Tag Archives: pregnant

162. Having Babies: Vocabulary / A Male Perspective

This is a follow up to the previous episode in which I interviewed my friend Amber, who is pregnant. In this episode I explain some key vocabulary to you, and discuss the issue of childbirth from a man’s point of view.

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Transcript starts here:
Hi everyone, how are you doing? I hope you’re fine and that life is generally treating you well. All’s well here at Luke’s English Podcast. I just had some soup, which was nice. It was tomato soup.

The last episode I recorded was all about having babies – creating human life and all that stuff – which is a fascinating topic, if a little bit sensitive, intimate, personal and ultimately quite heavy. I mean – it’s not a light topic is it. It’s not like chatting about cooking recipies or golf or movies or something.

“Hi how are you? Haven’t seen you in a while. What have you been up to?”
“Oh not much, just working, watched the new Tolkein movie, had a baby”
“Oh yeah, how is the Hobbit?”
“That’s no way to talk about my child!”
“No, I mean the movie – The Hobbit! How was it? I don’t really care about your baby…”
“Oh, yeah, right, well The Hobbit was pretty good yeah, and the baby’s fine”

No, it’s a fairly heavy topic, but interesting nonetheless. Also, it’s just something that comes up now and again. When you meet a pregnant woman, you’ll undoubtably have to have the ‘pregnancy conversation’ and will you know all the relevant words and phrases?

In the last episode, I didn’t get through everything, and I didn’t say everything I wanted to say on this subject. I made a list of vocabulary, so I’ll be explaining that in this episode, but also I’d like to discuss the subject a little bit from the man’s perspective, and then you’re going to listen to comedian Louis CK talking about his experience of becoming a father, which is a pretty honest and frank personal account.

Why have I chosen to cover this topic in this episode? Am I going to have a baby myself? Am I pregnant? Well, I have put on weight, and I did feel a bit sick this morning, but I think that’s beer – not a baby. But seriously it’s just because I think it’s interesting. I’d like to have kids, not right now, I’m recording a podcast, but soon and so I’m curious about all this. I’m a grown up man (honestly), and I should be well informed about these things! Also I think this is a way to introduce you to lots of new vocabulary.

So, first, let’s go through the vocab. You will have heard Amber and me say some of these things in the previous episode. How many of these words do you know? Can you use them all in your conversations? Let’s see…

Vocabulary related to pregnancy

she’s pregnant
– she’s expecting
– she’s preggars
– she’s ‘with child’
– she’s up the duff (!)
-She’s got a bun in the oven (!)
-She’s knocked up (!)
a mum-to-be
conception / The baby was conceived
Scientific/Biological terms:
a pregnancy test
morning sickness
feeling a bit hormonal
anenatal = before birth
antenatal classes
an antenatal scan
to give birth / to have a baby
due – it’s due on 30 January
the due date
my water broke
to go into labour
the maternity ward
a midwife (midwifery)
to deliver the baby
an epidural
to give birth
the birth
the baby is born
a natural birth
the umbilical chord
the belly button / tummy button
the placenta
identical twins
conjoined twins
the facts of life
the birds and the bees

More vocabulary: Some negative words & associations
to induce labour
to be overdue
a caesarean or c-section
a miscarriage
to lose a baby
a premature birth
stretch marks
postnatal depression
baby blues

Comments and opinions on pregnancy, from the man’s point of view.
Pregnancy is a wonderful thing and all that. Imagine finding out that you’re going to be a Mum or a Dad. For the man I imagine it’s a complex feeling of pride, joy, protectiveness towards the woman, and total panic. Not for all men, but for some. It’s scary for the woman of course because she goes through all these physical changes and it can feel like there’s an alien inside her, but also because she’s facing the moment of childbirth – which must be very daunting because of the pain and the danger! Not to mention the pressure of then looking after the baby when it arrives. These fears are also accompanied by amazing joy I guess, but let’s face it – it’s also pretty scary.

But it can scare men quite a lot too. Obviously, it depends on the individual, and everyone’s different. But we often hear about men’s reactions to finding out that they’re going to be a dad. A lot of men are really proud and over them moon, which is great. But some men will freak out and run a mile at the mere mention of having kids. I’m sure you’ve experienced something like that. When you’re in a relationship, and perhaps (if you’re a girl) you bring up the subject of children, and your boyfriend just freaks out, avoids the question, gets defensive or perhaps just refuses to even talk about it. Guys, you know what I’m talking about, right? When that subject comes up, you just want to say “Woah there!” or just “Um, I’ve just realised that I’ve got to go… yeah, I’ve just remembered that I’ve got to leave, and, escape to… to somewhere else… I’ve got to go to Alaska, yes, because… because of salmon… there’s lots of samon that need to be caught and it’s very important because the world needs salmon, so bye!”

