Alright so, if we go by the movies, a pregnancy is all about having the most glowing skin for the next nine months together with an adorable baby bump and creating the perfect nursery. But to be honest, things couldn’t be further from the truth and you sure live in la-la land if you believe all that. Instead of being a nine month retreat from all sorts of stress and an epitome of perfection, pregnancy just might be a one-way ticket to awkwardness and embarrassment for some (read most) women. Yes, there is a far less glamorous side to pregnancy, and once done, you and your body will never be the same again.
Of course you are ready to have a big, bulging tummy, you’re all set to cope up with morning sickness and endless fatigue, but there are other far more awkward physical changes that you might not know about and will deal with soon enough. With time, you will lose out on your dignity, but don’t worry; this initiation into awkwardness and embarrassment is going to come totally handy when you have a toddler with you who was born skilled at the art of public humiliation. Consider it this way, pregnancy is your means of getting prepared for the embarrassment you will face once your toddler starts announcing to the world that mom let out a big, smelly fart this morning – after going through ample humiliation during pregnancy already, you will do wonders at keeping a straight face and remain completely unphased all through it.
Given below are some of the most embarrassing yet completely normal things that pregnant women experience. But even with their onset, remember, being pregnant is beautiful.
7 Embarrassing problem # : Increased vaginal discharge and odor
Ahh, so you thought being pregnant was all about being glowing and beautiful? Well, let me burst your bubble – it’s about being smelly too. That’s right, with the sudden rise in estrogen levels in your body, you are soon going to notice an increase in your bodily secretions and discharge. With time, you will also notice an increase in its odor, and with your increased sense of smell, it’s completely natural for you to feel embarrassed about it.
Women particularly feel concerned about this problem during their prenatal visits to their OBGYN. Well, if that’s what you are worried about, rest-assured that your OBGYN has already seen, and smelt countless such odors. If you feel embarrassed about the way you smell you can always clean yourself before your visit with a wipe from a feminine cleaning cloth.
See when you get pregnant your estrogen levels rise rather significantly. This particularly holds true during the third trimester and this is actually the point when women start noticing the increased odor. The rise in estrogen levels basically triggers an increase in the production of discharge and other bodily secretions. Come to think of it this way, the increased discharge is also nature’s way of keeping infections that could go up to the uterus at bay.
Now, of course you would want to do away with the odor, but make sure that you don’t use perfumed soaps or gels to wash it off. Also, you must not douche considering that it can upset the overall chemical balance within the vagina. So what can you do to at least lessen down the odor? Well, to begin with, it is highly recommended for you to wear cotton panties as they are more absorbent and breathable as compared to synthetic fabric. Let’s not forget, they are far more comfortable as well and when paired with a panty liner, these can help reduce the odor significantly. However, make sure that you change your panty liner as frequently as possible as it will get damp pretty quickly and might cause irritation to your skin.
With that, make sure that you get in touch with your doctor right away if the discharge burns, itches or has anything other than a creamy and white appearance as you might be suffering from an STD, yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.
6 Embarrassing problem # : Hair, hair everywhere!
Oh, so you thought your hair could silently escape from the effects of being pregnant? That with all of those hormonal changes taking place in your body, your hair will remain unaffected? Hah, fool! There’s no chance that your hair will avert from the effects of those pesky hormones that enhance metabolism and increase blood circulation. From the second trimester onwards, you will start noticing that your hair is growing on a rather rapid basis and have a much healthier and thicker appearance. However, you might also be one of those who end up having oilier, thinner or drier hair. Whatever the changes to your mane, you are bound to notice them with time.
That was the good part; now let’s get to the ugly part – you’re in for a shock if you think it’s just the hair on your head that is going to grow thicker and longer during pregnancy. This is because your facial hair (those on the cheeks, chin, and around the lips) along with those on your back, belly, legs and arms are going to have rapid growth as well. As gross as it may sound, you might also notice expansions in the area that is covered by your pubic hair – how much more unwanted can things get here?!?
So what causes the onset of all this wanted (on your head) and unwanted (elsewhere) hair? Well, you’ve got your raging hormones to thank. While most women revel the fact that they are now going to sport a gorgeous mane of hair, their merriment soon comes to an end when they learn that their face, breasts and abdomen will not be left out. Talk about turning celebrations to pure horror!
