You’re excited about trying to conceive. You’re enthusiastic about your pregnancy. You are grateful that your baby has finally arrived safe and sound. We get it. We really do. But spare us the gory details, please!
Learn how to read a room or else you may find yourself guilty of providing unsuspecting well-wishers with TMI when it comes to your pregnancy and childbirth. It can easily happen: you start off discussing how far along you are and the next thing you know, you've slipped into cringe-inducing territory (Point #5) or even worse--a vomit-worthy discourse (Point #9).
Remember this piece of advice: when someone politely asks you how you’ve been coping with pregnancy or childbirth, they are not expecting a ten-minute monologue about your hemorrhoids and the smell of your latest vaginal discharge. Have a safe and stock answer at the ready. And if they press for more details, you can then determine if they really are interested in hearing about your episiotomy or not.
If you are concerned that you may be a culprit of chronic oversharing, read further for 15 TMI pregnancy and birth details better left unsaid.
15 Mute the Menstruation Conversation
Up until a certain point in your life, your period may have been viewed as a minor inconvenience in terms of going on vacation or wearing white shorts. But since trying for a baby has become your current goal in life, you may notice that the arrival of Aunt Flo has taken on a greater significance in your life.
The familiar cramping and spotting are concrete evidence of your failure to conceive the child you so desperately want. All month long you and your partner may have enjoyed talking about nursery colors and college funds, But, with the arrival of a little blood, all those plans are flushed down the toilet.
This can be a tough time in your life. You may find yourself obsessed with calendars and charts. You might be busy counting days and monitoring flow density. In other words, you may be completely wrapped up in the regularity, or in some cases irregularity, of your periods. It may be all you think about. But please, don’t make it all that you talk about!
14 The Big O? Forget About It!
And by “Big O” we mean ovulation, of course! In the past, your cycles may not have given you much pause for thought, but now that you and your partner are eagerly trying to conceive, you’ve got ovulation on the brain (which is to be expected).
You are suddenly all about taking your temperature daily, monitoring your hormonal levels, sussing out bodily cues such as cervical and/or discharge changes. The word follicle goes through your mind at least 20 times a day.
And sure, the discovery that you are suffering from a case of anovulation, which means that for whatever reason you just aren’t ovulating, can be devastating. But all of this may not be edge-of-your-seat info for your co-workers.
That’s not to say your extremely close friends aren’t interested in knowing what is happening concerning your progress or lack of progress. But, if you notice individuals have a glazed appearance in their eyes or are squirming uncomfortably at your attempts at conversation, take a hint and change the subject to something more agreeable . . . like the weather.
13 Censor the Sex Talk
Your sex life may be ramped up due to the fact you and your partner are on a mission. Or perhaps, it’s become somewhat robotic and clinical due to said mission. Or maybe, your mission has been accomplished and now you’re experiencing some heightened loving feelings.
Even if your baby has been born and now it’s time to get back to business, sex plays a major part in any relationship throughout its various stages. But most likely, no one wants to hear about the gory details.
And there can be more at stake here than simply driving your friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances crazy with all your sex talk. You have to consider how your partner feels about this particular realm of oversharing. Are they open about it as well? Would they view it as a possible betrayal? Would they be embarrassed? Think twice before you speak.
12 Fertility Treatments--Don't Go There
The funny thing about infertility is that often times once this particular can of worms is opened, you’ll notice people start confiding about their own issues or sharing success stories that they know about. In this case, in-depth discussion about various procedures, practices, doctors, medications and so on can be helpful and provide a devastated couple with hope and encouragement.
Just remember, chances are the cashier at your grocery store check-out probably isn’t that interested in knowing you are taking Clomid, and that guy in accounting didn’t expect you to answer his “How are you doing today?” with “A bit crampy from my morning IUI procedure.”
As long as you’re cognizant of the people around you and their relationship to you and their reactions to your conversation, you can probably figure out pretty quickly what and how much to share--if anything at all.
11 Your Ever-Changing Nipples Are Definite No-Nos
Throughout pregnancy, you may begin noticing distinct changes to your nipples. They may have grown in size and darkened in color. And around the three-month mark of pregnancy, your breasts begin producing colostrum (the thick, yellowish substance that precedes the arrival of your milk) in anticipation of your soon-to-arrive infant. So don’t be surprised if your nipples begin to leak a bit. It’s been known to happen.
While on the topic of nipples, your breasts may undergo a complete transformation during the process of pregnancy and into the months following childbirth. The hormonal changes that are taking place will cause increased blood flow and tissue change which can result in your breasts feeling swollen, tingly and, in some cases, extremely sensitive.
