Some women love being pregnant, some hate it. Most of us have thought and worried about some or all of these things but are too afraid to mention them or ask these embarrassing pregnancy questions. As a midwife, I want to try and set your mind at ease a bit and tell you how it really is!
1. Will I get stretch marks? Embarrassment Factor 2/10
Many of us invest in the latests lotions and potions to prevent these tiger stripes. They can happen at any stage of pregnancy but are most common at the very end and sometimes even after delivery. So you may believe that the oil you’re after spending a week’s wages on is preventing them but it’s probably not. It’s mostly down to genetics – if your mum got them then you are quite likely to get them; if your mum didn’t get them then you probably won’t either. They can look angry and red but I swear they fade in time.
2. Is it normal to pass urine when you don’t mean to? Embarrassment Factor 7/10
Could be when you cough, sneeze, laugh, jump, etc etc. This is really common in pregnancy so don’t overly worry! Wear a pad. It should resolve in the weeks after baby is born (regardless of type of delivery) and should serve as a general reminder to do your pelvic floor exercises. If you find this is an issue or gets worse after baby is born, see your GP and get referred to physio – no need to be embarrassed.
3. Will I put on a load of weight? Embarrassment Factor 4/10
It’s hard to be good when you’re pregnant and people are (wrongly) telling you it’s ok because you are eating for 2. Then you have the celebs back to their size 8 figure a couple of weeks after giving birth which makes you eat more at the general unfairness of the world. Seriously though, just don’t make a total glutton of yourself and keep up a bit of gentle exercise. You will get back in shape if you want to after having a baby but just give yourself time.
4. What about the lady garden? Embarrassment Factor 9/10
The panic on when to get the bikini wax? What if I go early and it’s not done?? Shock?! Horror?! Nope, not for the midwives. There is no need to be self conscious about this, we have seen everything and don’t even notice if you’ve been waxed to within an inch of your life or not gone near that area since you could no longer see it yourself. I do draw the line at vajazzles – yep we would probably notice those! It’s all fine though, one very daft analogy I made to a friend recently was if you worked in a restaurant peeling potatoes all day, would you remember any individual pototoes??? I could probably come up with something better but I was drunk and it made a pregnant woman laugh so it will do.
5. What if I have a bowel movement in labour? Embarrassment Factor 10/10
Yes, it happens quite a lot – which means the midwives don’t even bat an eyelid at it. It is discreetly disposed of and never mentioned. The fact is, when you are pushing that baby out, you are pushing the same as if you are moving your bowels. In fact, as midwives we even get a little bit excited to see a small bowel movement because it means you are pushing effectively and your baby is moving too. This is one of those things that will never be discussed during or after labour so put it out of your head and worry about something important like what colour should you paint your nursery!
6. What if my waters break in the middle of Tesco? Embarrassment Factor 8/10
This is how it happens in the movies after all! It’s quite rare for your waters to break with a big gush and no contractions. Sometimes they start slowly leaking or you might think they are gone but it’s actually urine. Usually the waters break when you are in labour or sometimes only when baby is born if you are left alone. Think about it though, in real life, how many times have you seen a pregnant woman’s waters breaking in public? Never? Me neither!
7. What if we don’t make it to the hospital in time? Embarrassment Factor 7/10
Again, quite rare, especially on first babies. But never say never! Not a big deal (yeah right says you!). If you have your baby before you get to the hospital, the main points are to leave the cord attached (never cut the cord), put baby under your clothes against your chest to keep them warm and make sure there is air getting to them to breathe, call emergency services for help and just stay where you are until they come to get you. This is not to alarm you BUT if cord did break then you must use something to seal the end attached to the baby as any bleeding is the baby’s blood – examples to seal cord are a hair band, a piece of string, or anything that you can tighten around it but not too near to the baby’s bellybutton if possible.
Have you any other questions you are too embarrassed to ask about? Email me and I will happily answer any!
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