Set Personal Boundaries to Protect Your Mind and Body During Pregnancy

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Expectant mothers, set social and physical boundaries for the people in your life who may not know proper pregnancy etiquette.

Casual bystanders may attempt small talk with you and ask you personal questions relating to your due date, pregnancy weight, appearance or parenting style. As always, you can’t control what people do or say, but you can establish healthy boundaries to show people what you will and will not allow.

1. Research pregnancy facts, and refer to your doctor.

It will boost your self-confidence. If you know what bodily and hormonal changes to expect during each trimester, you can respond to a negative comment by relating facts.

2. Decide your confrontational style and own it.

You may find direct communication gets any message across faster than silence, especially when it comes to strangers touching your belly. Or, if someone says something inappropriate about you, politely reframe the conversation. Create funny one-liners, or choose to ignore comments—if you can do so without resenting them later. Blog about your personal preferences, or enlist friends to communicate your wishes to others in your social circle.

3. Be consistent with your responses.

If you ask someone to respect your personal space, reinforce this by continuing to respond in kind. Even if one day you choose to be vocal and another you choose silence, relay the same overall message.

4. Practice what you preach.

Boundaries are a healthy part of all relationships. Do your part by respecting other people’s boundaries as well. Always speak with kindness, and give people more space than you may want or need from them at times. Instead of moving someone’s hand to your belly so they can feel your baby move, ask if he or she wants to experience this with you. Always ask permission before you delve into sensitive topics, and treat others as you want to be treated.

Pregnancy etiquette takes time to learn and apply to real-life situations. Give yourself grace and others, too.

You’re halfway there! Throughout your pregnancy questions may come up. Don’t hesitate to speak with your provider about everything that’s on your mind. Learn more about the birthing center at Helena Regional Medical Center.