Translated by Alanna Quintyne

Are you able to talk about birth in Italian? In today’s article called “How to talk about birth in Italian”, I am going to explain to you how to announce that a new baby is coming and how to tell people that the baby was born! If this introduction makes you curious, keep reading the following lines! :)

December is here, Christmas is just around the corner, and Christmas means, especially for believers, one thing: birth. So why not take advantage of this magical period to share with you some terms and phrases that Italians use when a baby is about to be born?

I decided to divide this article into two parts: firstly, phrases used to let others know that you will soon become parents and secondly, phrases used by Italians to say that the unborn baby has finally arrived.

Let’s not waste any more time and get right to the heart of this topic!

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1. Phrases Used to Say that You Will Become Parents

Generally, all the phrases which fit into this group refer to women or are said by women, all except the following one:

  • Aspettare un bambino (to expect a baby)

This phrase is used increasingly in the plural form:

Aspettiamo un bambino!

And in my opinion, this is a great step forward in terms of gender equality. In fact, it emphasizes that the unborn child is not just the woman’s but belongs to both parents, mom and dad.

  • Essere incinta (to be pregnant)

From here we begin with the phrases that place the woman at the center in a natural way, since biologically it is the woman who carries the baby for 9 months and it is only natural that it will be her, and not the father, to say:

– Sono incinta (I am pregnant).

But let’s digress a little because a moment ago I mentioned something that for someone might seem strange or be difficult to understand.

  • Portare in grembo (to carry)

Portare in grembo simply means to have a child in the womb, i.e., in the woman’s belly. Personally, I find that this expression has something poetic about it, perhaps because of the image it evokes. 

But be careful because we still have other ways in which we can tell someone that we are expecting a baby and they are just as good as the ones previously mentioned. These are:

  • Essere in stato interessante (to be pregnant)

This is a really noteworthy expression and is one of the euphemisms used in Italian to express the state of pregnancy. 

With regard to the adjective “interessante”, the Accademia della Crusca reveals the origin of the word and explain that with “interessante” we intend to emphasize not only the important of an event that is about to take place, i.e., the birth of a new baby, but also the state of being so fascinating and in some ways mysterious.

  • Essere in dolce attesa (to be expecting/to have a bun in the oven)

This is another widespread euphemism in the Italian language. Essere in dolce attesa is an extremely delicate and gentle way to give someone the good news.

Let’s now move on to the second part of this article, namely:

Phrases Used to Say that the Baby has Arrived

  • Il bambino/ La bambina è nato/ nata

When we talk about phrases and expressions used to say that the baby has been born, we cannot fail to mention the one shown here.

It is for sure the most standard way of all, as well as because of the use of the verb nascere, this means that there are no underlying meanings. Therefore, the message conveyed by this expression is clear and immediately understood by all.

However, there are also other ways in which this could be expressed that are less direct but much more poetic. Here are some of them:

  • Venire alla luce / Dare alla luce (to be born/to give birth)

With both images, the arrival of the baby is evoked, and with them there is a kind of transition from a darker world to one full of light and life.

Let’s pay attention to one thing though: the first and second forms are not exactly the same, in fact in the first case the subject is the child, in the second the subject is the woman. Here are some sentences that will make everything clearer:

  • Il bambino è venuto alla luce nella notte. (The child was born at night).
  • La donna ha dato alla luce un bambino bellissimo. (The woman gave birth to a beautiful child).

As you can see, the way these verbs are used is not the same even though they wish to communicate the same thing.

  • Venire al mondo / Mettere al mondo (to come into the world/to bring into the world)

The exact same reasoning given for the previous cases also applies to venire al mondo/mettere al mondo. 

Also, here the subject will be different depending on the verb that is used. Let’s give some more examples:

  • Il bambino è venuto al mondo nella notte. (The baby came into the world at night).
  • La donna ha messo al mondo un bambino bellissimo. (The woman brought a beautiful baby into the world).
  • La cicogna è arrivata (the stork paid a visit)

Here is a phrase that could not be overlooked. It is often used with children, who wonder where their new baby brother or sister came from. Parents tend to use this phrase or its variants to give a rather quick and convincing explanation to their children:

  • La cicogna ti ha portato un fratellino. (The stork brought you a baby brother).
  • La cicogna ti ha portato una sorellina. (The stork brought you a baby sister).

We are almost at the end of this article, but before we conclude, I would like to add a little tidbit. Have you ever heard the following phrase?

  • A quando il lieto evento? (When is the happy event?)

This is a question that Italians ask very often when they know that someone is about to have a baby and that in simple terms means When is the due date? 

The adjective lieto means joyful, cheerful, happy!

Conclusion

Today’s article is a little bit peculiar compared to my regular ones because I did not discuss Italian culture or grammar. However, I think its subject matter is as relevant as the others because it gives you the tools you need to talk about a topic that is part of a human being’s life: the birth of a child.

I don’t know if you remember but this is not the first article of this kind because if now I talk about How to talk about birth in Italian, in the past, I already talked about a topic that was a little less pleasant, Come dire a qualcuno che una persona è morta, a topic that could be considered by someone a little bit macabre but regardless of this, it is an integral part of the life of every human being.

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Credits photo: Freepik

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