How to say “I’m pregnant” in French

Oui ! Though I’ve been doing it for the past few months, it still sounds crazy when I say I’m pregnant in French (or in English!). It’ll keep happening until July, when I’ll have to switch to saying I’m a mother, which is like a whole other level of crazy, so I’m just focusing on the pregnancy part for now.

With each person or group that we’ve told, we’ve tried to find a new way to do it. A package of Grandmère coffee for my mother-in-law, a Skype date with my parents and a well-timed email, a surprise toast with the family at Christmas, funny ecards for Facebook . . . - We're, or more specifically, I'm pregnant

Quick meme


So for the blog, I thought I’d naturally take a more literary approach. I’m not sure how much I’ll write about my pregnancy, since there are many other people that do a very good job of discussing the ins and outs of being a pregnant foreigner in France. And for the moment, there’s really not much to write about anyway, besides boring stuff like “My pants don’t fit anymore” and “Today I got another blood test and am really tired.” I know I’ll have more to say as things progress, but I’ll try to avoid posting exclusively about the topic, since I know not everyone that reads my blog can relate to the subject, and I do still hope to maintain my other interests despite this big change. (That’s possible, right moms?? I’ll still have other interests, right??)

When announcing the news, I know all of the American expressions and how to change them around to meet my needs (a bun in the oven –> a French fry baking, bwahaha). I decided look up a few fun French expressions as well, since we still have some people left to tell, and it gets boring saying the same thing over and over.

“Avoir un polichinelle dans le tiroir”  – To have a marionnette in the drawer. A “polichinelle” is a type of marionnette with a big belly.

“En cloque” – Equivalent to knocked up, it’s also how they translate the movie with that title. A “cloque” is a blister, which is just a charming image, non?

“Avoir un poulet au four” – To have a chicken in the oven. According to my colleagues, this is said more in Luxembourg. There’s also the more French expression to have a brioche in the oven. It’s interesting to know both languages seem to agree that making a baby involves baking . . .

“Tomber enceinte” – To fall pregnant. It seems strange to me to talk about “falling” pregnant, though you also say you fall sick or in love. Still, doesn’t it make it sound like you tripped on the sidewalk and fell into a baby puddle and when you got up, you were suddenly pregnant?

“Elle est mère de son arrondissement” – I don’t know if people actually say this, but I thought it was hilarious. It’s a play on the words “maire” (mayor) and mère (mother), as well as between the more administrative meaning of “arrondissement” as a city district, and the action of rounding or “arrondir” something.


This is obviously not intended to be anything like a complete list of all the fabulous expressions that exist to say “I’m pregnant” in French, these are just the ones that stuck out to me. So if you know any other funny ones, let me know!

13 thoughts on “How to say “I’m pregnant” in French”

  1. WOW CONGRATS!!!! Unless I missed an earlier announcement :) This is why I love blogs. Been able to watch you go from a bright eyed youngin to a bright eyed expectant mother. Good luck

    1. Thank you! No, this was the first mention on the blog :-) And though I didn’t plan to start a new blog because of impending parenthood, I’m glad it worked out to kind of have this new start for this new part of my life. It’ll definitely be very different than what I was blogging about 6 years ago!

  2. Congratulations! Funnily enough, I am also due in July! My husband is excited because the exact date is the 14th. (“Wouldn’t it be cool to have a day off and fireworks on your birthday?”) I hope all goes well for you!

    1. Thanks!! Congratulations to you too!! That’s my American due date actually :-) My next pregnancy-related post will probably discuss my confusion about how due dates differ in France and the states, so my parents are expecting things earlier than my in-laws, haha. They never make it easy here, do they??

      1. Actually we are in the US, so I have no idea of how it must be in France! My husband is now really into telling me what not to wear or eat or do (for the baby’s health, obvs)… No jeans, no cheese, no dancing (I suspect the latter is a way to get out of dancing with me somehow).

        1. My husband is doing the same thing! Every single thing I eat he’s like, are you sure that’s okay?? Though I don’t mind so much when he says stuff like “Doing the laundry involves too much bending, I’ll do it!” haha. And have not been anywhere near the cat’s litter box in months, despite my doctor telling him three times I can clean it if I wear gloves, it’s great.

          That’s right, you’re stateside! Super jealous of your access to American maternity stores, lol. Every single pregnancy/baby forum question is like “Oh I got it at Target,” sighhhh.

          1. Yes, I got a few things at Target… although I am trying to be frugal, so most recently I bought some maternity slacks at the thrift store (I mean, they must only have been worn for like 6 months at most, right??). And I have totally milked the pregnancy for laundry like you say 😉

            But don’t get too jealous – I am totally worried about my maternity leave (I just started a new job so I won’t even be eligible for unpaid FMLA and I have to rely on the good heart of my supervisor to keep my job for me). And Jube’s family is shocked at how much daycare costs (and that we have to pay for it for 5 years until kindergarten starts). I also have sticker shock (it is more than our mortgage!!), but I can’t say it’s really a surprise. :/

            Oh well! At least there are fun parts to it, too!!

  3. Congratulations – that’s excitinng news!

    French due dates and UK ones are different because one is the date when they think the baby is most likely to come (although they almost never do!) and the other is the date after which they will induce. I can never remember which way round it is though, and I have no practical experinece of the matter!

    Love the maire de son arrondissment expression. Understanding Frenchman had never heard it, but we both thought it was really funny.

    1. Thank you!
      Glad it’s not just France and the states that can’t seem to agree on this! My doctor says if I’m not already in the hospital on my (French) due date, then he’ll induce, but he’s just special like that, other friends here have had doctors wait a week or two longer. So to American friends, I stick with the fun July 14th due date, but for people here I’ve mostly just been saying “mid-July” because the date is just a guess anyway, and I know that by the third week of July, the baby will be here one way or another!

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