Why is this?

I’m not a Dad yet, so I don’t really have first hand experience. But I suppose this is a very big deal because a whole new responsibility has arrived, and we want to do it properly. So, it’s a change, and that’s a control issue. Suddenly the rules have changed and we feel a bit out of depth or something. Also we feel we are the providers, and so we want to make sure everything is provided for – money, security and so on. Men will often get a bit serious and look for more job security.

I’m talking about men’s reactions to having kids, but I realise that to an extent it’s a heavier burden for women – it must be a massive thing to do – to bring someone into the world, but then again I suppose the girls get the advantage of being able to create human life, which is pretty exceptional. They don’t do it alone though, hopefully the’ll have someone else with them.

Women immediately face the reality of pregnancy (although some deny it). But sometimes it takes a while for the news to sink in for a man. It can take more time – for example, it doesn’t sink in until they hear the heartbeat or see the sonogram of the baby, or even until birth in some cases!

Those are just my thoughts, and as I said – I’m not a dad yet, so I’m just speculating. I did do a quick google search and found 7 fears that men experience. This is from a website called babycenter.com. I would never normally search for this kind of thing. Maybe I’m subconcsiously gearing myself up for being a Dad. Who knows. Anyway, what are those 7 fears?http://www.babycenter.com/0_seven-fears-expectant-fathers-face_8247.bc?page=1

Security fears
The biggest fear men face is the one most deeply hardwired into our culture: Will I be able to protect and provide for my family?

Performance fears
More than 80 percent of the fathers I come across in my practice say they were worried they wouldn’t be able to perform when their partner was in labor. They were afraid of passing out, throwing up, or getting queasy in the presence of all those bodily fluids.

Paternity fears
About half the new and expectant dads I interviewed eventually came around to admitting they had fleeting thoughts that they weren’t really the baby’s father.

Mortality fears
When you’re a part of the beginning of a life, you can’t avoid thinking about the end of life. Thoughts about your own mortality can loom large: You’re not the youngest generation anymore, your replacement has arrived, and if everything works out right, you’ll die before your child dies.

Fear for your partner’s or child’s health
Childbirth is such a nerve-racking experience. Scary things can happen to the person you love most in the whole world.

Relationship fears
Men often fear that their partner will love the baby more than anyone on earth — and exclude them from that intimate relationship. It’s a very real fear of being replaced. 

Fears of “women’s medicine”
Men are not used to the ob-gyn establishment. It’s foreign, it’s cold, it’s something we don’t understand well. Even as observers, many men feel embarrassed and inhibited around stirrups and gynecological exams.

Fears of “women’s medicine”
Men are not used to the ob-gyn establishment. It’s foreign, it’s cold, it’s something we don’t understand well. Even as observers, many men feel embarrassed and inhibited around stirrups and gynecological exams.

Obstetrics and gynaecology (or obstetrics and gynecology; often abbreviated to OB/GYN, OBG, O&G or Obs & Gynae) are the two surgical–medical specialties dealing with the female reproductive organs in their pregnant and non-pregnant state, respectively, and as such are often combined to form a single medical specialty and postgraduate training programme.

Zdenek’s English Podcast – have a look here.

Transcript continues…
In the end though, although it is a bit overwhelming, it is also great because you get to see your child grow through all these important stages in their life (first words, first steps etc) and you get to re-live your childhood a little bit too.

Let’s hear from a real father expressing his experience in a really honest way. This is Louis CK talking about being a father. Who is Louis CK? Basically, he’s a really funny, in my opinion, comedian from the States…

First you’ll hear him defending himself against people who might assume he’s a bad father because they see him texting on his mobile phone while walking with his daughter. It looks like he’s not really giving her the proper amount of attention. But in fact, he’s a pretty good dad. He’s not perfect, but it seems his kids love him. He also talks about how he decided to be a good dad, and give it his best shot. So here it is, Louis CK talking about being a father:

A few days ago I was leaving a restaurant with my youngest daughter, and I was holding her hand, and I was texting with this hand. Yeah, I’m that guy. A woman walked by and she gave me a dirty look, like “Hmm you should pay more attention to your kid.”

Ok, guilty!

But I have something to say to that woman. This is why I’m able to spend time with my kids when I should be at work. It was noon on a Thursday, okay? I had a crazy amount of work to do, but my kid graduated from pre-school that day and I wanted to take her to lunch!

And it was a great lunch.

We sat at the same side of the table the way she likes. We shared a chicken cutlet. I ate some of her chicken cutlet. We looked at her drawings. She told me many stories about the chinchilla in the classroom.

And so now I’m texting and you walk by  “errr bad father!”

What do you know?!

OK, I’m being defensive, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have been texting.

You know when my kids were younger. I used to avoid them. I used to sit on the toilet until my legs fell asleep.

