5 Questions You’re Embarrassed to Ask Your Physician (But Shouldn’t Be)

It’s 3:49 a.m. and you’re on your third trip returning to the bed having woken up to use the bathroom. You settle back into your blankets, but now you’re wide awake. You try to count sheep but it doesn’t work. You try to think of whether or not you have all the ingredients for dinner on Thursday. You begin to wonder about all the things going on with the pregnancy, the impending labor and delivery and everything you’ve read on the Internet or heard from other women and you begin to panic. By 3:57 you have a list of a hundred questions that are racing through your head and you go into panic mode.

You arrive at the doctor’s office the next morning for your checkup. At the end of the visit, she asks, “do you have any questions for me?” The list flies by in your head from hours earlier. You respond with a quick, “no.”

Some things about pregnancy and labor and delivery can feel embarrassing to say aloud. You might feel nervous to ask a question at the risk of sounding silly or uninformed. However, at Burdett no question is stupid and we really have seen it all. There is no question you will throw at us that we haven’t been asked and, trust us, the sooner you ask, the sooner you can let it go and get back to the sheep-counting.

Here are five common “embarrassing” questions women have during pregnancy:

1. Will I have a bowel movement during my delivery?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions and while it may feel like the most embarrassing, its actually one of the most normal. The easiest answer is: you might. However, the good news is that while you’re in labor and delivery you probably won’t even notice, or care. Pushing the baby out requires the same muscles that you use for a bowel movement which is why it’s so common. No, you are not the first it’s happened to and you will not be the last. Your doctor or midwife will quickly and quietly clean it up and get back to the bigger matter at hand – delivering your baby.

2. Is it normal to urinate when I cough or sneeze?

Leaking happens. Many women find this happens when they cough or sneeze. Some even have it happen with a good laugh. Again, this is normal. With the growing baby, the pelvic floor has increased pressure on it which can cause leaking. If you notice this happening during your pregnancy, keeping panty liners in your pocketbook or desk are an easy fix. It’s also common post-pregnancy to experience incontinence, too. As your muscles regain strength this typically goes away. It takes most women between six weeks and three months to regain full control again.

3. Will intercourse hurt the baby?

While you might not want to have intercourse because of exhaustion or simply not feeling in the mood, hurting your baby is not a reason to not have sex. You and your partner will not hurt the baby. Behind your cervix, which is sealed with a mucus plug, is the uterus and the amniotic sac. Your baby is kept safe and secure in their little fortress. As your pregnancy moves along, however, things might feel different as the baby is moving lower into the pelvis. During this time, it might be more difficult to find a comfortable position to accommodate your growing belly, but still rest assured, the baby is just fine.

4. Did I gain too much weight?

Whether you’re pregnant or not, weight can sometimes be an embarrassing topic to discuss. However, you should ask your doctor about this because this question is important to your health and to the baby’s health. Educating yourself on the range your body should be throughout your pregnancy will help reduce stress and guilt and allow you to have the heathiest outcome.

And remember, you’re growing a human, it’s normal to gain weight. It’s normal to feel insecure. It’s normal to not want to ask if you weigh too little or too much. At Burdett we aren’t here to judge. We’re here to educate and inform, so that we can support you in every way possible while you go through the stages of your pregnancy.

5. Why are my nipples leaking?

At this point it may feel like you’re leaking all over (see #2) but again, it’s normal. When your breasts begin to leak, they are just letting you know that your body is getting ready for the baby. You are producing high levels of prolactin which is the hormone used in nursing. While you can’t stop the leak, you can prevent it from soaking through your clothes. As you will want them after the baby is born, go out and buy some nursing pads early. Put them in your bra and if needed, change them as you go. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the leakage call your doctor to rule out any health issues.

These are just five common questions some women find embarrassing but certainly, the list goes on. Having a baby is an exciting time but it can also feel like a very weird learning curve. We understand. If you have any questions, concerns or, even, curiosities, we’re here to listen and answer in a completely judgement-free way.

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