Even with all that horror involved, there’s good news – all of this excess hair is temporary. As much as you’re freaking out about it right now, you can rest-assured that it will go away soon after your delivery. Also, if the excessive hair growth is bothering you, feel free to go ahead and wax or tweeze it off. However, stay away from using depilatories and bleach cream as those can get absorbed into your bloodstream and enter your womb.
5 Embarrassing problem # : Excessive gas and burping
If you’re tired of excessive gas and burping during pregnancy, just relax knowing that it isn’t just you – there are countless women out there who could literally accept a burp challenge from a bunch of 10-year-old boys and beat them to it!
See in the beginning of your pregnancy, your hormones are going to get completely out of their minds. With the rise in progesterone levels, you will have slower digestion, which in turn will play a role in the production of excessive amounts of gas. So where will all of it go? Sigh, obviously it is going to get removed from the body in the form of burps and farts! Oh, and there will also be this bloated feeling for you to put up with, which will get worst if you have a large meal. With time, your uterus is going to enlarge with things getting a bit crowded in the abdomen to adjust your baby in there. An expanded uterus means that your stomach is going to get a few more pushes, which will also add to the bloated feeling.
To make matters worse, pregnancy hormones also trigger a bit of a muscle-relaxing effect, which means that you will find it fairly hard to control passing gas (TMI I know, but knowledge must be shared, right?). Although you might be able to work wonders in terms of holding your gas, you will find that your muscles have stopped responding once you get pregnant, thereby leading to an increase in those embarrassing moments where you wish the Earth would crack open and you could bury yourself there!
However, there’s good news too. In order to cut down on the effects of gas during your pregnancy, here’s what you can do:
- -Move around – Ask your doctor about the exercises that you are allowed to perform. This way, you will be able to stimulate digestion and get things going instead of having to fart and burp!
- -Keep an eye on what you eat and drink – Foods that trigger gas must be avoided at all times. This includes fatty or fried foods, cabbage, cauliflower, onions and a whole lot more. Of course, carbonated drinks make the list too.
4 Embarrassing problem # : Those itchy, itchy breasts and nipples
Ah, you’ve only got your new cleavage to thank for this. Like any other pregnant woman out there, you are bound to notice a super-size increase in your breasts and nipples as they prepare for breastfeeding. The skin around this area is extremely sensitive and with this particular bit of growth, it can get persistently itchy.
With an itchy breast or nipple, you will find yourself constantly battling the urge to scratch at it. However, the urge can range from being mild to severe, and would either be an occasional or a constant one. But the down side is that if you scratch at your breast or nipple, the skin can become cracked, swollen, thickened and red, which means that it can get fairly damaged if you scratch at it.
Does that mean there’s no relief? Not really. What you can do is apply a thick emollient lanolin cream over the breast if you have a strong urge to scratch at it. Also, after your take a shower, apply a vitamin E body lotion or cocoa butter over your breast so that its skin remains supple and doesn’t itch. While you are at it, make sure that you also stay away from wearing irritating fabrics that could further trigger the itching on your breasts and nipples. This is typically inclusive of wool and cashmere blends. Also, considering that your breasts are growing and will continue to grow for a bit, throw away your old bras and get those soft cotton based nursing ones. You might also be interested in purchasing camisoles that have built-in support. Taking these basic steps can actually go a long way in lessening if not completely doing away with the urge to scratch your breasts and nipples!
Now, not all of those itchy feelings in the breasts should go ignored. It is necessary for you to get in touch with your doctor right away if you have bloody discharge from one or both of your nipples or develop a rash along with the itchiness. These are actually symptoms of a bacterial infection and it must be checked out by a professional right away.
3 Embarrassing problem # : Leaking urine or incontinence
It couldn’t get more embarrassing than this, could it? The internet is literally packed with experience of women sneezing and accidentally wetting themselves as they stand between a group of family members, friends or colleagues. This particular problem has been termed ‘stress incontinence’ and basically involves the involuntary leakage of urine due to laughter, a sneeze or even a bit of cough. Well, no matter if it is just a few drops of leaked urine, the embarrassment that it can cause is HUGE.
So why is it that women leak urine during their pregnancy? Well, it’s all about ‘loosening up’ my friend. See, upon getting pregnant, there are certain hormones that send out signals to your pelvic muscles and ask them to relax so as to make delivering your baby possible. This is what actually makes you ‘leak’ while giggling or sneezing during pregnancy. Moreover, as your precious little angel continues to grow and develop, s/he will place significantly more pressure over your bladder, thereby adding to those episodes of incontinence or leaking urine. Honestly speaking, your pelvic floor muscle is in for a ride when it has to deal with a growing baby. With such a lot of pressure in there, you are bound to have a few leaded urine episodes – not sure if you’d like to talk about them or not though!