You want to know why your father spent so long in the toilet? Because he’s not sure he wants to be a father.

I felt like being a dad was taking away everything I wanted to be.

And I was right.

But so what? What’s so great about our lives? What the hell is an adult without kids, what’s the point? So I got off the toilet, I flushed down my personal dreams and I decided, I’m going to be a dad. I’m not going to be Mum’s assistant. That’s depressing, don’t do that if you’re a dad, just wait for her to write you a list, walk round the store staring at it and call her from the cereal isle to make sure you’ve got the right thing. Be a man! Make your own list. [Do we need any avocadoes?]

Fathers have skills that they never use at home. You run a landscaping business and you can’t dress and feed a four year old? Take it on. Spend time with your kids and have your own ideas about what they need. Get into it. It won’t take away your manhood. It’ll give it to you.

I did that. I spent more time with my kids. I took it on.

I found out that I’m a pretty bad father. I make a lot of mistakes. I don’t know what I’m doing, but my kids love me. Go figure.


“Struggling to be a dad, and then facing up to it and taking on the challenge of being a dad.”

Thanks for listening. What are your thoughts and experiences on the subject? Leave your comments below.


161. She’s Having a Baby (with Amber Minogue)

Baby on Board! 2aka “A Cup of Tea with Amber Minogue”

LISTENER: Who’s having a baby? Is it your girlfriend?! WOW!!! CONGRATU…
LUKE: Wait! It’s not my girlfriend. It’s my friend, Amber.
LISTENER: Ah, I see! Well, congratulations to Amber then!
LUKE: Yes, congratulations Amber!

Small Donate ButtonRight-click here to download this episode of the podcast.

Click here to help write a transcript of this episode using a Google Doc.

SO, my friend Amber is having a baby soon, and I thought it would be interesting to interview her for the podcast. I wanted to know; what is it really like to be a pregnant English girl, and what should we say or do when we meet a pregnant woman? Listen to the episode to find out the answers, and to hear plenty of vocabulary on the topic of pregnancy and having a baby. You’ll see notes and a vocabulary list below. Happy listening!


In this episode I’m going to talk to my friend Amber, who as well as being an interesting and lovely person, is also pregnant. In fact, she’s really pregnant because the baby is due in just a few weeks.

I’ve decided to interview Amber so that you can listen to her nice accent, but also so we can find out about what it’s really like to be a pregnant English girl, which I’m sure all of you have always wanted to know. I certainly have. The episode is going to go a bit like this:

First, we’ll get to know Amber a little bit. I’ll ask the usual questions like where she’s from and all that.

Then we’ll talk about being pregnant, and what that’s really like. Amber can tell us her experiences.

The episode is going to feature lots of vocabulary on the topic of having babies – not making babies (you’ll have to check the podcasts about slang, or swear words for that kind of fruity language) but the language of having a baby – being pregnant and giving birth. Hopefully we’ll keep it nice and clean and not too messy.

Lots of phrases and vocabulary will come up naturally in our conversation, but I have also made a list of vocabulary and expressions associated with pregnancy and having a baby.

So, finally we’ll go through that list of vocab and just explain it for you.

This could be a long episode, so I suggest you download it, & listen to it in stages, or just listen to it while you’re doing something else like travelling, doing the housework or just sitting on the sofa and staring into space. OK? So, let’s go!


Congratulations again!

How are you?

Where are you from?

What do you do?

How do we know each other?


How did it happen? Hahaha etc (actually that’s a question that kids ask sometimes – where do babies come from?)

I can hardly imagine what it’s like, as a man, but if I imagine pretty hard… I still can’t picture how it feels. I have no idea really. It’s probably different for each woman.

What’s it like for you? (physically, but also mentally too)

What about people’s reactions? Do people give you their seat on the train? Anything else?

Have you taken advantage of your pregnancy in any way?

What advantages have you experienced?

Have you had any cravings?

Any morning sickness?

Is it a boy or a girl?

What are you looking forward to?


Things you shouldn’t say or do…

Anything that makes her feel unattractive

“You look like you’re ready to burst!”

“Have you considered taking some exercise?”

Anything that makes her feel scared

“Get all the sleep you can now…” (because later you will get no sleep at all and it will be a nightmare)

“Enjoy ____ now while you can” (because afterwards you won’t be able to enjoy anything)

Questions about breastfeeding and nappies

Commenting on how much she ate – women are still women when they’re pregnant, and this is always a slightly offensive thing to talk about

“Oh wow, look at how much you ate! I guess you’re eating for 2 now…”

Anything that implies a mistake…

“Was that planned?”

Touching the woman’s belly – is this okay?

Things you should say or do when you meet a pregnant person

You look great

You’ll make a great mother (only if you know the person well)

This is going to be one lucky kid

It’s amazing news

Would you like to sit down? Please take my seat.

