Pregnancy/Maternity

“Please don’t touch my belly!”: How to get people to lay off the baby bump during pregnancy

Things you can do

If you’re too shy to express your feelings out loud, remember that one look can help you convey a message without having to actually say anything.

Body language is also important. When socializing, you can keep your distance and cross your arms over your belly to protect it. People will be less likely to reach out for your stomach.

If you’re feeling up for it, try to stick your own hands on their tummy with a smirk and a knowing look, and see how they react. They will likely get the message.

If nothing else does the trick, try growling like a dog when they reach out their hands. Humour will help the situation be less awkward and it will certainly have the desired effect.

Some people just won’t respect your space, even if it’s polite or the right thing to do. This might be because they don’t really understand how it makes you feel. You might have to insist, so that they grasp the extent of your discomfort. Don’t be afraid to talk it out—it’s the only way they’ll be more understanding in the future.

Here are some of the tricks our members have shared on our discussion boards that helped discourage people from touching their bellies without permission during their own pregnancies.

  • "I have every intention of touching their belly if they dare touch mine!" - LemonDrop
  • "I think just to step back gently with a smile should be enough for them to understand that the gesture isn’t welcome." - LouColou
  • "I would pretend to get a huge cough! And, for the record, I think we have a right to be rude! When people ask politely, we can tell them no, but if they pounce on us, I think we have every right to say ‘Hey, hold on a second, don’t touch me!’" - Arwen
  • "When strangers or acquaintances would touch my belly without asking for permission, I would just move their hands away and start rubbing my own belly. They understood quite quickly. At the end of my pregnancy, I nearly always had my hands covering my belly to be sure no one touched it!" - Elexa20
Let your t-shirt say it

Wear your thoughts! A lot of clothing companies realize how much issue women take with people touching their bellies without permission. As such, you can get cute graphic t-shirts that will let people know exactly what you think about the whole thing, or you can create one with an original saying of your own.

Managing disappointment

Your family and friends may feel disappointed that they can’t touch "the baby" whenever they feel like it, regardless of how you approach the subject with them. These situations are never easy, but make sure you discuss it calmly and clearly with them. You want to avoid hurt feelings that could last longer than they should.

Insist on the fact that you appreciate their excitement and want to share it with them. Let them know that a pregnancy can be a challenging time and that you want to feel like you have ownership over your own body. Tell them you would like them to respect your privacy and ask before they put their hands on your belly.

If they feel rejected, you can reassure them by telling them that when you start feeling the baby moving inside you, you’ll let them know so they can share that moment with you!

Preparing for your baby’s arrival

If you think you’ve seen it all during your pregnancy, think again. Arm yourself with a ton of patience because when the baby finally comes, you’ll notice people invading your privacy more than ever before.

Your maternal instinct might kick in when all those people start touching your baby without asking you first. Remember most people are well intentioned––they just want to give your child affection. Be nice about it and they’ll get the message.

If you have any tips you want to share with our members, please let us know in the comments section below!

Image de Mariem Melainine

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