Now, things aren’t really that bad considering that there are quite a few things that you can do to prevent such episodes of utmost embarrassment. For instance, it is highly recommended for you to start wearing panty liners so that the leaks don’t really ‘leak’ and soak your clothing. Also, make sure that you visit the loo frequently so that urine doesn’t build up in the bladder and doesn’t get leaked too. Apart from that, you should also focus on performing regular Kegel exercises so that the muscles around your bladder can get strengthened. It is best for you to perform these several times a day in sets of 10.
Also, get in touch with your doctor if you experience burning or pain while peeing so that a bladder or urinary tract infection can be ruled out.
2 Embarrassing problem # : Those yucky hemorrhoids
If you have a new mom around you, just ask her about hemorrhoids and I am 200% sure she will have a rather uncomfortable story to share with you. See when it comes to being pregnant, hemorrhoids are a definite bet. Why so? Well, because these are typically triggered due to constipation and the strain that we exert so as to umm, let me put it nicely, have a ‘bowel movement’ – ask any pregnant woman, and you will hear an entire round of her constipation related problems!
For those who don’t know, hemorrhoids are basically dilated blood vessels that are found around the anus. To begin with, these tend to be more so burning, rather itchy bumps and with time, these might bleed too. It is for this reason that having blood in your stool, or on the toilet paper that you use is one of the most commonly cited symptoms of hemorrhoids.
If truth be told, there are countless pregnant women out there who suffer from a bout of hemorrhoids and their onset is also f ueled by the weight of the baby placing pressure on the veins found in the groin area. You can find some relief by using hemorrhoid wipes to take away any itching or burning sensation you might be feeling.
As bad as dealing with hemorrhoids sounds, there’s relief. In order to reduce your risk of going through a hemorrhoid flare-up, it is necessary for you to keep constipation at bay. For this, make sure that you keep well-hydrated, have lots and lots of water, eat lots of fiber-rich foods (such as bran muffins and high-fiber cereals), and consider the utilization of stool softeners. If you develop hemorrhoids, keep the area as dry and clean as possible. Also, consider swabbing it with witch hazel pads so as to soothe the swelling. With these basic tips and tricks, you can easily avoid the onset of hemorrhoids, and do away with any discomfort that you have in case they develop during your pregnancy.
Now, hemorrhoids aren’t really a cause for concern as these aren’t really dangerous to you or your baby. However, if you continue to have blood in your stool, make sure that you inform your doctor about it so as even the smallest possibility of colon cancer can be ruled out.
1 Embarrassing problem # : My breasts are leaking!
Women think that their breasts are going to leak once they deliver their babies, but most of them end up having leaky breasts way before heading out to the labor room. To be honest, having leaky breasts signifies that your body is getting prepared to deliver, and then provide adequate ‘feedings’ to your baby. With the passage of time, the amount of the hormone prolactin, which is responsible for preparing your breasts for feeding continues to rise. Particularly in the third trimester of your pregnancy, even the most basic things that stimulate your nipples can lead to fluid getting leaked from your nipples. This includes having sex, changing your clothes and even taking a shower.
Although you cannot put an end to these bouts of leaky breasts, there are certain things that you can do to prevent those damp spots that are oh-so-noticeable from appearing on your clothing. The best thing to do in this regard is to purchase nursing pads and then stick them inside your bra. This way, they will absorb all the wetness that occurs due to leaking breasts and you wouldn’t have a thing to worry about. You will obviously need these once your baby comes, so it wouldn’t hurt to invest in a few beforehand. The best part is that these will give your breasts a much fuller appearance, which adds to the reasons why you should consider using nursing pads to tackle this particular problem.
Now, having l eaking breasts is completely normal during pregnancy and shouldn’t really worry you. However, in case the leakage has a foul smell, or has a bloody appearance, then it is time for you to head out to the doctors right away. Once there, your doctor is going to rule out a bacterial infection known as intraductal papilloma. This is actually a noncancerous condition that is typically associated with the onset of bloody discharge from the nipples. Remember, bloody discharge from the nipples is also a warning sign of breast cancer (though in rare cases), and it must be checked out by a professional so that adequate treatment can be planned out.