First-time mothers or moms-to-be may feel a little nervous if their first gynecologist appointment is approaching since they were expecting. During pregnancy, a woman's body is going through many changes. Some of them may feel exciting, and others...not so much. You may feel afraid or even embarrassed in case the changes you notice are strange, and you may worry what your gynecologist is going to think.
Rule of thumb? Your gyno has seen it all, so don't worry. You are not their first pregnant patient, and you sure won't be the last one. A gynecologist, like any medical professional, respects your dignity and privacy, and they will help you adjust to any new developments in your body.
When going to your appointment, make sure to air any questions you may have out to ease your mind. Address any concerns that come to mind, even the ones that feel a little shameless or unusual. Most likely, your gynecologist has seen it a thousand times before and can assure you that you are okay. If it is a cause for concern, they can help you get treatment right away.
What are some common questions moms-to-be have for their gynecologists, and what might you consider asking them as the appointment day comes a little closer? This article explores 15 questions moms-t0-be have for their gynecologists and encourages you to keep them out in the open.
15 "Things Are Changing Color, Should I Be Concerned?"
Just as the rest of your body experiences significant changes during pregnancy, your vagina does, too. These little-known changes may be startling enough to ask your gynecologist what, exactly, is happening down there and should you be worried? In most cases, the answer is no.
What changes you can expect during gestation varies between people. Some people's vaginas may change colors, some may develop varicose veins, and some may become a little swollen or develop a different smell.
If a change worries you, talk about it with your gyno. Nine times out of ten, it's a change they've seen before and can assure you is common. If it's a sign of trouble, they'll be able to connect you with medical help and treat it.
14 "Why Are My Nipples So Sensitive All Of The Sudden?"
Nipple sensitivity is often an early sign of pregnancy, beginning at around the 4-7 week mark. In the coming months, you may notice that your breasts are growing and may be a little tender. The culprit? Good ol' estrogen as your breasts prepare for nursing once your baby is born. Some reasons include an increase of breast tissue and increased blood flow to the area.
If your nipples have grown and feel a little sensitive, there is no need to worry. But if they're extremely painful to the touch or are overly-sensitive, it wouldn't hurt to bring it up with your gynecologist. They can examine your breasts and determine if any changes may be a sign of something that needs treatment. When in doubt, ask.
13 "What Kind Of Discharge Is Normal During Pregnancy?"
What discharge is okay, and what is the sign of something more serious? Changes in discharge vary between expectant mothers. Some see an increase of discharge, usually the milky-whitish variety called leukorrhea, and some do not. Discharge manifests in different ways for all women, regardless of whether they're expecting. What's normal for you may not be someone else's normal, and that's one hundred percent okay.
In some cases, discharge changes during pregnancy can be a more troublesome sign. If you feel pain during intercourse or a burning sensation when urinating, you may have a yeast infection. Yellow, grey or green discharge, or discharge with a pungent smell, can possibly be bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis.
If you notice any foul-smelling or unusual discharge, talk to your gynecologist about possible causes so you can receive treatment right away.
12 "I'm ____ Months Along And Have Noticed A Little Spotting. Is This A Bad Sign?"
Breathe in. Breathe out. Relax. Spotting while pregnant is not necessarily a sign of alarm, even if you may feel a little anxiety when you discover it. A good majority of women who experience spotting have healthy pregnancies without major complications.
Talk to your gynecologist so that they are aware of and can investigate the source, but don't assume the worst. Most likely, your body and your child are okay. That being said, do not hesitate to talk to your gynecologist and other medical practitioners involved in your pregnancy right away.
Know the difference between spotting and bleeding: one is likely harmless and the other may be a sign of something more serious. If you're spotting, the blood will be light pink or brown in color, like discharge nearing the end of your menstrual cycle. If your bleeding, the blood will be bright red and may soak a sanitary napkin.
Unlike spotting, bleeding may be more serious. If you experience vaginal bleeding during your pregnancy, seek help from a medical professional immediately.
