What’s the worst thing you could say to a woman in labour?

‘Just calm down – it can’t be that bad,’ and other ill-advised comments to labouring women.
Woman in labour main

Woman comforted by her partner as she gives birth

You’re in labour. You’re in pain. You’re scared. You just want someone to comfort and calm you down.

What you don’t want is your partner, or anyone else for that matter, telling you to ‘calm down,’ or worse still – be quiet.

And despite everyone surely knowing that childbirth can be an extremely painful and emotional process, some people still manage to put their foot in it.

To prove this point, one Reddit user posted the question: “What is the worst thing you could say to a woman in labour?”

The internet responded accordingly. Here are our absolute favourites.

We’re in this together

“You know, I have that thing right now where your leg was numb a few minutes back, but now the blood’s coming into flow and it’s all tingly and uncomfortable so…well, I’m with you in this. We’re both suffering.”

Pointless questions

“Can they really call it ‘labour’ if you’re laying down the whole time?”

Stop exaggerating

“Don’t you think you’re exaggerating just a little bit?”

This is what you were made to do

“Your body was designed for this. Suck it up.”

It’s not that bad

“My wife has high anxiety, so I figured the worst thing I could tell her is, ‘Babe, just calm down alright. Relax, I’m sure it’s not that bad’.”

But one woman put it perfectly when she said that nothing you say will really be right, saying:

“I’ve had four kids. No matter how sweet & accommodating you think you’re being, depending on her stress and pain level at the time, anything you may say or do could be ‘wrong’. So if she says…she hates you – don’t take it personal.”

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