Friday, September 25, 2015

{7 QT 20} - 7 Ways to Ask About a Pregnant Lady's Health (Without Sounding Like You Think She Might be Dying)

Original Image from Pixabay.
Some weeks ago, I wrote a post on why I didn't like being asked how I was feeling during my first pregnancy. The pattern seems to have held pretty consistently for this one. The first few times I got asked how I was feeling were like hearing a china cabinet go crashing to the floor.

I tried to be nice, and I succeeded. No, really I did! However, I think business cards with a link to that post might be in order.

Still, I feel like I need to give those people who ask because they mean well some options. Nobody asks with the intention of guaranteeing that I answer the same question fifteen times in the space of three hours, but the end result is the same. At the end of the morning, I've answered the same question fifteen times.

So, without further ado, here are seven ways to ask about the health of an expectant mother, without sounding like you think she might be dying!

"When is your next OB appointment?" or "When was your last OB appointment?" - This works well if you don't see any cause for concern - she doesn't look unusually tired, or anything - you're just asking socially. This has the advantage that she'll probably volunteer some details about that appointment - what happened or what she's expecting to happen. Or, you could follow up with questions about whether she's expecting an ultrasound.

 Another good social way to ask how mom and baby are doing is to smile really big and ask,  
 "Have you been feeling the baby move?" This focuses on a positive aspect of pregnancy. Generally speaking, expectant moms love it when they can feel the baby move, as long as she's not getting kicked in the bladder, kidney, lung, stomach, or liver (she usually isn't). (She'll probably gush!) 

All too often in conversation, mom's attention is glued on the negative aspects of pregnancy - because people keep asking about her symptoms. She knows in her head that her pregnancy is a blessing and that it's a good thing, and asking about the good things helps her to focus on that.

"Do you have the nursery ready?" - will put her in a position to be able to talk about how they're decorating, or if they're not decorating, and if not, why not. It will also put her in a position to talk about whether the baby will start in a bassinet next to the bedside, and a number of things that are for after the birth. Positive stuff, right?

If you've asked about the nursery too recently, you can substitute some other thing she's going to need to make sure are prepped. {baby food stocked, freezer meals prepped, cloth diapers ready, breast pump parts checked and cleaned, you get the idea!}

Okay, from here on, the questions are mostly geared for if you take one look at mom, and you're a little concerned. She might look a little emotional, or tired, or frustrated, or maybe you noticed that she had a little bit of a struggle getting up out of the pew in church - more than she did last week, anyway.

If that's the case, it's unlikely that she really wants to entertain specific questions about the pregnancy (she might really not be feeling well), but it is very likely that she'd appreciate some help (because she might not be feeling well).

"Can we bring over dinner one night this week?" - this asks two questions in one - "would you appreciate it if we made dinner one night?" - which allows mom to politely accept help, and "are you feeling up to company?"

If she declines, you can follow up with, "not feeling up to company, huh?" and she'll be at liberty to provide more details. They might just be busy.

Of course, if she'd be grateful for the meal, but isn't feeling up to company (or cleaning the house, or whatever), consider offering to prepare one of these freezer crock pot meals for her - something she can thaw out and dump into her crock pot whenever it's convenient. The great thing about these freezer crock pot meals is that they are easy to assemble (not much time commitment - chop everything up and throw it in a gallon-sized Ziploc!) and they don't taste like leftovers (because they're cooked for the first time when you take them out of the freezer).

If she accepts, make sure you ask if there are any food allergies to be worried about for the family. (She has maternity brain, and may forget to volunteer that information.)

Starting at around the sixth month, preparations for baby will be well underway, and she's likely to have received a fair few gifts... of course, it'll be at about the same time as she's really starting to pack on pounds - having a lot of extra weight to carry around and a lot of extra work to do is not a good combination.

"I have some time on [day]. Do you need help getting things ready?" will get you some information, and you might get a chance to go rifling through all of the cute little baby goodies that she has been getting! This would be especially awesome in the weeks following a baby shower!

If she really looks worn out, you could try, "Can I take [Insert kids' names] to [activity] one day this week?" - Sure, this one would required that you have time in your schedule to pick up the kids and take them to the library, the zoo, the park or the movies this week, but if you think mom really looks like she needs a break and you're really concerned about her, this would be a big boon.

Saying "Can I" instead of "Would you like me to" is actually a big difference. It's all the difference between Could I do this? You mean I can! Really? and Do you want help taking care of the kids while you're convalescing?

I can't stress that difference enough - nobody likes to feel like she's a burden, and while an offer to just "babysit" would probably not go far amiss, Mom might feel the need to do something in return.

Or, if you're really looking to take good care of her, "Would you like me to come over and take care of [Insert Chore], so you can rest?" isn't too bad a way to go. You've made it clear that you want to help her out and you've just offered to take something that she probably doesn't really want to do off of her to-do list.

Expect to see her melt into a little puddle of gratitude, if she's been looking really tired.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain't the Lyceum! 


  1. Yes to all of this! I was the first among most of my family, and all of my friends, to have a baby, and I found that a lot of people just had no idea what to say. So most people tended to say nothing. Getting lists like this out there help so much!

  2. Glad to be of service! :-)

    A lot of people I know feel like they need to say "something", but they don't know exactly what they should say, so most of them default to asking how I'm feeling. I know they all mean well, but answering the same question over and over gets repetitive!