Embarrassing Questions During Pregnancy

I have a hemorrhoid. What can I do?

Hemorrhoids are quite common during pregnancy. While women may be aware of this fact they might still have a hard time talking to their doctor about this. Hemorrhoids often are caused by your baby pressing on the veins in your rectum. The blood vessels swell, resulting in itchy, painful, or irritating lumps either inside or outside of the rectum. They can happen at any point in pregnancy or sometimes they develop during the pushing stage of labor. Keeping the rectum clean, using cold compresses, witch hazel, or over the counter creams may help. If you have a hemorrhoid that is causing you a lot of pain, you may need to talk to your doctor about prescribing a prescription strength suppository or cream.

What about sex during pregnancy?

There are all kinds of sex related questions that moms may have during pregnancy.  Is it safe to use a vibrator or sex toy?  What about oral or anal sex?  Is it normal to have contractions after sex?  Or, what if my sex drive is unusually high or low?   For the most part, couples should be able to continue having sex during pregnancy unless instructed by their doctor not to.  If you are at risk for preterm labor, you may be instructed to avoid sexual intercourse or orgasm during pregnancy.  However, if you are low risk, most sexual activities are safe during pregnancy as long as good hygiene and safe sexual practices are followed.

Pooping while pushing - does this really happen?

Your mommy friends may have warned you about this and while it may be embarrassing, it’s not anything your doctors or nurses haven’t seen before.  When you are in labor and the time comes to push, you will be instructed to push in the same manner that you would push out a bowel movement.  Since you are using the same muscles and bearing down in the same way, it’s quite possible that you will push a little feces out at the same time as pushing out your bundle of joy.  It really isn’t anything to feel embarrassed about but if you would like to try to keep this from happening, the best thing you can do is try to stay regular.  Eat a diet high and fiber and drink plenty of fluids, especially during your last few weeks of pregnancy.  If you are feeling constipated in the days before your due date, you may want to try having a glass of prune juice and adding a little extra exercise to your routine to help loosen things up.

Is it normal to have urinary incontinence during pregnancy?

Most people know that pregnant women tend to use the bathroom more often. When you are pregnant, you have an increased blood supply and the weight of your baby presses down on your bladder, which makes you have to urinate more frequently. However, women might not expect to have issues with urinary incontinence. Things like sneezing or coughing which put a little extra stress on your bladder can result in urine leakage. While it is an embarrassing issue to deal with; fortunately, it is usually resolved once you have your baby. Doing Kegel exercises may help. Avoid drinking coffee, soft drinks, and constipation. Constipation can increase the pressure on your bladder. If you are not sure that what you are leaking is urine, it is best to consult your doctor. It can be difficult to tell the difference between a small leak in your bag of waters and urine leakage so your best bet is to call your doctor if you are in doubt.

I have a strong smelling vaginal odor. Is this normal?

Some women notice a stronger sense of smell when they are pregnant, but a stronger smelling vaginal odor may not just be due to having a heightened sense of smell.  During pregnancy, a woman’s estrogen levels increase and this can cause her to secrete more cervical fluid.  She may notice a whitish, milky looking discharge when she is pregnant.  This is called leucorrhea.  This discharge may cause you to have a stronger smelling vaginal odor but it is normal and nothing to worry about.  If you notice a yellowish or greenish discharge, or a strong foul or fishy smelling odor, you should discuss this with your doctor as it could be a sign of an infection.  If you have a vaginal odor or discharge that is accompanied by itching or redness you should also bring this up to your doctor.  These could be symptoms of a yeast infection or an STD

My breasts are leaking. What does this mean?

During the third trimester some women will notice that they begin leaking colostrum from their breasts. Colostrum is a yellowish fluid that women produce before they start producing actual breast milk. Many women don’t begin producing colostrum until after their babies are born but others start making this fluid during the third trimester. If you start producing colostrum before your baby gets here, it is just due to hormonal changes your body is going through to prepare for breastfeeding. It isn’t a sign of labor and doesn’t mean that your baby is going to arrive early. Some women leak; some don’t. If you are having problems with leaking happening unexpectedly you may want to start wearing nursing pads inside your bra until your breasts stop leaking.

What can I do to deal with gas during pregnancy?

While it may not be lady like, women often have more problems with belching and passing gas when they are pregnant.  This is likely related to the increased progesterone levels in pregnant women.  Progesterone helps support a healthy pregnancy but it also slows down the digestive system.  As baby grows, this problem may grow.  The baby starts to take up room and cramp the space around a woman’s digestive system which can cause heartburn, constipation, gas, and other digestive problems.  What can you do besides saying excuse me?  Try to avoid eating too many foods that might make you gassy like broccoli, beans, cabbage, or cheese.  Drink plenty of water, exercise, and space out your meals.  Instead of eating big meals, have smaller meals more frequently.

I’m having vaginal itching. Is this normal?

Vaginal itching can be a sign of infection but it can also be a normal part of pregnancy. Vaginal itching can be a sign of an STD or yeast infection so it is important to discuss this with your doctor; however, in many cases vaginal itching is simply a result of changes in your PH level. If infections and STDs have been ruled out, you can try using a baking soda paste to help lower the PH level of your vagina. Just mix baking soda and water into a paste and apply to your vaginal area or soak in a warm bath with baking soda added to the water. A cold compress may also help. Try to use good hygiene and keep the vagina clean using mild soap and water. Don’t use a vaginal douche when you are pregnant.

What can I do about constipation?

Constipation, like gas, bloating, and other digestive problems, is very common during pregnancy. This is partly due to the hormone progesterone which slows down your digestive system but can also be a side effect of prenatal vitamins. If you are finding that your prenatal vitamins are making you constipated, talk to your doctor about prescribing a prenatal vitamin that contains a stool softener. Other things you can do to help with constipation are to eat foods that are higher in fiber or add a fiber supplement, drink plenty of fluids, and get moving. Exercise can help to get the digestive system moving and improve regularity. Eating foods that contain the probiotic acidophilus may also help to improve regularity. There are several brands of yogurt at the supermarket that contain acidophilus.

Will my vagina be looser after childbirth?

Your vagina does a lot of stretching in order to make room for your baby to come out. Some women worry that things will never be the same after they have a baby. Keep in mind that women’s bodies were designed for childbirth. Right after you have your baby, you may be a little more swollen and sore but once your vaginal area heals you should start to get back to normal rather quickly. Your vagina is very elastic and is designed to stretch out to make room for baby but then contract again, much like a rubber band. To help improve vaginal muscle tone, you can do Kegel exercises. Kegels help you to improve the muscle tone of your vagina and will help to get that area of your body back to normal more quickly.