Oh I got fan mail or a question. I don’t know what it is, but I’m going to answer it here because he makes a good point:
Dear. Ms. Don’t Pat the Belly,
I found your blog when I was looking for data about patting a pregnant woman’s belly. When I search for this, I am always directed to your site, but I cannot find this information? Can you tell me if it hurts the mother or the baby?
So in all fairness, I emailed this person back personally because I felt like he was looking for an honest answer and I was afraid that due to the language issues I detected, I was guessing he wouldn’t get a sarcastic response that I post on my blog. But since at least 5 people a day end up here by searching similar terms, here is my response to the most common variants of this question (via search keyword data)
Is it okay to pat a pregnant woman’s belly?
It is NEVER okay unless you a) know her well and b) were invited to touch her belly. Even if you know her very well, I would err on the side of waiting for an invite.
Will it hurt to pat a pregnant woman’s belly?
This depends on who you ask. Will it hurt me? No Will it hurt the baby? Nope. Will it hurt you if you touch my belly without being invited? HIGHLY LIKELY. For your own safety I would recommend that you never touch another person’s belly (pregnant or not) unless explicitly invited to do so.
Is patting a woman’s belly bad manners?
Would you consider it “bad manners” if I walked up to you in public and patted your belly? Okay, I don’t know if I really trust your judgement since you first Googled the above question. Yes, it’s bad manners. You wouldn’t touch a non-pregnant woman’s belly, so why does being pregnant make it okay?
What can I do instead of patting a woman’s belly?
Okay, I’ll be honest this first time I saw this come up as a search term I was shocked. I’m not sure I even really know what this question means, but here are some possibilities. You could say “hi.” You could open the door for her. You could buy her flowers or get her a massage (ONLY IF YOU KNOW HER). You could respect her boundaries and not consider her pregnancy/belly public domain.
Okay, so now the 5.3 people who search some variation of the above and land on my blog tomorrow, you have no excuse for not knowing what to do next.
Ms. Don’t Pat the Belly