5 Things you should never say to a pregnant mom
Carrying a bundle of joy for nine months is one of the most amazing and exciting journeys that moms-to-be cherish but sometimes comments from people can scare or irritate an expectant mother.
Luckily with this guide on what not to say to a pregnant woman, you won’t have to worry about offending anyone with a baby bump.
- “Your nose is so big! You must be having a boy.”
The last thing a pregnant woman wants to hear is how her facial features and body have changed due to pregnancy. It’s natural and logical that her body will change because she is carrying a human being after all, so hearing remarks about body weight fluctuations and larger body features will only make the mom-to-be feel self-conscious about herself. Rather compliment her on how well she is carrying the pregnancy or share tips about how you dealt with the all the body changes.
- “Have you picked a name yet?”
This is really none of anyone’s business. Moms and dads have their own personal pressures of finding a name and having to deal with the opinions of others on their choices will only add unnecessary strain. Some couples also prefer keeping their baby’s name private until they are born while some disclose to family or close friends only. Instead try commenting on how you look forward to hearing the name they have picked out.
- “I watched a terrible birth experience on TV…”
We’ve all seen and heard of unfortunate labour incidents. The best thing to do is to keep those horror stories to yourself. Moms-to-be do not need to hear about how scary labour is, they have probably done their own research and have their own expectations of the experience. It would be more encouraging to chat about interesting birth plans or the latest trends such as the presence of a doula at the birth.
- “Was this planned?”
What is important is that the expectant mother and her partner are having a baby. Whether the child was planned or not is imperative and may come across as judgemental. Express joy and celebrate the new arrival by being supportive and encouraging instead of critical and sceptical.
- “Are you having an epidural?”
Labour medication choices are personal to each mom-to-be and her decisions should be respected. Opinions are beneficial but attempts to force them on her may not be welcome. Though epidurals are popular, not every mother will want one. Here, encouragement would be key because by showing your support, you will allay any fears she might have and help her look forward to the day her bundle of joy arrives.
What are the most inappropriate comments you have heard?
Essential and unique items to include in your baby’s nursery
You’ve picked out the colours for your nursery and settled on décor that will express your style and make your baby’s room a little haven of bliss. The tricky part is now selecting items that are necessary for your bundle of joy without compromising on quality, style and originality.
We’ve made this process a little simpler for you by rounding up a list of essential items that can be customised to capture that essence of uniqueness. We’ve also added a separate list which you can use as a guide to ensure that you have everything you need for the nursery.
Drawer: Cupboard space is never quite enough when you have a little one. Clothing, blankets, shoes and accessories will fill up cupboards so it’s always a good idea to have a drawer that you can use to support everything you have.
How to make it unique: Buy a chest of drawers that is plain. Thrift stores are great places to purchase wooden drawers. Paint the drawers in your colour of choice or spray paint it to give it an authentic and stylish look.
Crib: The crib is where your baby will spend most of his time in the first year. Make it super comfortable by investing in a quality mattress, cover and bedding.
How to make it unique: Make it cool by adding special quotes around it. If you have a family totem, you can even get a crib especially crafted in the shape of the family totem or with it carved in front.
Wall art: Nothing makes a baby’s room look sweeter or more complete than accessories and wall art.
How to make it unique: Use foam letters to spell out your baby’s name on the wall or pick wall art according to a fairytale theme or a cartoon character.
Play pen: A traditional play pen would have some toys for your child to indulge in. These days it doesn’t have to be so simple, you can dedicate a whole room to a play pen or use one section of the room for this.
How to make it unique: Instead of having a simple play pen opt for a home based castle that can be assembled from scratch in your home. Your baby will have her very own palace that she can explore.
Baby swing: Newer swings not only move in a front-to-back motion, but also a side-to-side motion to mimic the motion of Mama’s tummy. There are several portable models for on-the-go parents, too.
How to make it unique: Sew in patches with messages for your little one from family members. This will make the swing not only a soothing place to fall asleep in for baby but a meaningful place of rest as well.
Checklist: Must have items for your nursery
Room thermometer: Babies have a tough time regulating their own body temperatures. This comes in handy to check why your baby may be struggling to sleep or is fussy.
Bookshelf: Create a mini-library for your baby that can even be used for the rest of your children.The shelf can also be used to stack other items such as diapers or to keep the intercom.
Mattress and waterproof mattress cover: Take your pick, there are foam, waterproof, organic and hypoallergenic mattresses that are available according to your personal preferences.
