What not to say to a woman in labour
These words are best avoided when talking to a woman in labour
Labour can be a scary, painful and certainly life-changing experience and most are glad to have a birthing partner with them as they go through it. Having said that, there are pretty strict rules on what should not be said to women in the throes of childbirth. Fathers-to-be, take note. It’s not an opportunity for jokes or self-indulgence, it’s time to man-up.
1. ‘I feel your pain’
Eh, no you don’t actually. You couldn’t possibly know what it’s like to squeeze an 8-pounder out of your uterus after a 24-hour labour when pain relief measures barely took the edge off. Hold her hand, rub her back, empathise - but don’t tell her you know how she’s feeling. You don’t.
2. ‘Does it hurt that much?’
Yes, it bloody does - more than you’ll ever know. And yes it’s worse than the time you broke your leg. Refer to point no 1.
3. ‘Imagine, you’ll have your figure back soon’
We can’t think beyond the moment of childbirth and we don’t want to be reminded of the 3 stone gained in pregnancy, thanks all the same. No back-handed compliments at this time.
4. ‘But you said you didn’t want an epidural?’
No matter what is written on her birth plan, a woman in labour is entitled to change her mind. Don’t question her judgement or ability to endure pain - she knows her body. If she had originally wanted whale music and a home birth and is now screaming for an epidural, that is her prerogative.
5. ‘I’m hungry/tired/cold/bored’
You may be but it’s not about you. She won’t care about how you are feeling because all her energy is focused on delivering your precious cargo safely. You can tell her later, although she probably won’t be listening then either!
6. 'That wasn’t so bad, was it?'
A real no-no. Even if is after the event and she’s all peaceful and relaxed and cosy with her newborn, don’t suggest that it was easy. Women have memories like elephants.
7. When do you think you’ll want another one?’
Don’t. Even. Go. There.
8. ‘When do you think we’ll be able to have sex?’
See point no 7.