Especially for the first-time mom, the trip to the gynecologist can be full of questions. After all, carrying a baby in the womb can be a new, fascinating experience. And while our own moms, friends and relatives all have something to say about pregnancy and childbirth, it’s always interesting to take a peek into a more scientific perspective.
It’s one way to appreciate the complex workings of the body, as well as to get to know exactly what is happening to it.
However, all the questions that mom has may not always get asked. Sometimes there are just too many of them, after all, and she might forget one or two. Other times she may be too embarrassed to ask, as some questions do revolve around the more private parts of life, both literally and figuratively.
And while it’s always best for moms to ask their own gynecologist, who can tailor their answers to the patient, we figured we’d cover some of the questions that are often forgotten.
We’ve asked moms around the world questions they’ve wanted to ask during their first pregnancy, but never got around to. Many of these questions revolve around sex to work to body image. In fact, we’ve found that many moms often have the very same questions, but figure that they’re the only ones who want to ask!
Of course, these questions are pretty generic. We do recommend each mom to consult their own gyno for their concerns to better see how these things affect their own body and health. Here are the top fifteen things moms are curious about.
15 Will My Privates Be The Same?
One very common concern that moms are shy about is whether their privates will still be the same after childbirth. The answer to that is that it probably won’t be exactly the same. After all, it will undergo some stretching as the little one comes out.
However, in most cases, the difference will be barely noticeable, especially if the reason for concern is sex! It might not feel as “tight” as before, but it definitely won’t be super loose and floppy. The vagina is made of elastic tissue, which means it can take a fair amount of stretching without getting totally deformed!
Of course, the important thing is for mom’s privates to have a bit of rest after childbirth. It’s not going to spring back to normal instantly. As such, most moms are encouraged to abstain from sex until it fully heals. This time may depend per mom, and whether she experienced any serious tears or needed an episiotomy.
14 When Can I Be Intimate After Birth?
For starters, it usually takes about four to six weeks for mom’s privates to heal after childbirth. So it’s best to wait for at least that long, or until the gynecologist says it’s safe. Do not hesitate to ask when unsure, as this time period may depend on trauma and damage experienced during childbirth.
And even after mom has had the clear, it’s also best to remember that she doesn’t have to do it until she’s fully comfortable.
Chances are that it will be a bit uncomfortable the first time the couple have sex after birth. It shouldn’t, however, be agonizingly painful. Because if it is, it’s probably best to stop right there. But if it is only slightly uncomfortable, make sure to take it slow and not to force it if it’s just not happening. After all, there are plenty of other ways to pleasure each other beyond penetrative sex. No need to rush.
13 What Are The Chances Of A Tear?
There are many factors that contribute to the chances of getting a vaginal tear during childbirth. For first time births, however, getting a tear is almost always guaranteed, since the area is stretching out for the first time. However, they’re usually not as bad as most moms think. Sure, they can be painful and uncomfortable, but not debilitating.
The more common tears, which are either first or second degree, usually heal up in about two weeks, although the area may still be sore for an average of up to two months later. The more serious third or fourth degree tears, however, may take much longer to heal.
There are, however, things that mom can do to help reduce her chances. For instance, doing childbirth preparation exercises such as Kegels can help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor enough that they’re less likely to tear and more likely to heal faster.
12 Is It Too Late To Start Exercising?
Some moms put off pregnancy exercises, mostly because they don’t have time to do so and it’s not a priority, particularly during the first months of pregnancy. However, many find, when they’re confronted with the imminent threat of childbirth within a few weeks, that the benefits of regular pregnancy exercises are so great that they really should have carved out time for them.
The question now, however, is whether it’s too late to catch up on these exercises.
And the answer to that is: not at all! While the ideal scenario is, of course, if mom maintained regular exercises from when she discovered she was pregnant until her due date. This allows for optimum strengthening of the perineal muscles over time.
However, it’s always better late than never. Exercising late in the pregnancy may still allow mom a small amount of benefit that might make a difference on the big day!
11 Is It Normal Not To Be Turned On?
During pregnancy, some women have sex drives that are at an all-time low. This can be a bit unsettling, particularly for those who aren’t quite used to being sexually uninterested. It is, however, normal. For the most part, it’s due to pregnancy symptoms.
One can hardly think of sex in the middle of bouts of morning sickness, after all. And sometimes pregnancy can make mom so tired that she’s just not into having a hot and steamy bedtime encounter.
