Q&A: How to Get People to Stop Touching My Belly?

I’m pregnant, and people keep coming up to me and touching my belly. How can I tell them to back off?
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March 2, 2017
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We know, it seems like the moment your bump is visible, people — and by people, we mean everyone from that creepy uncle to complete strangers — feel the need to touch your belly. And maybe you just want to scream, “Hands off!” You’d think that keeping their hands to themselves would be a no-brainer, but in reality, many people think you’re so adorable, they just can’t resist. So keep in mind that their intentions are good before you get testy. They’re not doing it to deliberately invade your privacy. The belly is a magical thing, everyone is drawn to it.

So how do you get them stop rubbing you like a magic lamp without being mean? Make a personal rule in regard to your belly. This means deciding where you’ll draw the line and sticking to that decision, no matter who it is you’re dealing with. It also means having a stance prepared. That way, if someone asks you if they can touch your belly, you tell them, without having to think about it, “I would prefer that you don’t. I feel uncomfortable about people touching my bump.” And if they reach for your belly without asking first, be firm and direct, but polite. It’s always appropriate to say, “I would have preferred that you asked first.” They need to understand it’s not okay to do that.

The most important thing to remember? Don’t be rude or snarky. Some pregnant women decide to say sarcastic and nasty remarks. That’s very ungracious and can put both of you in an uncomfortable situation.

—Mindy Lockard, etiquette consultant, The Gracious Girl

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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