Nursing Chair and Pillow: A nursing chair can be any chair that allows you to sit down and feed your baby comfortably. Ideally, this chair allows you to lean, rock, swivel, and put your feet up. 7. Diapers, Wipes, and Clothes
Diapers, wipes, toiletries, onesies, socks, and mittens: You can never have enough of these so stock up as soon as you can.
Fun ways to reveal your baby’s gender
Whether you are looking for gender reveal party ideas or searching for a way to break the news to your partner or family, we’ve rounded up ideas that will make that moment extra special.
The great thing about each of these ideas is that you can customise them to suit you and your personal preferences. Depending on if you are having a boy or a girl, you could also choose a colour scheme that will convey your baby’s gender or you could go neutral and let the final moment where you reveal your baby’s sex give everything away.
Throw a baby bash
Yes the baby is still baking and on the way but you can begin to celebrate them by hosting a party where their gender will be revealed. This is not similar to a baby shower because guests are not expected to bring gifts, instead everyone can participate in guessing the baby’s gender and having a great time while at it. Get on Pinterest, set the theme, have guests cast votes, play games, create a treasure hunt, set up teams and choose the perfect reveal moment.
Let the kids do the talking
The whole family can participate in the big revealing by dressing up in cartoon characters or colours which favour a particular sex. A photoshoot with the images posted on social media or on a private family group can then inform your loved ones on what to expect.
Paint it up
Express your inner artist by creating a mini masterpiece of your baby’s gender on paint. Go to your local hardware store with a sealed envelope and ask them to give you blue or pink paint in an unlabelled can. Open the can of paint to reveal your baby’s gender with your family and ask everyone to write a sweet message on canvas. You can keep this memento in the nursery or store it to show your child one day.
Let them know you’ve won the genetic jackpot
Share your thrilling news with adorable gender reveal scratch cards. Send out a batch to close friends and relatives or distribute them during an intimate dinner.
Other ways to reveal your baby’s gender:
- We love how Tia Mowry revealed her baby’s gender on video. She baked a yummy cake, decorated it and filled it with edible accessories on the inside which spilt out when she cut the cake. You can watch this incredible reveal below.
- A simple way of letting everyone in on what you are expecting is by gathering balloons and placing them in a box to be opened by your partner. You can add a twist to this by asking a close friend or family member to find out the gender first then bring the box to you and your partner to open.
- Take a photo of baby shoes according to what you are having. Surprise everyone with the framed photo which can also stand in your baby’s nursery or in your home as a reminder of that beautiful moment.
How to chronicle your baby’s birth story
Creating a birth story for your baby will contribute to the host of special memories, mementoes and collection of pictures that you have planned for your little one.
You don’t even have to be an accomplished author or writer to ace this one. All you have to do is chronicle your excitement and encapsulate all the moments leading up to and including your baby’s birth.
To begin compiling the birth story, keep a diary specifically dedicated to the birth story and make notes of special moments. For example, start with the day your doctor told you when you would be due. Make a note of this and pencil in the date, together with an image of the sonogram.
On the day you decide on the birth plan, make a note of that too and chronicle how that experience made you feel as you made a decision on how you would give birth to your child.
If you have opted for a home birth, add that to the diary and detail why and how you plan to have the home birth. Additional details about how your partner is helping you to prepare and what you will have ready at the birth will also develop the birth story quite nicely.
Write about what outfit you chose to wear during the birth experience and what music you listened to as well as what mood you aimed to create in the room as your baby was born will add a nice touch to the birth story.
Welcoming your baby to the world is a precious moment and so details about what time you heard her first cry, who held her first, what she wore on her first day and when she started feeding will also give those privy reading your child’s birth story a strong sense of the day your child arrived in the world.
Ways to chronicle your birth story
- Compile the birth story in a journal containing all the hand written notes and images of the moments leading up to and including the birth
- Keep a video diary
- Record all the special moments in a voice journal which you can share with close family and friends or just keep in your family.
Stylish items that you will want to rock for maternity wear
Gone are the days when maternity wear consisted of oversized dresses, t-shirts and blouses that plainly covered an expectant mother’s changing figure.
Modern fashion has evolved and seen elegant and fun trends adapted for maternity styling, allowing pregnant women to also enjoy the top trends of the season.
Thami Kwazi Citi Life lifestyle editor has worked closely with celebrities in magazine styling and finding clothing that is appropriate for their body shapes even while they were expecting. She advises that moms should put comfort and feeling good about themselves first when shopping for maternity wear.
“Most women struggle with looking and still feeling sexy during the pregnancy because they worry about the public’s opinion and obviously their husband’s opinion. They still want to look sexy as a wife or a girlfriend. They want to feel comfortable in their own skin with functional maternity clothing because it is created to accommodate stretching skin and general discomfort that a pregnant woman experiences.