Keep in mind that mom’s lack of libido probably isn’t going to last forever. Most pregnant moms find that their sex drive changes throughout pregnancy. There may be periods when she’s totally into sex, and there may be times when she’s just not feeling it. The best thing to do, of course, is to make the most of these moods.
On the positive side, this can make sex a bit more unpredictable and exciting when it does happen!
10 Am I Gaining Too Much Weight?
Considering the fact that we’re bombarded with photo after photo of skinny, fabulous pregnant celebrities (or pregnant celebrities who have gained a lot of weight and are scorned for it), it’s no wonder that the average mom can get self-conscious about gaining too much weight.
However, it’s important to note that some weight gain is expected during pregnancy. And, chances are, there will be some body changes that may look unflattering, unless mom is one of the privileged few who has a team of photoshop artists behind every selfie.
Gaining the right amount of weight is important. The healthy amount of weight will depend on mom’s body mass index prior to the pregnancy. As a general rule, women who are underweight will need to gain more in order to have a healthy pregnancy, while those who are overweight won’t need to gain as much.
Make sure to bring this up with the doctor so she can do the calculations as to expected weight gain.
9 Can I Lift Heavy Things?
As a general rule, pregnant moms should avoid lifting heavy things while pregnant. If it is part of her job or a hobby, make sure to ask the doctor if it’s OK. Even if she gets the go signal, however, she will have to stick to certain precautions. One of the reasons for this is because, throughout pregnancy mom’s center of gravity changes.
This can make her lose her balance easily when lifting heavy objects. If she falls and hits her tummy, the baby is then at risk.
In addition, mom’s joints may be a little looser during pregnancy. This is because during this time the body releases a hormone called relaxin, which functions to soften ligaments. In particular, they’re meant to soften the ligaments of the hips, so that the hip bones can expand enough for the baby to fit through during childbirth.
The hormone also affects other joints, however. So mom might find herself a bit more prone to injury during pregnancy.
8 Is It Safe To Be Intimate During Pregnancy?
Unless the doctor says it’s unsafe to have sex, it’s probably OK. However, it’s still best to ask her just in case. In most pregnancies, sex won’t harm the baby. This is because the little one is protected by the amniotic sac and the mucus plug. Of course, if mom has multiple partners, the standard precaution of using condoms must be done in order to prevent sexually transmitted infections.
There are, however, a few other conditions which could make sex during pregnancy dangerous. Women who experience vaginal bleeding or have a history of miscarriage might be discouraged from having sex during pregnancy. This is because orgasm sometimes triggers uterine contractions.
While this won’t affect a normal pregnancy, avoiding them might be a good precaution to take in high risk pregnancies. In addition, if mom’s waters have broken, do not have sex. The baby’s barrier from the outside world is now down and she’s at high risk of getting an infection at this point.
7 Will An STI Affect The Pregnancy?
Moms who have experienced an STI before, or suspect that they may have one now are often concerned about its implications for the pregnancy. Again, it’s extremely important to make the doctor aware of the history of an STI.
Regardless, however, most STIs will make themselves known during standard tests. This is because many infections can negatively impact the pregnancy, increasing the risk for miscarriage or stillbirth. Some of these infections may be transferred to the baby during childbirth as well, so certain precautions will have to be made.
Depending on where mom is, however, the standard screening package may or may not include HIV testing. If mom is HIV positive or suspects that she might be, it’s extremely important to tell the doctor. This is because measures can still be taken in order to keep the little one from getting infected. After all, this infection can negatively impact the baby’s life and she’s better off not getting it.
6 Why Is My Discharge Changing?
Many moms experience changes in their vaginal discharge during pregnancy. Typically, moms find that they have increased clear or whitish odorless or mild-smelling discharge, mostly due to the pregnancy hormones doing their job. This is perfectly fine and nothing to worry about. On the other hand, some moms may not experience discharge changes at all, which is equally fine.
However, mom must keep watch of other signs that something is wrong with her discharge. For one thing, the pregnancy hormones may cause an imbalance in the normal flora of the vagina. This can result in opportunistic infections such as candidiasis or bacterial vaginosis. It may also be due to a sexually transmitted infection.
In this case, it’s best to tell the doctor so that treatment can be started as soon as possible. Make sure, also, to inform the doctor of any other changes in discharge, such as if it’s tinged with blood or if it smells funny.
