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10 Pregnancy Questions You're Uncomfortable Asking Your OB-GYN
Pregnancy is full of weird, new and sometimes embarrassing side effects and fears. You aren't alone if you feel uncomfortable asking your doctor questions like, "Will I have a bowel movement during my delivery?" We want to help you out, so we chatted with two incredibly easy-to-talk-to OB-GYNs about the things you really want to know when you're pregnant.
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1. Will I have a bowel movement during my delivery?
Mary Rosser, OB-GYN at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx section of New York City, wants pregnant women to know that birth is not a public performance. So really, you shouldn't worry about pooping during the pushing phase of labor. It can happen if your bowel is full because the rectum is underneath the uterus, and when you push, you put pressure on that area. Still, try to remember that the people in the delivery room are there to support and help you, and that medical professionals are cognizant of people's dignity and privacy. So, focus on your baby, not your bowels.
2. Will I get stretched out "down there?"
The short answer: no. Your vagina is made to stretch to accommodate childbirth and then contract back to its normal size. Indeed, your vagina has muscle memory! Rosser recommends doing Kegel exercises to strengthen those muscles. Basically, you'll clench that area as if you were holding back a stream of urine, then release. Do these exercises in sets of 10, four to five times daily postpartum.
3. Have I gained too much weight?
This can be a touchy subject and one that many pregnant women shy away from asking at a prenatal appointment. But Rosser says you shouldn't be afraid to discuss your pregnancy weight gain with your doctor because this is an important aspect of both your health and the baby's.
4. I've heard I won't be able to control my bladder after pregnancy. Is this true?
"Bladder control tends to decrease after pregnancy and childbirth," Beverly Hills OB-GYN Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz says. And as you near your due date, you may notice bladder control becoming more tenuous. But usually within six weeks to three months, women will see those effects reverse. Guess what? Kegels help here, too. Sometimes there is an ongoing problem, however, and you should talk to your doctor to find out what can be done to help.
5. My husband is afraid to have intercourse while I'm pregnant because he might hurt the baby. What should I tell him?
Rosser acknowledges that this is a real fear for many partners of pregnant women. Many times they just need to be reassured that they won't hurt mom or the baby.
6. Why is intercourse more painful after giving birth?
"You did have a baby, and there's some trauma that needs to heal," Gilberg-Lenz says. For women who are breastfeeding, hormone levels change, too, especially estrogen, which may lead to problems with lubrication. Try using a lubricant during intercourse and giving your body time to adjust to sex after baby. If several months go by and you don't notice an improvement, speak to your doctor.
7. Is it normal to have so much discharge during pregnancy?
Yes. As Gilberg-Lenz points out, a pregnant woman's hormones are going crazy. Plus, you have an increase in the blood flow to the pelvis. You will likely notice a steady increase in discharge as your pregnancy progresses. But be sure to call your doctor if your discharge is painful, burning, itching, has an odor or is very watery. You may have an infection, or your water may have broken.
8. I have bad gas and indigestion while pregnant. Is this normal?
"The hormonal changes in pregnancy decrease the efficiency of your gastrointestinal system," Gilberg-Lenz says. Your discomfort may start with nausea, aka morning sickness, and bloating. As many as 85 percent of women experience these symptoms in early pregnancy. This can graduate into acid reflux and indigestion later, which is completely normal.
9. What can I do to ease my digestion issues?
"For constipation, make sure to eat plenty of fiber, veggies, fruits and drink lots of water. If needed, you can take milk of magnesia or a stool softener," Rosser says. "For heartburn, eating smaller and more frequent meals will help, as will sleeping upright on two pillows. Avoid acidic and spicy foods. If the trouble continues, speak with your physician, who may suggest taking a medication with calcium carbonate."
10. What if I sleep through labor?
"It is possible not to know if you break your water. It can be as small as a little trickle or a huge gush! Many women think they be leaking urine," Rosser says. If you aren't sure, call your doctor. But when it comes to contractions during active labor, there will be no mistaking it! They don't call it labor for nothing!