“Jessica Alba’s maternity style was one of the best I’ve seen. She was smart to wear trainers, she knows that high heels at that time are uncomfortable or maybe her feet are swollen and she always wants to keep herself balanced. Locally, Thembi Seete being a mature pregnant woman, which is what is happening these days thought more about feeling good in her own skin rather than what the public is going to say.
Thami says that moms-to-be should put their own health and that of their baby first.
“Women are living in a dual society where you have to please your man and yourself. No woman is going to be fine with looking frumpy and wearing oversized clothing, a woman still wants to try and look cute. Women who are getting it right are those that understand how to balance being comfortable with looking appealing and appropriate.”
Kholo Mamabolo, a Cape Town based supply chain logistics adviser who recently gave birth to her first child says most of the weight was carried in her belly. She wore jeggings, jumpsuits and maternity jeans with elastic bands around the waist, the most comfortable to wear.
“I bought a few maternity shirts which I wore to work and maternity jeans which are a must have for those shopping and chilling out days and also to accommodate the changing figure.
“Because pregnancy naturally brings about glowing skin, keep your style simple and comfortable to compliment your glow. I also found that the days I looked good I felt good, my confidence and productivity increased.”
We’ve rounded up a pick of the most stylish maternity items celebrities wore when they were pregnant so that you could also incorporate these into your closet
Actress Thembi Seete
For formal events, tutus and empire line dresses are great to tastefully emphasise your assets. We love how Thembi wore this flowing red dress to her unveiling as the face of a cosmetics brand.
In the first and second trimester, you can get away with tailored suits which have detailing around the waist to cover your baby bump.
Actress Khabonina Qubeka
Maxi dresses are not only comfy but super stylish and fun to wear. Actress Khabonina paired hers with kitten heels.
For work, stretchy skirts like the one Khabonina is wearing coupled with a shirt oozes class and sass.
TV presenter Luthando Sosha
Pyjama style paint suits in satin or cotton are a fun way to switch up your look, TV presenter Luthando Sosha wore hers with sneakers, making for a laid back look.
For a more relaxed vibe, wear trainers with a tracksuit and a body suit. We love how comfy Luthando looks!
Three Insta moms to follow for inspiration
Social media is a portal of creativity, information and great pictures that inspire and influence us to live our best lives.
Double tapping has become synonymous with putting our very own stamp of approval on what we like on Instagram and our pick of cool Insta moms will have you doing just that, because their Instagram pages are not only pretty to look at but offer practical mommy advice.
Thando Msomi, a Johannesburg based talent management specialist, wife and mother to a two-year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy has her own blog and is known as The Modern Zulu Mom on Instagram.
She offers financial advice on how to prepare for motherhood, regularly posts tips on raising a toddler and a tween, food recipes and shares her favourite kiddies hangouts.
Special factor: Thando shares cool hangouts and venues, great for birthday party ideas or when you want to find a place to entertain the kids over the weekend.
Nkateko ‘Takkies’ Dinwiddy is mom to 9 month old Sana. Passionate about fitness and striking a work life balance, Takkies has made motherhood look like one big ball of fun times, a bit of drool and sexiness.
A fitness guru who runs her own weekly dance class in Sandton, Takkies is also a social media influencer who chronicles her motherhood journey.
Her page has loads of tips on how to keep your body in shape, you’ll find videos of her working out at home while her daughter watches and she’ll challenge you to get some abs and refine your squat regime while sharing how she balances motherhood and a burgeoning career.
Special factor: Follow Takkies if you want to see how you can get your pre-baby body back, realistically and healthily.
For Olwethu Leshabane, juggling entrepreneurship, blogging and being an advocate for female sanitation while being a mom to three active boys is demanding of her time and energy but she manages to do it all with charm and chutzpah.
On Olwethu’s page, you’ll find a one stop shop on how to stay fabulous and how to exercise self-love while being a wife, mother and having an involved career.
Olwethu gives her followers advice on where to go to book the best mani and pedi, how to look your best and she shows you how to rock your post baby figure stylishly.
Special factor: We love how Olwethu’s style game is on another level. She showcases her interpretation of fashion in an effortlessly chic way.
What not to say to a friend trying to get pregnant
Trying for a baby can be a frustrating time for some couples and a sensitive period in their lives as they try to start a family.
Being cognisant of their journey to parenthood is essential, as uttering any insensitive comments can be hurtful and disparaging to a couple. We’ve come up with a list of what not to say, just in case you weren’t sure of what is deemed inappropriate.
