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7 Helpful Tips for Setting Boundaries with Family During Pregnancy

Setting boundaries with family during pregnancy is critical for your well-being. But it takes work!

Trust us when we say it's worth learning to set boundaries with family because you'll need to reinforce them throughout your parenting journey.

As you set boundaries, remember you're not alone!

plus size woman setting boundaries with family during pregnancy

Setting Boundaries with Family During Pregnancy

We're here to provide seven helpful tips for establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries during pregnancy and well beyond.

1. Identify Your Needs

Ask yourself what's important to you and for you during pregnancy and postpartum. And if you have a partner, include them in these conversations too.

Understanding your needs will provide a solid foundation for setting boundaries. Consider your physical, emotional, and mental well-being and your preferences for both privacy and support. 

For example, during a plus size pregnancy, there's often a focus on your body size and increased risks for you and your baby.

You can set boundaries around the conversations you're willing (and not willing!) to have about your body's ability to have a healthy pregnancy. Below, you’ll see helpful examples of phrases you can say!

Another thing to consider is who will be present at your birth and how soon after you'll allow visitors. This is an important consideration when developing your birth and postpartum plan.

While setting boundaries can initially seem challenging, it's worth noting that they ultimately lead to a more positive and manageable life. Trust us, it’s true!

Despite occasionally feeling as though you’re not in total control, it's important to remember that you have more power than you realize when setting boundaries with family during pregnancy. After all, you're the one growing life within you. 

2. Communicate Your Needs

“I” statements are powerful tools when setting boundaries because they allow you to express your needs and feelings assertively and in a non-confrontational manner.

Let's examine the difference between a you statement and an I statement.

You Statement:

“You don't need to be involved in every aspect of my pregnancy. You're always so overbearing and pushy.”

I Statement:

“I feel overwhelmed and in need of personal space during my pregnancy. It would mean a lot to me if I could navigate this journey on my own for now. Your understanding and support are greatly appreciated.”

See the difference?

plus size women Setting Boundaries with Family During Pregnancy

You'll want to clearly express your boundaries to your partner, family, friends, and healthcare providers.

And be specific!

Provide concrete examples of what you are comfortable with and what you are not. 

An example during postpartum would be, “I'm open to visitors, but I need at least 24 hours' notice.”

Now a toughie for many – practice saying no

It's perfectly okay to say no when you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, or uncomfortable. 

Pregnancy can be physically and emotionally demanding. We promise it's okay to decline invitations or requests that feel too taxing.

Below are examples of phrases you can say to set healthy boundaries during pregnancy. 

Phrases to Say When Setting Boundaries with Family During Pregnancy  

“I've noticed that certain topics cause unnecessary stress during my pregnancy. So I would appreciate it if we could avoid those conversations now.”

“I understand that you may be excited and eager to be involved, but I need some space to focus on taking care of myself and preparing for the arrival of my baby. I hope you can respect that.”

“I'm navigating my pregnancy journey in a way that feels right for me. Please refrain from offering unsolicited advice or making negative comments.”

“I understand that you have different opinions, but I have made certain choices regarding my pregnancy and parenting. I ask for your understanding and respect.”

For those with a partner, feel free to add their name to the statements so your family knows these boundaries are coming from both you and your partner.

We'll use the last phrase as an example:

“Ash and I are navigating our pregnancy journey in a way that feels right for us. Please refrain from offering unsolicited advice or making negative comments.”

Phrases for Setting Boundaries During Plus Size Pregnancy  

For those concerned about negative comments during a plus size pregnancy, you may find these phrases helpful. We share even more tips in our second-trimester week-by-week pregnancy breakdown.

“I understand that you may have concerns, but I am under the care of medical professionals monitoring my health. If there are any issues, they will address them.”

“I am practicing self-care during this pregnancy, including protecting myself from negative comments or judgments about my size.”

“I'm choosing to prioritize my well-being and my baby's well-being. So, negative comments or judgments about my size are not helpful or supportive.”

“I kindly ask that you not comment on my weight or body during this pregnancy. As I need to maintain a positive mindset and focus on the joy of bringing a new life into the world.”

“I am aware of the potential risks associated with a plus size pregnancy, and I am taking appropriate steps to ensure a healthy outcome. So let's focus on positive and uplifting conversations.”

3. Limit Exposure to Negativity

We all want to surround ourselves with positive influences and limit negativity during pregnancy.

If certain family members tend to be critical or unsupportive, set healthy boundaries around the time you spend with them or the topics of conversation.

You can also do your best to shield yourself from negative influences that may impact your pregnancy. Examples include limiting time spent on social media platforms and trying not to take in a lot of negativity from other forms of media.

Limiting exposure to negativity can reduce stress and anxiety during pregnancy. In turn, you'll be working to protect yourself and your baby's overall wellness.

plus size woman Limit Exposure to Negativity during pregnancy

4. Set Up a Support System

“I get by with a little help from my friends!” – The Beatles

No joke, pregnancy and becoming a new parent will genuinely test your relationships. It becomes apparent who your true friends are and whether they are there for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

Trust us; you'll want to identify family members and close friends who are supportive and understanding as early as possible on this journey. Share your boundaries and concerns with them, and ask for their help enforcing those boundaries when needed.

A strong support system can give you the encouragement and validation you need and deserve.

plus size mom with support system of other moms

5. Get Your Healthcare Provider Involved

Your care provider can be invaluable when setting boundaries with your family during pregnancy.

First off, we hope you've already connected with a size-friendly care provider who makes you feel heard, respected, and well-cared for during pregnancy.

Next, share with them your concerns and any specific medical concerns people comment on rather than bottling them in. 

Your care provider looks out for your mental and physical wellness during pregnancy. They can offer helpful advice on talking to your loved ones and provide reassurance.

Your care team can also help enforce boundaries with family and visitors during labor and birth. Write up that birth plan, and be sure to review it with your medical professionals! 

Now, if it’s actually a care provider you need to set boundaries with, don't worry! We have a helpful resource for you as well. 

6. Evaluate and Adjust

As your pregnancy progresses, your needs and comfort levels may change. We encourage you to continuously evaluate your boundaries and be willing to adjust them when needed.

Remember, boundaries aren't set in stone, and you're in control of communicating and enforcing what's best for you and your family. 

7. Prioritize Self-Care

Read this, and then reread it – setting boundaries is an ultimate act of self-care! And when you prioritize self-care, you can effectively enforce and maintain your boundaries. 

Self-care comes in many forms, from taking quiet moments for yourself, practicing mindfulness techniques, listening to a pregnancy podcast episode, or even getting a prenatal massage.

So, communicate your need for self-care and ask for support when necessary.

plus size woman getting haircut

By following these tips for setting boundaries with family during pregnancy, you'll establish a nurturing and encouraging environment for yourself and your baby extending far past pregnancy.

You've got this, and we're always here to support you along your pregnancy journey! 

Jen McLellan, CBE
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