My eyes...My eyes! Confronted with the disturbing sight of a gaggle of frenetic mums-to-be teetering in heels and bikinis, I don't know where to look.
That's before they start a nappy throwing competition
This bizarre annual beauty pageant
, held in Houston, America (where else?) caused quite a stir as images of its blossoming contestants were beamed around the world.
It's held to mark Labor Day. See what they did there?
I find any beauty competition objectionable – and most stipulate that you aren't pregnant. Young women have been stripped of their victory for less.
Call me squeamish, call me old fashioned, call me a miserable old prude but I really, really don't want to see a leopard-print clad, seven months pregnant, wannabe pageant queen.
But with the women's bellies looming large and unexpected from my newspaper, there wasn't much choice. Reminiscent of a busy day on Facebook, pregnant tummies were everywhere.
But it's not just in the reporting of some wacky US tradition that our gaze is met with burgeoning baby bumps. Enough already.
Like the sound of fingernails on a blackboard, I know it's bound to happen sometimes, I'd just rather not be around when it does, thanks very much.
If honest, I don't actually know why it makes me uncomfortable.
But I blame Demi Moore.
How many z-list celebrities have since adorned gossip magazine covers in their undercrackers since the star of Ghost got her belly out for the girls?
How many mums have sat for photo shoots celebrating their bodies to adorn their mantelpieces? I can of course see that it's their body and their choice and their wall they want to hang the pictures on, but please don't ask me to know where to put my eyes if I come around for a cup a tea.
I love and admire that pregnant women want to embrace and celebrate their impending motherhood, good on them. I just don't want their misshaped-navel shoved in my face, in the car park, at the soft play area or the frozen veg aisle.
Not for the first time, I can see I am out of step. OK so there's a group on Facebook called 'I don't want to see your pregnant belly' – that may be taking it a bit far – and with just 11 'likes' it's hardly captured the mood of a nation.
"Chill out," people tell me. "They're not hurting anyone."
In fact I'm reliably informed, women feel confident, beautiful and empowered when pregnant – why should they hide their fertility away? We don't have to look.
Some friends dare to suggest I too may have considered such showing off had I been a touch slimmer when my babies were on their way.
?" I wail and they fall silent.
But my friend Isobel is a lone voice of support.
She says: "Eugh. It's not for me. I was really proud to be pregnant but didn't want to show my bump to everyone! Although I do think its a bit weird that people think they can touch your belly when your pregnant without asking, you wouldn't normally do that would you?"
No I wouldn't, I reply and unlike The Spice Girls, All Saints (remember them?) and any other blooming girl band member ever since, I wouldn't be presenting my tummy to the world either.
Isobel continues: "I did love being fat when I was pregnant though – it was the only time it was allowed!"
Now some women are also taking things a step further, with body art and tattoos, I even saw a face painter advertising her services to etch on a loud and proud Mr Bump for expectant mums – subtle it isn't.
I must have some deep rooted problem with the human form I think, I've never been a fan of communal changing areas at the swimming pool – always heading for a cubicle of my own.
But I'm even more squeamish about pregnant tummies on display and I can't see that I'm going to be swayed into favour any time soon.
Yep, I've had a belly full.
More on Parentdish: Why pregnant women should be proud of their bodies
What do you think? It's lovely to show off your pregnant bump? Or put it away?
- Victoria Beckham
After publicly announcing she <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/07/01/victoria-beckham-posing-nude-and-pregnant-thats-not-me-says/" target="_blank">wouldn’t be stripping off </a>for the camera while pregnant, David Beckham took this <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/07/07/david-beckham-shares-intimate-picture-of-pregnant-victoria-baring-bump/" target="_blank">quick snap</a> of a very pregnant Posh, apparently without her knowing anything about it. Hmm, all looks a bit staged to us…<br />
<strong>Victoria says:</strong> ‘I'm so proud to be pregnant and I feel so blessed and so happy, I really do. I won't be taking my clothes off. I don't think anyone needs to see that, other than my husband.’</p>
- Demi Moore
The original and best, this is the pose that sparked a thousand copies in magazines around the world, starring everyone from Danielle Lloyd to Christina Aguilera, Britney and erm, Lisa from Steps. This iconic piccie of mum of three Demi is still gorgeous all these years later.</p>
- Sienna Miller
Heavily pregnant Sienna<a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2012/11/07/heavily-pregnant-sienna-millers-nude-portrait-unveiled-artist-jonathan-yeo/" target="_blank"> posed for a nude painting in 2012.</a> Artist Jonathan Yeo painted Sienna shortly before the arrival of her first baby, Marlowe, as part of a series of portraits, including Nicole Kidman and model Erin O'Connor. </p>
- Jessica Simpson
Jess posed for ELLE magazine shortly before giving birth to her daughter, Maxwell Drew. She showed off her <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2012/03/07/pregnant-jessica-simpson-does-a-demi-and-poses-nude-expecting-a-girl/" target="_blank">enormous bump</a> while confirming speculation she was expecting a little girl. </p>
- Carla Bruni
Carla was <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/07/12/pregnant-carla-bruni-shows-off-baby-bump-in-itsy-bitsy-bikini/" target="_blank">papped frockling on the beach </a>with husband, French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The First Lady is rumoured to be expecting twins, but showed off a pretty neat bump in her stylish two piece.</p>
