A former reality show star may seem like an odd source for etiquette advice, but then again, it's also a strange choice for president. But unlike another notable alumnus of the industry, the former star of Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County and The Hills seems perfectly competent, because Lauren Conrad’s blog on pregnant women and the things you should never say to them ought to be required reading. Really, all the points she makes should just be common sense, but unfortunately, many seem to be born without it, so this is the next best thing.
The post (under the cringe-worthy titled topic "Ladylike Laws") began by expounding on Conrad's fondness of etiquette, "a way to show respect and reverence." Conrad is in the second trimester of her first pregnancy, and she wrote that she's already experienced her fair share of ignorant behavior with regards to her pregnancy, as has her editor. She notes that some of the inappropriate comments she's received are on topics that she never considered before becoming pregnant, so she felt it necessary to educate the masses on the right and wrong way to speak to a woman who's expecting – or just someone who you expect to be expecting.
The post covers four common missteps, but two of them actually apply to all women, not just pregnant ones. First of all, Conrad cautions, "Do not ask a married couple when they are going to have kids." This can be very hurtful to people who are privately dealing with infertility or a miscarriage, but it's also just plain irritating to those who aren't planning to have children soon, or ever. I'd also extend that rule to those who already have children; I personally started receiving questions about the possibility of a second child while still pregnant with my first and only.
The second rule should honestly be taught as soon as a person is able to form complete sentences: "Never ask when someone is due unless you are 100 percent certain they are expecting." Maybe she just had the baby last week. Maybe she ate a really big lunch. Maybe she's just shaped that way, always. Humorist Dave Barry put it best: "You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment." Just don't. There are other things to talk about, and chances are, if she is actually pregnant, she's sick to death of discussing it. Pregnancy doesn't define a woman, and she's still the same person she was last year. Try talking about the weather instead.
The third rule is "Refrain from commenting on the size of someone’s bump." A pregnant woman with an ever-growing belly (and boobs, and maybe butt, and sometimes beard) is acutely aware of all the ways in which her body is changing, and does not need it pointed out. Do not tell her that her new, wonky center of gravity is "cute." Never, ever, call her "huge," even if she's got a whole litter in there. And for goodness' sake, do not tell her that she seems like she's "almost ready to pop," because that is not how babies are born, ya dummy.
Finally, Conrad advises, "Don’t touch the belly without asking!" That is assault. It's inappropriate whether you're a stranger, a coworker, a friend, or a family member. It is never OK to touch another person without permission, and it's an especially bad idea to touch a woman's fetus by proxy, as she's likely ferociously protective of it. Ever notice how pregnant women often keep one hand on their belly? That's because they're guarding their child against weirdos who want to poke it. Don't be that weirdo.