10 Most Popular Fetal Nicknames

Funny Things You Call Your Baby Before Birth

Ultrasound of a Baby
Photo © BSIP/UIG/Getty Images

When you find out you are pregnant, you probably may already be thinking about what to name your baby after he or she is born. The problem is, you may want to wait until after the baby is born to give the baby a name, for a variety of reasons, including not wanting to share the name or simply wanting to ensure that the name fits the baby. This is where fetal nicknames can come in handy.

Fetal nicknames are what you call your baby before he or she has a name.

This could be before you find out if your baby is a boy or girl or it could be for the entire pregnancy and even into the early postpartum days, if you delay giving out baby names as long as we do in our house.

In essence, a fetal nickname is a way to bond with your baby. A way to call your baby something other than it or the baby. So what names do people often use? Here are the ten most popular fetal nicknames:

  1. Cletus the Fetus


  2. Bean (and variations jelly bean and baby bean)


  3. Spawn


  4. Thumper


  5. Peanut


  6. Bump


  7. Spud


  8. Baby


  9. Octopus


  10. Junior

Describing the Baby

Some families use names that means something to them like a family name that they wouldn't actually name the baby, like Matilde or Herbert. Some families describe the baby: "Kickypants" was one shared with me on Twitter or you could go with original names like we did for our eighth baby: Ocho. It's something personal. You don't even have to share this name, but the vast majority of moms reported that having a fetal nickname felt good to have during pregnancy.

Other People Using the Nickname

Sometimes, if you use the nickname enough, other people will begin to use this name as well. While it might be cute to joke around with your partner about your baby "Spawn", you might not be as happy when a co-worker puts "Welcome to the World Spawn" on your baby shower cake at the office.

 This is certainly something to keep in mind as you come up with nicknames and share them intentionally or accidentally with others.

Code Words

Using a fetal nickname is also a great way to have a code word for before you've told everyone that you're expecting. Let's say you chose the fetal nickname Henrietta. If your partner is trying to offer you a drink at a party and you want to remind them you're not drinking, you could say, "I can't Henrietta is coming over later." This alerts your partner without alerting everyone else.

After the Baby is Born

Some people worry about the fetal nickname sticking around after the birth. This is certainly true for some families as they have grown accustomed to the name and using it, even if they don't actually name their baby the nickname. One family shared that they called the baby bitty baby in utero. After birth, the name stuck around for a few months as they worked on dropping it from their vocabulary.  First they dropped the word baby, calling their son simply bitty.

Then one day they realized that a grown man probably wouldn't want that nickname and they used his given name at every chance. 

Whatever nickname you choose, and whatever reason you choose to use one, know that it is completely normal. 

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