Your breasts will increase in size. They may feel itchy. Veins and stretch marks may begin to mar the formerly flawless landscape of those previously perfect bazoombas.
In a nutshell, breast and nipple changes during pregnancy and after childbirth are completely normal and to be expected. But that still doesn’t mean it will make for riveting dinner conversation with your in-laws.
10 Save Talk of Your Number 2 Routine for Behind Closed Doors
There’s no denying it--pregnancy and childbirth can wreak havoc on your poop schedule. What may have once been status quo requiring no effort, organization or assistance on your part may now require some serious planning in order to accomplish.
The pregnancy hormonal cocktail that is currently coursing through your veins can sometimes lead to severe and uncomfortable constipation. Your best bet is to take action as soon as this occurs by adding more fiber to your diet and talking to your healthcare provider about healthy ways to move your bowels.
Keep in mind, if you’ve never been one to discuss your bathroom details with friends and family, your pregnancy shouldn’t change this fact. And if you’ve routinely discussed the color and consistency of your poop with the people in your life, they are probably used to it by now and wouldn’t expect otherwise!
One more quick note: if you happened to poop during childbirth, keep this bit of information to yourself. Trust us on this!
9 Top Secret Secretions
With all the changes occurring within your cervix in the preparation of childbirth as well as your hormonal fluctuations, it is normal for these changes to be reflected in your vaginal secretions.
Healthy vaginal discharge during early pregnancy is typically thin and clear or milky white in color and should only have a mild odor. Throughout your pregnancy, you may notice the discharge becoming heavier. As you near the 40-week mark, don’t be alarmed if you notice thick mucus or streaks of blood.
The only person remotely interested in your vaginal discharge is going to be your doctor or midwife. No one else. Not your friends, nor your family, nor your poor unsuspecting neighbor who happens to be washing his car when he asks you how your pregnancy is progressing. No one. Chances are, unless it is something that is causing you concern, your partner loathes to hear the messy details as well.
8 Keep Your Gut Sitch on the DL
If this is your first pregnancy, you may be noticing that it’s sometimes difficult to remain polished, poised, and refined throughout. Due to your condition, you may be experiencing some serious gas, heartburn, and nausea. You may have heard about the pregnancy glow but not many people talk about the pregnancy bloating, burping, and farting phenomenon. And with good reason. EWWWWWW.
Excess gas during pregnancy is caused by a number of factors including your prenatal vitamins, certain foods, your growing uterus as well as the hormone progesterone. While progesterone supports your pregnancy, it also causes all your muscles to relax, including the muscles in your intestines. This results in your digestion slowing considerably which allows gas to build up.
Progesterone is also the culprit behind heartburn. It relaxes the stomach valve and along with your growing uterus, this may force acid into your esophagus.
Unfortunately, despite facing all of this general unpleasantness, you may be required to determine whether someone asking you about your pregnancy is seriously interested and concerned or just being polite. Best to err on the side of caution. When someone asks how you are feeling, answer truthfully while remaining light on the disgusting details.
7 Vaginal Variations Are Verboten
As we're sure you know by now, pregnancy changes things in your life. Your priorities will shift, your relationships will evolve, and your body will transform. And your vagina is no exception. It will undergo somewhat of a metamorphosis as well.
Normally a pinkish hue, pregnancy has the power to turn your lady parts blue or purple in color due to an increase in blood flow. As well, it’s normal for pregnant women to experience mild itchiness, a different odor, as well as some swelling down there. And don’t be alarmed, but some pregnant women even develop varicose veins within their nether regions as a result of increased blood flow as well as an expanding uterus.
All of the above information may come as somewhat of a surprise to you as it’s not information that is typically broadcast. . . and for good reason. So, if you are about to pursue a discussion focused around your vaginal changes and the person you are talking to is not your healthcare provider, think again and zip your lips.
6 Infection Confessions
You may have noticed how disruptive pregnancy has been to your life already, so it only makes sense that carrying a child will also disrupt the delicate balance within your vagina and urinary tract.
Your vagina is its own microcosm of natural bacteria, and being pregnant predisposes you to all sorts of infections. Luckily most are relatively mild and easily treatable. The two most common vaginal infections that pregnant women are prone to contract include bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast infections.
And while anyone can suffer from a urinary tract infection (UTI), it is most common in women, especially preggos. This is due to hormonal changes as well as your growing uterus pressing down on your bladder which can sometimes prevent it from completely emptying of urine.