- Mariah Carey
While twins <a href="http:// http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/05/04/mariah-careys-twins-names-revealed/" target="_blank">Moroccan and Monroe </a>were still tucked up in Mariah’s belly, she took the opportunity to proudly show off her expanding tummy, by <a href="http:// http://www.parentdish.co.ukphpmyadmin.parentdish.co.uk/2011/03/29/mariah-carey-paints-her-baby-bump/" target="_blank">painting it </a>to make a colourful butterfly. A bit odd, but you can just imagine Mariah grinning from ear to ear when she posed for this lovely snap.</p>
- Rachel Zoe
Stylist to the stars, Rachel let it all hang out with some ill-fitting maternity togs when she was expecting son, Skyler. The sheer material on the top showed off her rounded tummy, and, call us old fashioned, but flashing your bra when pregnant isn’t the greatest look ever, right?</p>
- Jessica Alba
Here’s Jess flaunting her fabulous seven-month bump in a strapless number (but with handy sarong to keep eyes off her no-doubt expanding bottom). She was on the sand with daughter Honor, three.<br />
<strong>Jessica says:</strong> ‘I can't ever get down to the weight I was before I had Honor/ My body's just different. The jeans just sort of zip up differently, and things hang differently. It's a miracle what happens, but you definitely are different afterward.’</p>
- Selma Blair
Sporting a cowboy hat and colourful bikini, pregnant Selma headed to the coast for a bit of sunshine. The Hollywood actress looked stunning as she pottered along the beach with boyfriend, Jason Bleick. </p>
- Danielle Lloyd (again)
Re-offender Danielle showed off her curves long before that nude photoshoot. Here she is flashing the flesh on a beach in Portugal. The mum-to-be tweeted while she was on her hols saying she was having a lovely time, but felt like a whale! Well, she certainly looks good on it…</p>
- Tori Spelling
Now a mum of four, Tori Spelling <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/05/31/pregnant-tori-spelling-looks-blooming-in-a-bikini-on-the-beach/" target="_blank">hit the beach </a>baring bump number three in this simple black bikini, and of course, enormous shades across the pond in Malibu.<br />
<strong>Tori says:</strong> ‘I have actually been much sicker this pregnancy than the other two. I have been nauseous for three months straight. It's starting to get better now, thank goodness. And, I'm showing way more too.'</p>
Supermodel Gisele hit the beach <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2012/11/05/pregnant-gisele-bundchen-shows-off-her-bumper-in-teeny-bikini-video/" target="_blank">eight months into her second pregnancy</a> at the end of 2012. She was hanging out in an animal print bikini in Miami without a swollen ankle, sweaty brow or under-eye bag in sight. <span style="color: rgb(102, 102, 102); font-family: helvetica, arial; font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px;"> </span></p>
- Danielle Lloyd
Now a mum for the <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/07/13/danielle-lloyd-gives-birth-to-second-son-10-weeks-early/" target="_blank">second time, </a>Danielle bared all just days before giving birth in this <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/07/11/pregnant-danielle-lloyd-goes-nude-for-photoshoot/" target="_blank">naked photoshoot </a>for Closer magazine, wearing just earrings and a sparkler on her finger.<br />
<strong>Danielle says:</strong> ‘I couldn't wait to recreate Demi Moore's naked pregnancy pose. It makes me feel so sexy! I don't think your baby bump should be hidden under baggy clothes – it's beautiful and I'm proud of it!’</p>
- Jenny Frost
Jenny <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2013/01/14/jenny-frost-twin-pregnancy-is-hard-without-my-mum-here-to-share/" target="_blank">posed for Closer magazine</a> as she neared her due date with non-identical twin girls. Ex-Atomic Kitten star Jen showed off her bumper belly, and told the magazine she was enjoying her new shape, saying: "Being pregnant is a time when some women can feel insecure, but Vinnie has kept me feeling great about myself. I've got a nice big belly, but I've not put on too much weight elsewhere apart from my bum, which I quite like."</p>
- Nell McAndrew
TV personality Nell <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2013/01/22/pregnant-nell-mcandrew-gets-naked-for-photoshoot/" target="_blank">posed nude for Now magazine</a> when she was seven months pregnant. She said she couldn't understand people who were against pregnant women showing off their bodies, telling the mag: "<span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 12pt;">Unfortunately there are still some really old-fashioned views about pregnancy out there. But although I was pretty nervous stripping off, I soon felt empowered - pregnant bodies are amazing and I'm incredibly proud of these pictures."</span></p>
Beyonce was snapped in a gorgeous white bikini <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/09/08/beyonce-does-pregnancy-a-list-style-in-bump-baring-bikini/" target="_blank">five months into her pregnancy</a> with Blue Ivy. She enjoyed a holiday aboard a luxury yacht with husband Jay-Z. </p>
- Imogen Thomas
When glamour girl Imogen announced she was pregnant, we knew it wouldn't be long before she stripped off for a Demi-style shoot. And look! We were right! Here she is eight months pregnant with her first baby. </p>
Singer Shakira <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2013/01/17/shakira-tweets-naked-baby-bump-photo-in-aid-of-unicef/" target="_blank">stripped off at eight months pregnant </a>to raise funds for UNICEF. She also hosted an online baby shower to raise money for the charity. </p>