- If you’re meant to have a baby, it will happen.
Not only is this insensitive but it can come across as rude and inconsiderate of the couples’ efforts and plans regarding their family. Better to say nothing than be negative.
- Are you sure you’re not pregnant already?
When a couple falls pregnant is none of anyone’s business. Such comments are a complete no-go and show disregard for the feelings of others.
- When was your last period?
Unless you are the gynaecologist then this question is definitely off limits.
- Maybe you’re tracking your ovulation
Trying for a baby is a private matter and the finer details such as ovulation are also not up for discussion or public debate.
- Don’t go to a doctor, try this tea instead!
While your tea recommendations may be well meaning, the last thing a couple needs to hear is what they should be drinking to have a baby.
- God doesn’t make mistakes. He’ll get you your baby when He is ready.
Respect the religious positions or preferences of others and avoid making such statements as they may come across as self-righteous.
- What sexual positionshave you tried?
Like politics and religion, sex should be left off the table when discussing growing a family. It is a private issue and shouldn’t be regarded as a matter for public consumption.
- Can you really afford a kid?
Though this is a common question to ask, it isn’t a very comfortable or nice one. Every family knows their budget and of they are trying for a child, their financial situation surely allows them to do so.
- You should just adopt instead.
Adoption is a last resort for many couples and this decision is probably one they may have thought of themselves.
- Just relax.
Just don’t even consider saying this. Starting a family is serious business and for some couples, putting in the effort to do so may be their reality.
Why these moms kept their pregnancy a secret until the second semester
The journey to parenthood is a precious time filled with surprise, wonder and remarkable moments of discovering the pregnancy, feeling your baby kick and experiencing your first ultrasound.
For some, sharing the discovery that they are expecting a bundle of joy is not a priority until the second trimester. Medically, moms-to-be are advised to wait before telling friends and relatives until the first trimester or three months has passed as the risk of miscarriage tends to be high during that period.
Neo Enzel Mcinga (29) from Pretoria East and Thabang Mabusela (33) of Irene are two moms who opted to wait until their pregnancies had progressed to the second trimester before sharing the news.
Neo is a mom to three children all aged between 1 and 10 years. She shares her experience below.
“My opinion is that it all depends on you as a person on how open you are to people. The first trimester is the most terrifying time as anything can happen that might cause a person to miscarry.
“Stress, medical reasons, falling accidentally and the list goes on things that could cause a miscarriage. To get to the point, that would be one of the reasons why I did not share the news of a pregnancy in the first trimester.
“Another reason is being ready for the attention because people change how they treat you once are carrying a baby – “they fuss” and 9 months is a long time to listen to people give lots of advice and opinions on how many kids you should have.
“Lastly I had to be emotionally ready as sometimes God plants his precious seed before you thought you were ready so dealing with it is different from person to person and for me sharing the news was not a priority as I had to focus on being emotionally ready.”
Thabang has two children, a toddler and a teenager. She shares her pregnancy experience with us.
“When I found out I was pregnant, it was not expected or planned for so I had to process all the emotions that arose. My partner and I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions, from joy to panic all at once. On some days, during the first trimester we would stare in wonder at my growing belly and become emotional as we thought of the journey ahead of us.
“The first person I told was my mother and sisters. They were all very excited but I swore them to secrecy and they agreed to wait until I was in my second trimester and ready to share. Part of the decision to wait until the three month mark had passed was because I feared losing my baby. I wouldn’t want to experience a loss with people asking questions and prying. Pregnancy for me is a very private experience and sometimes you just want to keep it to yourself and enjoy those sacred moments without having to report back to anyone.
“My partner comes from a very traditional family. We were advised by his parents that according to their culture, we have to wait until the second trimester because sharing the pregnancy before then was not acceptable. It was also a matter of introducing the pregnancy to our ancestors first and asking for their blessing before we could start telling people.”
“Personally I appreciated having three months to myself and dealing with my changing body, the morning sickness and weird cravings without explaining myself to anyone. I also just wanted to be treated normally and not have people check up on me all the time.”
What you need to know about caesareans
A Caesarean section (C/S) is performed when natural birth is impossible or unsafe.
The operation may be performed before labour begins, if there are medical reasons for not going through labour and natural birth, or if the health of the mother or baby may be in danger.
What you need to know about SIDS
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old.
SIDS is sometimes known as crib death because the infants often die in their cribs
Dealing with temper tantrums
Remember when you went shopping and your child eyed a toy they wanted but you had no intention of buying it?
Identifying a bully
Bullying is when one child picks on another child repeatedly. It can be physical, verbal or over the internet and social media.