If you believe you are suffering from an infection, definitely have a conversation with your healthcare provider who will decide the best course of treatment. However, consider the topic taboo with all non-medical individuals in your circle. Most everyone else will not appreciate being privy to the corruption occurring within your vagina and urinary tract.
5 Your Dilation Situation Is Off-Limits
As a pregnant woman, you may often hear the term dilation bandied about during your well-baby appointments and among other pregnant women. But that still doesn’t change the fact the word dilate is enough to make a person’s stomach lurch. Keep that in mind when having a conversation with people not currently well-versed in pregnancy-speak.
The term dilation in relation to pregnancy and labor refers to the gradual opening of your cervix as it readies itself for pending childbirth, and then the rapid opening as your body gets closer to experiencing active labor.
Stage one of the labor process involves gradual followed by rapid dilation. Stage two is underway once your cervix is fully dilated (at 10 cm) and ends with the birth of your baby.
While the term dilate may be a perfectly normal word describing a completely normal part of the childbirth process, it’s probably for the best to keep it out of any breezy conversations with anyone not part of your health care providing team or not currently pregnant. When it comes to your cervix and its gradual and rapid opening, just assume no one wants to know about it and leave it at that.
4 Keep Your Hemorrhoidal Horrors Under Wraps
Yet another unfortunate side effect sometimes occurring during pregnancy is the often painful, always disgusting, hemorrhoids. If you’re uncertain as to what they are, allow me to explain: hemorrhoids refer to the swelling and bulging of veins within your rectal area. They can be caused by pressure from your enlarging uterus, the increase of blood flow to your pelvic area and/or due to constipation. They can also develop as a direct result of pushing during labor.
Sometimes referred to as piles because of their uncanny resemblance to a pile of marbles or grapes attached to your bum, they afflict more than half of all pregnant women.
The good news is that they most often disappear following the birth of your baby. But even if they don't, rest assured they are extremely treatable.
If you were even slightly uncomfortable while reading through the above information, put yourself in the shoes of any well-intentioned individual locked into an uncomfortable conversation with you about your embarrassing condition. Save the details for only the truly concerned--most likely only your healthcare provider!
3 Warning: Images May Contain Graphic Content
Many expectant parents are opting for professional photography and videography during the birth of their child which actually makes sense. It’s only fair that new moms have their partners at their side offering support and being emotionally present in the moment--not with a camera in hand watching through a lens.
Birthing photos actually get an undeserved bad rap; there’s so much more to birth photography than simply a crowning shot. There are raw emotions and tiny details that show up in photos that you may not have initially noticed when experiencing the birth the first time around.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean all your family and friends are interested in seeing the images. Have a few staged photos of the new mom with the baby on hand for anyone who asks to see a pic, and have the other blood and vernix-covered shots available for viewing by special request.
One more important note: plan ahead and talk to your healthcare provider so you are aware of the hospital or birthing center’s policy on birth photos and recordings before you go into labor.
2 Bodily Fluids Are Banned
As with anything, there are exceptions to every rule. However, when in mixed company, it’s probably safest not to discuss what seeped, gushed, oozed or trickled out of your vagina throughout your pregnancy and childbirth experience. It obviously happens, as anyone in the know regarding pregnancy and childbirth can confirm; it just doesn’t make for the most pleasant dinner conversation.
Besides the usual discharge, you may notice throughout the 40 weeks you will eventually get to a point where your water breaks. This is when the amniotic fluid which has been protecting your fetus tears, and fluid begins leaking out of your vagina by way of your cervix. Generally when this occurs, it signifies the beginning of early labor.
Another common sign of approaching labor is when you lose your mucus plug. Since early in your pregnancy, your body has created a thick wad of mucus which has acted as a cork in order to seal off your uterus. It may make its way out in one solid clump or bit by bit. Watching for signs of bloody snot in your underwear can be a nasty business for a pregnant woman. Now imagine having to hear about it second hand!
1 Strictly Forbidden: Episiotomy Nitty Gritty
The cringe-inducing term episiotomy refers to the surgical cut in the muscular area between your vagina and anus. If required, it is made before the delivery of your baby in order to enlarge your vaginal opening.
While they were considered a routine part of the childbirth process in the past, episiotomies are presently only recommended in specific instances such as:
- Severe tearing seems unavoidable
- Your baby is large
- Your baby is abnormally positioned
- Your baby needs immediate delivery
It’s always worthwhile to discuss episiotomies with your doctor or midwife beforehand in order to find out what their policies are on the procedure. However, it’s probably best to limit this sort of discussion to the confines of a medical environment.
If you did undergo an episiotomy during the birth of your baby, it really is an unnecessary detail to provide to any of your well-wishers!