Hands off! Third trimester mamas need loads more personal space

Posted in Stages of Pregnancy.

Science has discovered what pregnant women could have told them eons ago: by her third trimester, a woman’s need for personal space grows. By a lot.

Not only does our body expand with the developing pregnancy, so too does our emotional sense of the space around us. In other words, we feel like we literally need more room for our ever-growing tummy!

Apparently the scientific name for this is ‘peripersonal space’.

A fairly complicated experiment

The researchers say it’s like a “protective bubble”, perfectly designed to fit a pregnant woman’s body and created specifically to protect our tummy against “external threats” as we grow our baby.  

The researchers came up with this theory after blindfolding a bunch of pregnant women at varying stages of gestation. Then they set off a collection of three-minute sounds that started off sounding far away and then got closer. Each woman had to press a button when she ‘felt’ close to the sound.  

Apparently women in early pregnancy – 20 weeks or less – and those in the postnatal period, had very little sensitivity to the noise, while women in the third trimester heard everything! 

Read more on pregnancy: 

Nobody is touched more than a pregnant woman

To be honest, I found reading the method of this experiment a little confusing. I think the same results could have been achieved simply by hanging out with a very pregnant woman for a day. 

Because nobody’s body is touched more than a pregnant woman’s body. 

Between the constant doctor’s appointments, your loving partner’s snuggle-chats with the baby and the constant interest of random strangers, it’s no wonder you feel a bit hemmed in.

No doubt about it, a woman in the third trimester is going to need a lot more of pretty much EVERYTHING than her friends at the start of their journey.

Especially space.

Please ask before you touch my bump!

One of the biggest reasons for that is actually because of how many people start coming up to poke your belly when you’re in the final leg.

Some women find this sort of lovely. Others are completely put-off by it.

I was completely ruled by the mood of each day during both my pregnancies. Although, in retrospect, I found the most interest came during my second pregnancy, from the toddlers at my older son’s daycare! 

Every morning when I dropped him off (especially as D-day approached) the tiny hands would come up for a cuddle of the bump. Arguably, the cutest kind of bump pat. But on the wrong day – a bit much!

Establish pregnancy etiquette 101

If you’re feeling a little bit crowded by everyone in your life, there is nothing wrong with setting up a few solid ground rules. 

Here’s my top three: 

  1. No commenting on the size of the bump. Or how much weight the woman has gained or not gained.  
  2. No touching the bump. Unless you ask first and are told you may.
  3. No unsolicited pregnancy advice or sharing of horror birth stories.

With those boundaries firmly in place, everybody in your life should keep their hands to themselves a bit more –  leaving you and your bump to keep growing in peace! 


Get more babyology straight to your inbox