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5 Common Pregnancy Practices That Need To End (& Why)

By Devan McGuinness |

When I was pregnant for the first time I remember soaking in every book, abiding by every ‘pregnancy rule’ and basically treaded as lightly as I could. Makes sense when you think about it — I was finally pregnant with a pregnancy that was finally doing well after multiple miscarriages and I didn’t want anything to go wrong. I lost trust in my body and its ability and I bought into the weird myths and silly practices that seemed standard when it came to pregnancy.

Now that I am a veteran mama with three kids, more multiple miscarriages and currently trying to conceive baby number 4, I’ve thought a lot about the silly common practices — these unwritten rules that seem to just be the ‘norm.’ I’ve already shared what I hope to do differently in my own pregnancy and since then I’ve thought more about the unwritten rules and practices that have become all too common for my taste.

Click through to see what 5 popular pregnancy practices I think should be stopped and why:

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Common Pregnancy Practices & Why They Should End

Can't Share Until After The First Trimester

There is a widespread idea that when first pregnant, we should keep the news to ourselves. The idea is that we shouldn't tell "in case something happens during the tricky first trimester."

Why do I hate it? While I believe everyone should share when they feel ready, I don't like the "rule" that we can't "in case." I think this sets women up for complicated grieving process should miscarriage happen and tells us to keep it silent.

Related: Why I Hate the 12 Week Rule

Photo credit: photostock

:: What common pregnancy practice do you hate the most? ::

Read more from  on Accustomed ChaosUnspoken Grief
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Photo credit: modified from photostock


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About Devan McGuinness


Devan McGuinness

Devan McGuinness is the writer of the lifestyle blog Accustomed Chaos. After surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan founded Unspoken Grief, a resource and support site for perinatal and neonatal loss. Read bio and latest posts → Read Devan's latest posts →

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22 thoughts on “5 Common Pregnancy Practices That Need To End (& Why)

  1. Nolie says:

    I think a woman should tell when ready as well. I told my family as soon as the stick told me I was pregnant all 3 times. My first ended in a miscarriage. My family knew so was able to support me.

    I loved my midwife. No cervix checks, she believes their is no point and baby will come when baby comes.

    The one I hated was the weight check. With my last baby I had a midwife and loved that I did not get weighed.

  2. Stefanie says:

    Do most doctors/midwives/etc check the cervix often, or only in higher risk pregnancies? I go to a big OB practice and they never checked my cervix until my final appointment which was the day before my due date… and it was only once they sent me to the hospital because I had started having contractions that morning.

  3. Mary B. says:

    Agree with all of this. And if we’re going to be nit-picky, it’s sex, not gender. Two very different words, two very different meanings.

    On cervical checks: I didn’t have a single one until my water broke, which I’m pretty sure is policy with my midwives. I would have declined them if they had been offered any earlier, not just due to the risk of infection or because they don’t reslly provide much useful information, but due to the fact that my mother-in-law told EVERYONE when her niece was three cm dilated in the weeks leading up to the birth. Ick.

  4. ariela says:

    Thank you for posting this, all of these needed to be said! I totally agree with every single one of these. Thankfully, I’ve been able to avoid all of them, with this, my first pregnancy (told people about it when I felt like it, didn’t do ultrasounds, no cervical checks (well, I tried to check myself yesterday, at 39 + 2 days but couldn’t reach!), and certainly won’t be saying my baby was ‘delivered’ by anyone but me! That one really bothers me and I try to correct people when they say it.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I also hate it when couples say, “WE are pregnant!” The man is NOT pregnant, the woman is. They can say, “We are having a baby.” That is appropriate wording!

  6. Giselle says:

    I just gave birth 8 months ago and I degree with all of them!

    I told right when I found out i was pregnant. My inlaws wouldn’t let me tell anyone in their family, but everyone else knew. I don’t like the shameful stigma of a miscarriage. It’s not fair. That was a baby and the mom and family should be free to share and grieve openly IMO.

    My drs were serious about the 19 week anatomy apt, but I did know they would be able to check for gender too.

    My obgyn did not do any vag checks at all. I was surprised bc I read to not allow them and was prepared to decline. When I went to the hospital in labor a cervical check was required.

    I was surprised to read due dates are just estimates. Funny thing is, my Son came on his due date at 12 am lol. I felt really superstitious of my due date so nobody knew the real date :D .

    Finallly, my dr almost missed my birth. I never said delivery. I didn’t order a pizza!!! I gave birth to a baby boy. It was me. Nobody else. I almost did it with just my doula, husband and the nurses who were in awe. Lol. I labored 2 hrs and gave birth on my hands and knees in 15 min. My obgyn caught my baby and placed him on my chest.

