pregnant. It hurts.” Huh?

Obviously I know there’s a baby cooking in there–I saw the sonogram pictures. But my cousin has always been naturally thin and she’s still pretty svelte considering she’s with child. When I said you don’t look pregnant, I wasn’t questioning whether she was, I was simply commenting on how good she looked.

Same with Hilary Duff in the pic above. I know she’s pregnant, but the truth is she doesn’t look it. I’m not saying that to be mean or rude, because she looks good. Just not pregnant yet.

My mother and I don’t always see eye to eye, so what do you think? I don’t mean to be insensitive, but am I missing something? Is it offensive or hurtful to tell a pregnant woman she doesn’t look pregnant or can it be complimentary? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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  • Kerry
    September 6, 2011

  • Oh I have to agree with your mom on this one…I was pregnant with twins a few years ago and people would tell me I didn’t look pregnant with one let alone two babies constantly (even up to 8 months). I took this to mean that I wasn’t eating/taking care of myself enough to nourish the babies. I could barely eat a meal and keep it down the whole time. They came out fine, but geesh, it was annoying:)

  • Lindi
    September 6, 2011

  • When I was pregnant, I had someone tell me that and it really hurt my feelings. I am sure most of it was because I was so hormonal and overly sensitive. But the comment made me feel like I was doing something wrong. I know she honestly meant it as a compliment now.

    However, I would probably forget how I felt and say the samething to someone else when they were pregnant and mean it as a compliment.

  • Susan
    September 6, 2011

  • That’s crazy to get hurt feelings over that. I’d say you would have to have other issues. I had five children. I would have been flattered if someone had said that to me. Most women with long waists hide their pregnancy better. I happened to be very short wasted and I show my babies early. God made us all different, Why get your feelings hurt over such an innocent remark. Grow up Mom’s.

  • Katie
    September 6, 2011

  • I don’t think that it is offensive, but with my 1st pregnancy I gained 60lbs, and at 7 mo people told me that I still looked tiny, and my thought was how fat do you think that I normally look because I clearly put on weight.

  • m
    September 6, 2011

  • Yes, it sometimes is. My daughter’s MIL always would say that like my daughter has an eating problem or something-just because she is thin. She is not the healthiest girl and we just found out she has an auto-immune disorder. Sometimes the first pregnancy is like and to keep harping on that is just rude. I mean, she wouldn’t stop! But then she is not fond of my daughter so she had to get her digs in. People sometimes do say that to be mean. The bad thing is my daughter had complications down the road with both her children before the births, so don’t get the mother all worried.

  • Fantacy Fenwick Bryant
    September 6, 2011

  • I have a friend who had this very conversation with me the other day b/c she is pregnant with baby number 6 and someone told her she didn’t even look pregnant. I took that as “man you look great compared to what I did when I was pregnant”…she took it to mean “wow you just look fat” or “you were chubby to begin with, so I couldn’t even tell!”
    I guess it depends on the person and their views of themselves and how they perceive things to be said. Obviously your cousin didn’t think you were calling her fat, but I would never have guessed it would hurt anyone’s feelings until my friend told me how bad someone hurt hers by saying just that.

  • Lynn
    September 6, 2011

  • You know what’s funny? In the beginning, when I was all hormonal and having a hard time adjusting to any weight gain, it would have been offensive, but now that I’m 8 months along, I would have have appreciated it and probably kissed you! Just goes to show that you can never predict what is going through a pregnant woman’s mind.

  • Ashley
    September 6, 2011

  • I’m on the fence with this one! I’m four months pregnant and get that reaction all the time. In a way, it makes me feel good because although I can definitely tell a difference in my body (I’ve gained a couple inches in each my waist & hips), I like knowing that I might have a chance at being one of those cute pregnant women with just a big belly in a couple of months!

    On the other hand, it kind of hurts because I’ve been dealing with some issues with my younger, unmarried sister being two months ahead of me, and since I don’t “look” pregnant yet, she gets all the attention when we’re in public…It’s a complicated situation, so it’s not just a jealousy/competition thing.

    Anyway, I would say that it completely depends on the person & situation-but to be honest, it would be pretty easy to offend any pregnant woman simply because our hormones make us so sensitive…Just ask my husband!

  • Paula
    September 6, 2011

  • I can definitely see how telling someone she doesn’t “even” look pregnant would hurt their feelings, as there is a lot of excitement and illusion in bearing your child, growing a life inside you and all you want is to show as soon as possible. Having a baby bump is something to be proud of and everybody can’t wait to show!
    But watch out.. when they ARE showing watch out not to say they have a HUGE belly, or talk about how BIG THEY ARE either!! that can go the same exact negative way!! haha when we are pregnant we are too sensitive.. and people need to be careful what to say! haha
    When I was pregnant with my son, I didn’t show until I was 6 months pregnant (although obviously I saw I had the baby bump there but people couldn’t really tell) and I couldn’t WAIT to have a big belly!!

  • Helen Williams Chaffins
    September 6, 2011

  • That is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. I didn’t start showing with my second child until I was 7 months pregnant and I loved it when people told me how great I looked especially that I didn’t look pregnant. Only a total neurotic would find that offensive but then again some people just can’t take a compliment.

  • Isa
    September 11, 2011

  • Honestly, I’d rather hear that I didn’t look pregnant. I got all kinds of comments that hurt my feelings when I was with child. Such as, “Wow, are you sure it’s not twins?”
    Yup, pretty sure. And if I was having twins I’d work it into the conversation asap.

    I was told I was huge. And looked very pregnant. Blah blah blah. I did have a nine and a half lb baby and I was tiny to begin with but people didn’t think before they opened their mouth.

    Oh and don’t ever tell anyone they look like they’re about to pop. If you’re curious about their due date then ask because telling a woman that she’s about to pop when she’s just 6 months pregnant can really freak her out….especially since she has 16 more weeks to grow!

    I would really prefer it if people would’ve just stuck to, “You’re glowing.” Even if the glow was actually sweat….:D