What not to say to an overdue pregnant woman

Every woman when announcing their first pregnancy to friends, family and loved ones will hear the same thing: “expect to go overdue!”

You’ll be told that an average healthy pregnancy and ranges anywhere from 38- 42 weeks and statistically first time mothers are on the longer end of that scale.

You will hear this information, and you will nod and smile, but if you’re anything like me, you will choose to believe that it is not relevant to you.

I convinced myself that any child of mine would be as punctual and impatient as I was; if anything, I expected her a couple of weeks early. No dice.

I sit here typing this at 40 weeks, 5 days pregnant. I am huge, sore, uncomfortable and no longer channeling my inner pregnancy goddess.

After your due date everything starts to become slightly more irritating and the “helpful” advice given by everyone from friends to strangers in the street can make you want to scream.

For the sanity of myself and for future stressed out overdue mothers, I have compiled this short handy list of “what not to say after due date has passed”.

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Baby will come when baby is ready, don’t be impatient.

How do you know this? Did she tell you? I was unaware that you had communicated with the baby! How wonderful, how is she? Comfy I trust. Actually baby and I had our own chat and she says your smug attitude isn’t helping matters. Forgive my impatience but after 40 weeks of sharing my body, and putting up with all the aches pains and ailments that go with that, I’m definitely ready for her to show up.

I hear sex can really help get things started.

If I were at a dinner party and loudly enquired whether the host and her partner were having frequent sex, I would be rewarded with an awkward silence. Normally this line of questioning is not considered appropriate for public discussion. When a woman is overdue however her sex life is open to everyone’s enquiries!  Yes, I am aware that sex is one the many natural ways that people claim can induce labour. I’m also aware that I’m the size of a small beached whale, have raging heartburn and require assistance just to get from sitting to standing.  Sex is the last thing on my mind and the very last thing I wish to discuss with you.

Have you tried : Spicy food/ various essential oils/ walking/ pineapple/ eggplant/castor oil/ any other old wives tale.

Yes. I’m a miserable complaining blob, do you not think I’ve at least given the spicy curry a go? I’ve tried every old wives tale you could think of. They didn’t work. If they worked people would use them. Doctor’s would recommend them and no one would have to face painful medical interventions.  I know it worked for your Aunt or Sister or best friend, but hearing about it doesn’t help me at all.

Use this time to enjoy your sleep!

I’m in constant back pain and I wake up ever half an hour to waddle to the bathroom because a full term baby is squashing my bladder. What part of that is enjoyable and relaxing to you? Also hearing about how I’m going to spend the next few years of my life as a sleep deprived zombie isn’t exactly the uplifting  message I needed right now.

Instead of saying these things to a woman past her due date, try saying any of the following instead:

Can I fetch you some chocolate? (Replace chocolate for any appropriate junk food).

The time for healthy eating and exercise has passed. The time of comfort eating bags of m&m’s has arrived. Bring an overdue woman her junk food vice and she will be eternally grateful.

Can I give you a foot/back rub?

This one works better if you are fairly close with the pregnant woman in question. Basically, everything hurts. Massages help. You can tame the grumpy beast with a 5-minute foot rub and she will love you for it.

But by far the most important thing that you could say is this:

You have not failed as a woman because you didn’t deliver your baby on time. You will not be a failure if you have to be induced or have a caesarian, even if that wasn’t the birth plan you wanted.  You are not alone in this and you will still be an amazing mother no matter when or how your baby makes its way into the world.

Nina is a 28 year old aspiring journalist who lives in the Blue Mountains. Nina has worked as a producer at Channel Seven and written for the Sydney Morning Herald.  Follow Nina on Twitter here

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