  7. Janet says:

    The due date thing always bothered me. They base it on the date of your last period and since I wasn’t actually keeping track, I had no idea when that was. I guessed, so the birth date was a guess too. Another thing that bothered me (more of something that personally happened to me) was what one of the nurses said during an early check up I had with my OB/GYN. I was older (38) when I got pregnant and the woman actually said to me in a very serious way, “wow, you’re lucky to be pregnant”. If I wasn’t such a nice person, I would’ve told her to FUCK OFF!, but I am and I just smiled while silently burning a hole in her head with my evil stare. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that was a completely inappropriate thing to say.

  8. says:

    I had a midwife and she wanted to do a cervical check even earlier than 36 weeks. I told her I didn’t see the need to and felt it could potentially introduce bacteria to my cervix or disrupt it – and unless it would benefit the pregnancy in some way, I didn’t want it. She was fine with that. I never let them check until the day I went to the hospital. Even if it did tell them if I was ‘getting close’ I didn’t care. Labor would start when it would start.

    Totally agree on due date not expiration date. Plus the ‘due date’ just means you’re to term. No one really knows the due date except the baby.

  9. Jennifer Mielke says:

    I agree with all of these practices needing to change except the cervix check. I am thankful my OB checked mine at my 35 week appt. I was in labor and had absolutely no clue. So they found I was 6 cm dilated, and got me hooked up to a moniter. Turns out I had been having pretty strong contractions and had no I idea. I never felt any of my contractions at all. A few hours after I got admitted to the hospital I felt the need to push and did so. I can only imagine that I would have had my baby at home, 5 weeks early, and he may not have done so well if my doc hadn’t checked. Because it turned out my son needed the steroid shot for his lungs and to be rushed to emergency surgery.

  10. Audra says:

    Amen to all of that! With my third, I had asked for an epidural. I had to wait for one full bag of fluid and then for the anesthesiologist to arrive. Just two hours after arriving at the hospital and having hard labor the whole time, the PA pronounced me just 7 cm (although I had the urge to push from 5cm) and had the anesthesiologist come in. I was so frightened to finish delivering the baby with the labor pain I was having – especially if it would be several more hours. Well, the moment I sat up, I went complete and was sitting on baby’s head! As the anesthesiologist was STILL trying to clean me up for the epidural, I had a contraction and bit the PA’s shoulder in pain. She checked me right away and 5 minutes later I was holding my baby!

    With that said, I’d add that the “rule” that labor progresses about 1cm per hour needs to go – with my first 2, I was given pitocin to make sure I progressed at about that rate. Ugh! If I have a fourth, things will be VERY different!

  11. Jodi Rives says:

    Amen, Jennifer! My LEAST favorite thing is when people say “We’re pregnant.” Sorry, buddy, if you can pee, sleep, eat, walk, and breathe normally, YOU AIN’T PREGNANT. Just stop saying it right now. I also REEEEEEAAALLLY dislike “preggers.” Annoying as hell.

  12. Darcie says:

    I think you all just want something to bitch about, seriously. You just took everything that most women think is exciting and spun a negative twist on it. I told everyone as soon as I was pregnant, both times. So I agree there. I also found out the sex of both of my babies, and was excited, but that does not mean in anyway that I wasnt concerned of potential health risks about my child. I understand about checking the cervix, and it wasnt done often by my OBGYN, only during delivery, because I already was crampy the last 3 weeks of 2nd preg. The Due Date!? Seriously. Isnt it at least a little helpful to know roughly when baby will be here? Now your just nit picking… Delivered by, yes, mom, OBVIOUSLY. One you didnt mention that I was surprised not to see was induction. But I’d disagree anyway, if I hadnt gone in to be induced (I wasnt, they only broke my water, no pitocin) my daughter may not be here. She was swimming in her own poop, meconium asperation can be very serious.

  13. Roslynn says:

    Totally agree on them all. I’m due in mid May, and I HATE when people ask me when the “exact” date is. That’s so dumb in my opinion. What do they want me to say? Yes, it’s May 14th at 4:34 a.m.??? Oy.

  14. Darcie says:

    Oh right, WERE pregnant… I didnt get that way myself did it. I enjoy sharing in the excitement of bringing a child into the world with the man I love. How would you feel if he said “Oh you want me to change/feed/play with Baby? But I didnt have the baby you did.”

  15. bwsf says:

    Know what makes for an even more complicated grieving process? Having to tell the entire world you miscarried, because you told them all about the baby. Personal experience. Tell if you want to, don’t if you don’t want to. There IS no rule.