11 "I'm Noticing A Funny Smell 'Down There.' Is This Normal?"
If your vagina is exhibiting a strong new odor during pregnancy, you may not only feel uncomfortable but a little concerned. After all, how you smell should be the least of your concerns as you prepare for your new child and adjust to other changes pregnancy brings.
Around 65% of women exhibit a fishy smell when pregnant. Some exhibit a very strong odor while others experience it more mildly. The cause may be hormonal, dietary, infectious, or caused by a variety of other factors.
When should you bring it up with your gynecologist? Talk to your gyno if the new smell lasts a long time or your vagina exhibits other symptoms associated with a yeast infection, such as soreness or unusual discharge.
Whether or not the cause is benign, however, you're more than welcome to talk to your gynecologist about it if the smell bothers you. They can help find the root cause and suggest hygienic methods of reducing the smell.
10 "How Much Weight Gain Should I Expect Over The Next Nine Months?"
Although 25-35 pounds is the general rule of thumb for how much weight gain to expect when you're expecting, the amount of weight gain healthy for you varies depending on your BMI and other factors. Unless it is caused by a significant health issue, however, try not to worry too much about weight gain. Worry instead about making sure you are healthy and practicing self-care every day to ensure your and your baby's safety.
You may ask your gynecologist about unusual weight gain or loss to determine if an underlying cause may be to blame and if it is serious. Should you need it, you may also benefit from the advice of a dietitian or other medical professional to make sure that your and your baby's bodies are receiving the nutrients they need to keep healthy.
9 "What Can I Do To Strengthen Bladder Control?"
It happened so fast. One day you're able to attend a local comedy club with friends, no complications, and the next you flinch at every sneeze or giggle in case you lose control of your bladder.
Incontinence during pregnancy is common. Unfortunate, but common. After all, you do have a baby sitting on your bladder. You have no need to feel embarrassed if you have less control over your bladder than when you did when pregnant. But you do owe it to yourself to stop suffering in silence and bring it up with your gynecologist so they can remedy the problem.
Your gynecologist has seen this before, guaranteed, and can help you out. They may recommend exercises to practice or other methods of increasing bladder strength. If anything, telling another person might help you feel a little less alone and a little more reassured that your body isn't malfunctioning.
8 "What If I Have A Bowel Movement During The Delivery?"
First of all, let it be known that a bowel movement during your labor is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. You may not believe it, but it really is normal. If your ob-gyn has any experience at all with childbirth (which I certainly hope they do), they have seen it before and don't think anything of it. Your nurses won't laugh at you. Your spouse isn't going to be disgusted. If it happens, it happens, and I promise you will survive.
But if having a bowel movement during the delivery is one of your biggest nightmares, bring it up with your gynecologist. They may be able to reassure you of its normalcy and help comfort you about the respect and sense of dignity medical professionals have for their patients. They may also give you tips to make pooping during labor less likely or help you focus on your body instead of bowel movements.
Just remember: your gynecologist has heard it all before and is here to help you feel more comfortable. There is nothing you can say that will make them uncomfortable or, most likely, they have not heard before. If you're nervous, bring it up and put your mind at ease.
7 "Can My Spouse And I Still Have Intercourse During The Pregnancy?"
Will having sex during pregnancy harm the baby? Most likely not. So long as your pregnancy doesn't have any major complications, you should be able to maintain a healthy sex life with your significant other.
That being said, you may need to avoid some aspects of sex while pregnant. You will need to take certain precautions when engaging in oral sex and avoid sexual intimacy with partners who carry STDS, which can pass onto the baby.
Also, if your pregnancy has certain complications, your gynecologist may advise against sexual intimacy. Talk to your gynecologist about your medical history and concerns to explore what is and isn't safe for you and your significant other while pregnant.
6 "How Can I Keep My Downstairs Nice And Clean? Is It Safe To Use A Douche?"
