Hands Off My Bump

pregnant mom feeling her bump

A modern woman’s guide to bump touching etiquette, Part I  

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Im 23 weeks pregnant with number #3 and hate people touching my bump. I love my personal space, regardless of pregnancy. My boobs are also much bigger, but thankfully people are holding off reaching out for them too!

If you’ve ever been pregnant, or you’re pregnant right now, you’ll know pregnant bellies hold a fascination for a huge part of the population. Whether you’re into snug maternity wear or prefer the giant t-shirt approach, as soon as someone realizes you have a bun in your oven a disconcerting number of people are possessed with a desperate urge to…. TOUCH.

Some women love it, and some women hate it. In this article we’ll explore all the whys and why nots of bump touching, and give you some handy hints on how to (politely) tell people to keep their sticky mitts off your belly.

When we asked women about bump touching we got a huge response. And unsurprisingly people fell firmly into two camps:

The touch-my-bumpers

Some women had no problem with bump touchers. In fact they found it pleasant, and enjoyed the attention their growing baby was receiving.

Tanya McNaughtan commented that bump touching “Didn’t worry me at all. It was nice that people were so excited about a new life, even though they didn’t know me from a bar of soap”.

 Sam Jones told us, “I felt it was nice that my baby knew people were wishing her well”.

While Julia Louise Vella felt that “It’s a miracle and a happy thing. I think it’s kind of wonderful that people are drawn to touch your bump. They just want to feel the excitement I guess”.

While most were cool with family and close friends, as Ellice Coffey put it the majority found “Work colleagues and strangers a bit creepy”.

The anti-bumptouching brigade

On the flip-side, many women hated the idea of bump touching. As Janet Timmins put it, “There are just so many weirdos out there. I had a creep try to kiss my bump”.

Kell Lyra Hemus told me “I didn’t like my belling being touched by random people. Hey would you go up and touch a person randomly if they weren’t pregnant? No? Then why is it okay when they are?”

She told me a tale about a supermarket encounter.

“I had a woman rub my belly in a supermarket so I reached over and rubbed hers saying ‘It doesn’t’ feel good, does it?’ She replied with ‘Yes, but you’ve got a baby in yours’, and I answered (in my best condescending tone), ‘And whose baby is it, exactly?’”

Many found the older generation were keen bump touchers. Sarah Ingram recalled that “One day an old man tapped my bump really hard with a kind ‘Not long’ while I doubled over in pain.”

Heather Lindsay went so far as to say that uninvited bump touching could be classed as physical assault.

“As a nurse I couldn’t touch a patient without their consent, so why shouldn’t it be the same for pregnant women. Uninvited touching equals assault, even if no injury occurs.”

The maybe crew

Some women had mixed emotions about bump touching. Chantal Harrison commented: “It’s a very strange invasion of personal space, but I didn’t mind it”.

Whatever your feelings about bump-touching, it’s important to remember it’s your body and your bump. So the decision to let someone pat it is entirely yours.

How to deter bump touchers

Recommendations for avoiding bump touchers ranged from simply turning the bump away and a firm “I’m not comfortable with that” to slapping the hand away and pouring coffee on the prospective bump toucher.

Jemma Kazzi had a unique suggestion.

“I remember a girlfriend who use to pretend to reach for the person’s crotch and stop just short saying, ‘Oh my God. I’m so sorry, I thought that’s what we were doing—touching each other’s private places without asking’.”

Another commenter told people it was common knowledge that bump touching meant you’d get pregnant. “That put plenty of people off.”

Time to get a t-shirt printed?

Many women advised that one of the best ways to avoid bump touching was to get a t-shirt printed. Cary Pichler told me his wife brought a T-shirt with “Don’t touch the bump” written on it.

Other suggested t-shirt text included:

  • “If you didn’t put it there, don’t touch it!”
  • “Look but don’t touch.”
  • “Can I feel your belly first?”
  • “I’m not a petting zoo.”

And, of course, the more succinct “Hands off” and “NO”.

Are you a bump toucher?

Of course, while we might not like having our own bumps touched, we too can be tempted to touch others. Melanie Miller told me “I do it, then apologize because I’ve fondled them without permission. Only friends though, never strangers”.


Over to you

How do you feel about people touching your bump? Were you fine with it, or did it freak you out? And how did you discourage people from touching your bump?

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