Pregnancy Euphemisms

11 Other Words for Being Pregnant

Pregnant couple laughing at the computer
Photo © Sebastian Pfuetze/Getty Images

Pregnancy euphemisms have been around for a very long time. Sometimes they are used to hide a pregnancy or to refer to a pregnancy in a funny way. This perhaps started in the days when talking about pregnancy was considered taboo or when someone was trying to hide the fact that they were pregnant or the fact that the person they were talking about was pregnant. Using code words was a genteel way of discussing pregnancy, without, you know, discussing pregnancy.

Words and Phrases Commonly Used to Refer to Pregnancy

Not all of the euphemisms you hear are considered polite but keep in mind the time in history with which they originated, and how they were used then as opposed to more recent times. Here are some of the more common pregnancy euphemisms you might hear:

  • Bun in the oven: This refers to the baby "baking" in the uterus during pregnancy. It is also used in other languages, with some changes, for example, the say roast in the oven in Germany. However, in Danish, it is referred to as a cake in the oven. And in France, they say a similar phrase: Bacon in the drawer, which has a decidedly more phallic feel to it.
  • Knocked up: This one has been around a long time, over two centuries. That said, even though we see similar terms in Danish and Swedish, we don't have a good idea of where it comes from in relation to pregnancy.
  • Baby bump: This has gained in popularity in the past decade. The bump referring obviously to the growing belly of a pregnant woman.
  • In a family way: While today this phrase tends to conjure up images of a pregnant women, it was more frequently used in the past for a man about to become a father.
  • Gestating: Gestation is the period of pregnancy, so this simply makes it into a verb. A woman who is pregnant is busy gestating.
  • With child: A direct illustration to the act of being pregnant, without saying that word.
  • Baby mama/baby daddy: This has become an almost endearing term for the person with whom you are having a baby, though originally it had a decidedly more cool connotation, as in the person I'm having a baby with but don't have a relationship with.
  • Eating for two: A gentle way to refer to a mother's growing appetite and belly in pregnancy.
  • On the nest: If you can image a mother bird sitting on a nest, this one is a way to refer to the act of gestating. 
  • Preggers: This term of endearment for pregnancy is one you tend to love or hate. Unlike many of the other items on this list, this one has a way of referring to the pregnancy as in your face and flippant.
  • Sperm donor: This is typically not a term of endearment, but reserved for the person who, well, provided the sperm and perhaps not much else. This one is not used as a nice way to say dad. (See baby daddy.)

You have to remember that in previous decades and centuries, being pregnant was a reason to stay in the house. We used to refer to the estimated due date (EDD) as the estimated date of confinement (EDC) because women were considered confined.

Maternity clothes weren't a thing, because you didn't really go out much when pregnant.

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