Look. But definitely do not touch

This is one for the mums-to-be out there. Or rather, one for the rest of you - to benefit them.

This is one for the mums-to-be out there. Or rather, one for the rest of you - in order to benefit them.

My good friend is currently 24 weeks pregnant with her first baby. I'd forgotten some of the annoying things that come your way in pregnancy, but she has been reminding me, and it ain’t all pretty.

Sure, much of being pregnant is special and lovely. But then you throw other people into the mix (and weeing five times a night) and some of the charm is lost.

I tend to stay away from rules as a rule (ahem), but I think that, in this case, it's worth establishing some core principles at least:

1 Look, but not too closely, and definitely don't touch. Yes, bumps look lovely; yes, you might want to know what it feels like and even to feel the baby move. But this body is no different than that of any other person; it probably won't welcome unsolicited touching. At the very least, ask first.

2 Don't comment on appearance. This relates to not looking too closely. As an MTB, you'll hear it all. In one day, you can be told "You're the size of a house!" and "Gosh, you’re tiny!" The latter is probably preferred, but why risk it. If your relationship with the mum-to-be isn't such that you would comment on her figure when not pregnant, then don't do so just because she's housing a baby.

3 You don't have to ask how the pregnancy is going or about the birth plan, but, if you do, don't then regale them with all kinds of excruciating horror stories. That's what the internet is for.

4 Finally, If in doubt, avoid the obvious topic: a pregnant lady will have more than enough conversations about pregnancy, childbirth, and child-rearing during the nine-month gestation of her baby. Some may even welcome a conversation without any of these aspects featuring.