10 Things Not to Say to an Overdue Pregnant Person

Pregnant woman standing in front of calendar

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Overdue pregnancy is not a disease. It is also very common. In fact, as many as half of babies born will go past their due dates. This is something many pregnant people don't adequately prepare for. So when their due date comes and goes...it's annoying. On top of being annoyed that the baby is incapable of reading a calendar, they have to deal with well-meaning people who say things to them that are likely to get them in trouble.

Things You Shouldn't Say to a Pregnant Person Who's Past Their Due Date

Here's what not to say—plus some possible reasons why a pregnant person may find them offensive.

Now, When Was Your Due Date? 

If someone says this to you, try not to bite their heads off. This may actually be valid. So many times, the due date is thrown off by a late ultrasound or how your baby is measuring, which are the least accurate ways to determine when your baby is due. All of that said, babies can't read calendars and not every pregnant person gestates the exact same about of time.

Your Belly Sure Is Huge

Ouch. The size and or shape of a pregnant abdomen has nothing to do with when the baby is due and may not have anything to do with the size of the baby. More often than not, it is based on the position of the baby and the birth parent's body type.

Are You Sure It Isn't Twins? 

Of course, you're sure. Your doctor or midwife would have told you long before now if they even remotely suspected it was twins. The rate of surprise twin birth has dramatically decreased, particularly with the use of ultrasound. Now please don't punch this person.

Have You Tried... 

Insert a long list of comments and old wives' tales on induction methods to be used at home. These are as great as they sound. Though, unlike their medical counterparts, do not have much science behind them.

When Will You Be Induced? 

The general answer from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is at the end of forty-two weeks into pregnancy. That said, there are some medical reasons for induction of labor prior to this date, but that's a discussion for you and your practitioner to have.

Don't Sit There, Your Water Might Break! 

The good news is that the majority of the time, your water won't break until labor is well established. In fact, it only breaks before labor some of the time. Sit wherever you like.

Doesn't the Placenta Have an Expiration Date? 

Nope. While the placenta is the only disposable organ that our bodies make, they aren't ticking time bombs. If your pregnancy goes beyond forty weeks to forty-one, you will likely have special testing to make sure that baby is doing well and so is the placenta, called a biophysical profile (BPP), complete with a non-stress test. There may also be certain reasons that your practitioner is concerned about your placenta, but you'd know that well before going past your due date.

Maybe They Got Your Dates Wrong

Argh, see #1. Yes, your dates might be wrong; that still doesn't mean you're in labor.

When I Was Pregnant... 

Regaling you with stories of their pregnancy may be entertaining. If it's helpful or entertaining, let them continue. If not, fake a contraction and leave. Joking aside, you have the right to tell them that you don't want to hear their story.

Oh, Being Overdue Isn't That Bad... 

It can be nice, but when you've got someone reminding you of it or asking why you haven't had the baby yet, it's annoying. The fun guessing game of when will I have the baby does eventually get old. Some people like to remind you that no matter what you think of pregnancy, postpartum isn't exactly a picnic!

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.