Let me get that for you.

Hey sit down, I’ll do that.

From the point of view of a man, meeting a pregnant woman

You’re supposed to say “congratulations” as soon as possible, but getting that wrong – misjudging when someone is pregnant or not – can be the worst social faux pas – so sometimes we’re a little bit ‘slow on the uptake’.

Similarly, giving your seat can be a little tricky. It’s the worst thing when you offer your seat to someone who turns out not to be pregnant. It should be obvious though – it really should. That might explain why guys don’t always jump up to let you sit down.

Some women in London actually wear a badge that says “baby on board” to make it completely clear, although I understand why some women might not want to wear one of them.

Not touching the woman’s belly. Women often get very tactile and touchy-feely when meeting another pregnant woman. Men are less likely to do it- perhaps because we’ve learned that you shouldn’t just dive in and put your hands on a woman without getting her okay first. Anyway, we’re probably not that interested in a baby unless it’s ours (and even then it’s no guarantee for some men – wow, some men are right bastards)

From the point of view of a man who’s girlfriend/wife is pregnant

I imagine it’s a complex feeling of pride & joy, protectiveness towards the woman, and total panic.

There’s some freaking out to be done. This is a very big deal because a whole new responsibility has arrived, and we want to do it properly. So, it’s a change. We feel we are the providers, and so we want to make sure everything is provided for – money, security and so on. Men will often get a bit serious and look for more job security.

Sometimes it takes a while for the news to sink in.

Women immediately face the reality of pregnancy (although some deny it). For men, it takes more time – for example, it doesn’t sink in until they hear the heartbeat or see the sonogram of the baby, or even until birth in some cases!

In the end though, although it is frightening, it is also great because you get to see your child grow through all these important stages in their life (first words, first steps etc) and you get to re-live your childhood a little bit too.


Transcript [Unfinished, work in progress]

EPISODE 161 [2:14] – [6.20]

[BEGINS FROM 00:01:43]

and in the end you will be totally clued up about all of the English that you need to know about this subject, which, I think you will agree, is a brilliant thing.

So finally, we will go through this list and that will be that.

This could be quite a long episode so, I would suggest that you download it. Listen to it in stages or listen to it while doing something else, like: travelling, doing housework or just sitting on a sofa and staring into space.

Let’s go!

Luke – Hello, Amber!

Amber – Hello, Luke!

Luke – Congratulations, again.

Amber – Thank you.

Luke – I don’t know if it is appropriate for me to say “Congratulation, again” at this stage.

Amber – You can.

Luke – Really?

Amber – Yep.

Luke – Is there a time limit on, you know, when you can say “congratulations” to a pregnant person?

Amber – I don’t think there is a time, really. I think, there is an appropriate number of congratulations.

Luke – …and do you know what that number is?

Amber – I think, one or two congratulations is fair enough and then, it is obvious you have forgotten. And then it just becomes rude.

Luke – I think, actually, the first time that I realised that you were pregnant, I didn’t say congratulations early enough. Did you realise? Did you notice that? You probably did.

Amber – Em, noooooooo.

Luke – No? Because, em, we will come to this in a minute. This is the subject knowing when to say “Congratulations” to someone who is pregnant. Anyway, so, it’s very nice to be here. I mean in your flat. You have given me a cup of tea, which is lovely. Thank you for that.

Amber – You’re welcome.

Luke – Now, first of all, so, how many months pregnant are you now, in fact?

Amber – I’m eight and half months pregnant.

Luke – Okay, alright. So, it is nearly due I suppose.

Amber – Very soon.

Luke – Okay, we will come to the pregnancy in a minute, but first of all, let’s talk about you. Amber? Yeah. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from, in fact?

Amber – I’m from London.

Luke – Okay, which part?

Amber – North-West London. Edgware

Luke – Oh, yeah. I know it. Well I know Edgware Road.

Amber – It’s not the same. It’s much further away.

Luke – Alright.

Amber – zone six

Luke – That’s quite far.

Amber – Technically London. It’s hanging on. Clinging, to the edge of London

Luke – Is there a Tube station for Edgware

Amber – Edgware

Luke – Okay.

Amber – It’s at the end of the Northern line.

Luke – I see. Okay.

Amber – at the very end.

Luke – Alright. There’s Edgware Road, and then there’s Edgware, and I expect people get them mixed up.

Amber – They do, but I don’t mind, because Edgware Road is actually, quite a lot nicer than Edgware

Luke – It’s quite posh, isn’t? Edgware Road

Amber – Yeah.

Luke – So, Edgware Road at the top of the Northern line.

Amber – Yeah.

Luke – … and you are living here in Paris now, how long have you been living here?

Amber – I’ve lived here 12 years.

Luke – Okay, alright. So,  you speak good French, I imagine?