My Bump, My Belly, Hands Off My Belly

Updated: Aug 31, 2018

There is nothing quite as magnetic as a pregnant belly. People are just drawn to it. Why is the pregnant belly so tempting for people to touch? We can’t keep our hands off our own bellies while we’re pregnant but not every mum-to-be enjoys her baby bump being touched.

One of the most noticeable changes that comes with pregnancy is the complete disregard for your personal space. Suddenly, even strangers feel entitled to tell you what to do and to put their hands on your body, to reach out and touch your belly, something they would never think to do if you were not pregnant.

Touch is the core of communication. We are hardwired to touch. It’s why, when a friend is upset, you instinctively reach out and touch them. It’s why we kiss our partners, and it’s one of the many reasons why we kiss our babies. Touch communicates in a way that language can’t.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s okay. I believe most people don’t even realise how violated some expecting mothers may feel when someone touches their belly without permission. So, what are you feeling for? Even though the gesture is meant in admiration for carrying a baby and in kindness, it can feel very invasive. You wouldn’t randomly think about walking up to a woman and touching her breast, so stay away from the bump.

Every mother is different, just like every pregnancy is different. Some bumps are off-limits, and that’s okay. Therefore, it’s about time the general public receives a lesson in pregnancy etiquette. The etiquette of touching the baby bump is do not touch someone’s belly unless you are invited to and make sure that the woman whose belly you want to touch is completely comfortable with you doing so, it’s just basic respect. Respect the mother’s-to-be personal space and keep your hands to yourself.

Did you know that in October 2013, the state of Pennsylvania (USA) made it illegal to touch the belly of a pregnant woman without her permission?

And when people don’t respect your bump, short of wearing a sign around your neck that says “Hands off the belly!”, take this advice reach out and return the favour – if you rub my belly, I rub yours!

It is your body, your pregnancy, your baby. No matter whom it is, when it is or where it is, do not hesitate to say a firm NO.

My body, my rules!

Did you notice during pregnancy how interested other people became in your bump? Did you notice that some of them become so fascinated that they couldn’t help but reach out and touch it? How do you feel about people touching a pregnant woman’s belly—totally unacceptable or no big deal? How do you recommend dealing with people who want to touch your pregnant belly?


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