"So, when are you due?" It's a simple enough question but unless you're wearing a helmet and flak jacket, one it might be better not to ask.
In the early days of pregnancy you’re desperate to tell. The first 12 weeks are the longest of your life and you find yourself sticking out your still-flat belly in the hope someone will notice. But enjoy it while it lasts, because there comes a time when if you have to repeat your due date one more time you’ll scream.
As soon as your bump starts to show, you’ll be well and truly public property and the target of endless questions which range from the ridiculous to the downright rude.
It’s nice to begin with. The first time it happens you’ll happily talk scans and morning sickness with anyone who shows an interest. Then gradually you’ll see a pattern emerging until eventually you know what they’re going to ask before they even open their mouth.
"When are you due?" "Is it a boy or a girl?" "Have you thought of a name?"
Some will even ask whether you plan to breastfeed or "was it planned?" And that’s before the unwanted advice, commiserations over your massive weight gain or a blow by blow account of their own gruesome birth story.
"People are just being nice, but it’s exhausting," says Sam, 35. "At eight month’s pregnant I went to a conference where the delegates were all women, and on one short walk from my room to the lecture hall I had to answer the same questions more than 20 times. Every single one of them meant well, and not one of them realised they weren’t the first person to ask me that particular question that day."
"I wouldn’t mind if they actually listened to the answer," says Katie, 32. "But one mum at school asked my due date every time I saw her. I felt like stamping it on my forehead to save her the bother."
Then there’s the touching. Say goodbye to any concept of personal space as people think nothing of reaching out to grab your bump without thinking to ask first.