To answer the latter questions, most doctors recommend that you refrain from using a douche while pregnant. In fact, some doctors suggest that you refrain from douching ever. Why? Douching can change your vagina's natural bacterial levels and leave you more susceptible to developing a yeast infection. Vaginas naturally clean themselves by fluid secretions, and they don't need douches to keep themselves healthy.
Your gynecologist may be able to recommend other ways to keep hygiene practices while pregnant if you feel concerned about this. Let them know what your specific concerns are so they can help brainstorm a routine that fits your body's needs.
5 "Intercourse Has Been Painful Since Pregnancy, What's Wrong?
Pain during sex can be a challenge for both you and your significant other, but you are not alone. If you're feeling pain during intercourse or orgasm, it could be serious (such as an STI) or it could be because of the increased blood flow to your pelvic region during pregnancy. For some, this engorgement is uncomfortable and may even cause uterine contractions that hurt a lot.
Open communication is so important to keep between you and your partner. If you feel pain during intimacy, let them know so you can stop and evaluate the situation. You may be able to try different, less painful positions or you may need to maintain intimacy in another way (such as cuddling) if the discomfort is too much.
If the pain is severe and lasts after you have stopped physical intimacy, or if it triggers vaginal bleeding or contractions, contact your doctor immediately. You may discuss less serious causes of pain with your gynecologist and ask them how to maintain intimacy with your significant other during the duration of the pregnancy.
4 "How Likely Will I Need A C-section?"
Everybody is different, and every body is, too. Whether or not you may need a c-section depends on previous medical history, like if you've already had a c-section before or your pregnancy has certain complications.
Your gynecologist may be able to evaluate your health conditions and give an idea on what to expect in the delivery room, and they may be able to prepare you for a c-section if they feel it is likely.
If you likely will need a c-section, know that babies born by cesarean section thrive as well as babies induced by vaginal birth. The surgical technique behind c-sections has advanced throughout the years, and it is both safe and common for a baby to be born this way. Talk to your gynecologist if you feel nervous, and they can help you feel less anxious as your due date approaches.
3 "Ever Since My Pregnancy, I've Never Been In The Mood For Sex. What's Behind My Lower Libido?"
Low libido? Sex drive might decrease from the first trimester onward as your attention shifts away from intimacy and to preparing for your new baby. Generally, you may see fluctuations in your libido over the months, with a peak in the second trimester and another decrease in the third semester as your body feels the strain of pregnancy more keenly.
Again, intimacy does not have to come in the form of sex: cuddling and kissing may fulfill your romantic drive if you are disinterested in sexuality. Talk to your partner to find ways you can fulfill each other's need for affection, and talk to your gynecologist if you feel your libido is affecting your life or romantic relationship.
2 "What Changes Are Normal In My Breasts, And What Could Be A Sign Of Breast Cancer?"
Sensitivity, tissue growth, pigment changes, and leaking fluids are all potential breast changes that can happen during pregnancy. Your hormones are working to make your breasts ready for nursing once the baby is born, and they will develop along with your body to better accommodate breast milk.
Sometimes these changes can be painful and unwanted. Bring up any discomfort with a gynecologist so they can help suggest methods of relief, like wearing a maternity bra. As always, you may want to give yourself a breast self-exam to monitor abnormalities and talk with your gynecologist if they concern you.
1 "Will My V Ever Be The Same After Labor?"
Childbirth is taxing on the body. Just as emotionally, you may never be the same as before you had your child, you may notice some physical changes as well. Your vagina may feel wider or sore for a while after pregnancy, and you may feel pain during intimacy. You may also notice temporary dryness due to lower levels of estrogen in your body after labor.
Your gynecologist can inform you of potential changes and help you prepare so that you aren't caught by surprise and can adjust more easily.
Remember: your gynecologist is more than just a distant doctor. They have seen many pregnant patients before. If you have any questions or concerns, take them to the appointment so they can help you relax and feel comfortable in your body again.