5 Is There Anything I Should Be Eating?
A balanced diet is, of course, best for expecting moms. A healthy balance of grains, vegetables, fruits, meats (or protein-rich meat replacement) and oils is ideal to ensure that mom and the baby get all the nutrients needed for optimal growth.
In some cases, the doctor might prescribe a supplement, just to make sure that the little one is getting enough nutrition. Typically, this might include folic acid, a nutrient that is essential to the baby’s brain development and difficult to get enough of through food. A deficiency in folic acid during pregnancy can lead to serious birth defects.
What is a bit more strict are the rules as to what mom should not eat. For one thing, uncooked or undercooked meats are off limits. This means sushi bars and deli meats are off the menu. These raw foods might be contaminated with microorganisms that could negatively impact the pregnancy.
As well, fish that are high in mercury content must also be avoided, as mercury can adversely affect the baby’s development.
4 Should I be Around My Husband If He Smokes?
The doctor will likely make sure that the pregnant mom knows that she’s not allowed to smoke at all during pregnancy. After all, cigarette smoke is chock full of harmful chemicals that could negatively impact the pregnancy. Carbon monoxide, for instance, binds with red blood cells and causes decreased oxygen delivery to the fetus.
It also includes 43 different kinds of carcinogens, as well as toxic substances like arsenic and cyanide.
Because of this, it’s just as important that other members of the household do not smoke around mom. Secondhand smoke can do just as much, if not more, damage to both mom and the little one. In addition, even thirdhand smoke – the kind that gets stuck in the smoker’s clothes and hair – has also been found to have negative impacts on the pregnancy.
As such, pregnancy is a great time for all the members of the household to go cold turkey. No exceptions.
3 What If I Give Birth In Public?
Every expecting mom’s worst nightmare is this: she’s in the middle of a harmless shopping trip, perhaps in line to buy a nice new pair of booties for the new baby, when, all of a sudden, her water breaks and she has to give birth in the middle of a crowded mall in the midst of strangers. It sounds both embarrassing and terrifying to be in that situation!
But, as with most things about pregnancy, the embarrassment and terror can be reduced simply by being prepared! For starters, it’s important for mom to have a hospital bag with her (or in the car) at all times as she nears her due date. This ensures that she’s got all the stuff she’ll need to make that quick transition to the hospital.
This hospital bag must include a list of contacts, so that she can easily call on her husband and the doctor just in case the labor contractions turn up in public. It might be a relief to know, however, that after the bag of water breaks, there’s usually enough time to get to a hospital for childbirth!
2 Why Isn't The Baby Moving Yet?
Moms will often feel “quickening” or the baby’s first movement somewhere between sixteen to twenty-two weeks. First-time moms often feel this movement later than veteran moms, and so might worry that something is wrong with the little one. In some cases, however, she may simply be mistaking the baby’s movement for indigestion.
Mom should be able to feel the baby move regularly starting at about 26 weeks. If quickening is not yet felt even at this time, the doctor might want to perform another ultrasound to make sure something isn’t up.
After 26 weeks, however, just because the kicking has already started doesn’t mean mom should stop taking note of the baby’s movements. If the little one fails to move for about 12 hours, it’s best to tell the doctor right away. This could be a sign that she’s not getting enough oxygen or there’s not enough amniotic fluid, making her movements restricted.
Both cases will require immediate assessment and possibly treatment to prevent complications.
1 Why Don’t I Feel A Connection To The Baby!
A mom’s love for her child is pretty much the golden standard of love itself. Which is why some moms are often horrified that, even late in the pregnancy, they don’t feel an emotional connection to the little one. Shouldn’t this be natural, after all? Is something wrong? Is mom a heartless creature who can’t bring herself to love her own child?
The simple answer is: don’t worry! As with any relationship, sometimes it will take time for mom to grow to love her baby. As long as mom is fulfilling her responsibilities and caring for herself and the little one, this isn’t wrong. Some moms even find that they develop a close bond with the baby well after she’s been born.
If, however, this lack of affection for the little one is distressing to the mom, or if it has resulted in harmful behavior, it might be best to consult the doctor to see if there are other issues underlying this problem. No need to be ashamed about it. Life is complex and sometimes things like this just happens. Getting help in this case is the best thing to do.