  16. Jamie says:

    The scary thing about not telling until after 12 weeks rule is that doctors are starting to not want women to make appointments until after the first trimester. For whatever reason the doctor has decided. I sure don’t know why this has come about, though I spectulate it has everything to do with not wanting to deal with miscarriages. I hope that most doctors still allow women to make appointments as soon as they find out and see them if the horrible comes to pass and they miscarry (whether it seems that medicial attention is needed or not.) I don’t know if this is just something happening in my area of the world or not. For my first baby, I couldn’t get an appt. with an OB/GYN until I had medical proof that I was indeed pregnant (a filled out sheet from a medical professional–I went to PP.) And then they wouldn’t see me until 8-10 weeks. I’m almost five months with my second and when I called at 6 weeks and said I had the medical proof I was pregnant and could I get an appt. this time they wouldn’t see me until 12 weeks. I was like…oooookay. I miscarried before my first baby, not even knowing I was pregnant. It was fairly obvious I had miscarried. I won’t recount the details. When I called my local clinic scared out of my mind, they asked a lot of questions and said it didn’t seem I was in any danger and I should just forget about it. They weren’t that blunt really, but that was the gist. Mental-healthwise I would’ve have handled that better if I had been able to see a doctor face-to-face. That’s how I feel. So, to wrap this somewhat rambly comment up, I think the stimga surrounding the 12 week rule is starting to affect the care we recieve from the medical staff. The same can be said for the “due date” and cervix check. If things aren’t going the way the doctors think it should, they reach for the Pitocin, synthetic oxytocin. Sometimes way too soon. Give our bodies a chance to make that chemical on it’s own please. Sometimes labor is slow. It doesn’t follow an exact timetable. I’m sorry? Am I cutting into your tee time? Sorry to get sarcastic at the end there. The doctors in my area leave a lot to be desired.

  17. April says:

    I had twins and was high risk the whole time. So my cervix got checked every appointment almost to check for early labor. I was 3 cm dilated from about week 28 to week 35. Bedrest to prevent it from getting worse. My poor son had a bruise on his head from being stuck down there for so long.

    I don’t think people should tell everyone till after 12 weeks because you don’t want random people commenting on your miscarriage because they can be less than sympathetic. I do think you should tell close friends and family.

  18. April says:

    Interesting to hear another woman claim not to feel any contractions the whole labor. I didn’t either. I dilated to 8 cm without feeling a thing. The only reason I went to the hospital was because I felt my son’s head moving down there and was weirded out and knew something was up. If I had not gone in I probably would have had them the next morning and that would not be good as it was twins and one was breech and we don’t know nothing about birthing no babies!

    So the doctors tell you you will KNOW you are in labor, but that is not true for everyone!!! I wish they would be more honest because apparently there are women that don’t feel anything. I felt pain the first time I went into premature labor at 28 weeks and they stopped it but when I went into labor again at 36 weeks I felt nothing. Trust your instincts because if you think you have to wait to go to the hospital till you are in pain, it may never happen and then you have to deliver the baby yourself.

  19. deborah says:

    what bother me is that women and their dr will induce early because the women is tired of being pregnant.

  20. deborah says:

    when I was pregnant the first time, my husband wanted to wait till after the first time. I couldn’t. I told my mom. I told everyone. It was mine news and something like how could i keep it from my mom?? I then Had a miscarriage around 10-11 weeks t. I am glad I told her, I needed her. My husband was there for me also, but it was nice to have my mom.

    Then, when I got pregnant again, later that year, he again wanted to wait till after the first tirmister. I said no, I will wait till Christmas-it was around Thanksgiving when I found out. I couldn’t even hold it in for a month. I had to tell my mom. I don’t think a women have to wait anyone she wants to, as long as the father, (if you believe he will be a good father) knows first.

  21. BRITTANY says:

    I think cervical checks are important. I have had 2 pregnancies, the first being healthy. The second, I delivered very premature. I think they should be done close to the end because it helps see if anything maybe going on. I blew the contractions off the second one thinking they were braxton-hicks. Sometimes people don’t know they are in laybor…rather safe than sorry

  22. Heather says:

    I completely agree with all of this. Thank you for this post. The “due date” point especially. I’m a doula and my clients have talked with me about being upset that they’re ‘OVER’ their due date. This is an arbitrary date assigned by how big your baby is. There are a lot of occasions where doctors will “change your due date” after an ultrasound & measuring stats. I encourage women to give the time of the month that they’re “due” for their expected time. The “end of July” or “beginning of February” works just as well, and then you don’t have “good wishers” calling you to hassle you to see if you’ve “had that baby yet?”.

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