How to say no to people touching your belly

Cat Prestipino
4min read


Shout that at the top of your lungs at the old lady trying to touch your belly on the bus and I bet she stops.

It’s so strange. The minute that you start to look pregnant every man, woman and child feels that your belly has become common property and it’s their right to touch your belly. Because they’re not touching you, right? It’s all about the baby and feeling the baby kick.

Yes, it’s a new life. Yes, everyone is excited. But hell no - this is still my body.

The funny thing is (and I’m generalising here) as women, we find it hard to say no. We are taught from a young age to make everyone happy. So when a random stranger wants to touch your pregnant belly, it can be really hard to tell them to F*** O**!

You stand there, face frozen in a smile, nodding like a clown while they comment on your bump size/your sex life/their birth story and rubbing your (emphasis on YOUR) stomach.

We’ve pulled together some tips to try and get you through this (cough) touchy time:

Come up with some standard responses

There are going to be standard questions and comments that well meaning (but well annoying) people are going to ask you.

It is perfectly ok to say “No thank you, please don’t touch my belly” or “I’ve reached my daily quota of belly rubs today” or in the infamous words of drag queen Bianca del Rio:

The most common things that you’ll need responses to are:

Wanting to touch your belly

Sharing a birth story (that you don’t want to hear)

Commenting on your bump size

Commenting on your weight (I KNOW - WHO EVER THINKS THIS IS OK?)

Your sex life

Giving you medical advice

Take some time to work up some standard responses that you’re comfortable to say and actions that you’re happy to take when (not if) this happens.

Practice your standard responses in the mirror

They say practice makes perfect so once you have your responses, practice them. In the mirror, in the shower, on your partner.

It is going to feel uncomfortable the first few times that you say no and the more practice you have saying it, the less likely you are to get tongue tied or back down. Similarly, the more confident you are in what you’re saying, the more they will listen to you.

Remember power posing before a presentation or a meeting at work? Get in the bathroom, power pose and practice your phrases.

It’s OK to change the topic

It’s also OK to change the topic. Who are they to decide what you should talk about?

If you don’t like where the conversation is going, ask them something else. If they’re talking about their birth story, ask where they got their hair done. If they’re talking about what you should or shouldn’t eat, ask where they last went on a holiday.

There’s no reason why you can’t do what politicians have been doing for years and reject the premise of their question.

But make sure you check in on yourself

The most important thing through the pregnancy process is to produce a healthy mum and bub at the end. If all the unwanted attention or comments is starting to affect you, make sure that you talk to someone about it.

Observe what’s happening to you in those moments. Is there a particular comment that sticks around with you after you’ve removed yourself from the situation? Are you starting to feel anxious about a particular part of the birth process?

If so, it’s definitely worth talking to your GP or a mental health expert to get some extra help on this part of your journey.

And if nothing else works

May I suggest creating a magical bottle full of keep away liquid (like this funny mummy) or a t-shirt?

Caia co-founder, Cortina McCurry, recommends rubbing their belly back. She says “This always does the trick." 😉