You are not alone if you have ever Googled a medical question instead of asking a doctor. Everyone does it. But be wary of going down the WebMD rabbit hole—the majority of the time your cold is not actually cancer. When it comes to pregnancy, you should especially not be afraid of asking your doctor or caregiver all of your questions, no matter how weird or embarrassing they might seem.
While Google may seem like it has all the answers, Google does not know your individual case. It is likely that experienced medical professionals have heard every question in the book, but if they have not heard your question before, keep in mind it is their job to look after the health of you and your baby.
Your doctor wants to help you and recognizes that you have not been pregnant before. They expect a lot of questions from soon-to-be first-time moms, so do not worry about being annoying. Below is a list of common questions that trained medical professionals are asked, and if you find your symptoms differ from these, absolutely talk to your doctor. Either way, this post will hopefully help open your eyes and give you a brief answer to some of your weirder pregnancy questions.
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21 Will I Get Stretched Out “Down There?”
You will not have to worry too much about “down there.” Your equipment is designed to stretch for childbirth and then shrink back to its normal size, but this is not always the case. Whether it returns to its normal size depends on your genetics, the number of children you have had, the size of your baby and the amount of Kegels you do.
In fact, your “down there” has muscle memory to assist in the shrinking process, but it is perfectly normal for it to be bigger after giving birth. Obviously, it will take time for everything to return back to normal after giving birth—or your new normal. Some women even get stitches down there because of tears, so in situations like this, it takes time to heal.
20 Will I Spend All Nine Months In The Bathroom?
There are a lot of reasons that you will find yourself peeing more before and after you give birth. One of the main reasons that you pee so often when you are first pregnant is because the blood flow to your kidneys will increase by 35%-60%–thus increasing your urine output by about 25%. As your baby and uterus grow, your uterus will apply pressure on your bladder simply because they are in close proximity to each other. The more pregnant you are, the more you will probably have to pee.
After you give birth, it is likely that your bladder control will decrease because your pelvic floor has been stretched out. Within six weeks to three months, some control should be regained. Keep in mind that Kegels can help with this (and your future sex life) as well.
19 What Is Happening With My Chest?
An early pregnancy sign for many women is abnormal breast tenderness. It often begins around the first five weeks of pregnancy and will last through the first trimester. This is because increased hormone levels increase blood flow to your breast tissue, which can cause soreness, a tingly feeling, or a swollen feeling. Your breasts will also increase in size. It is not uncommon for a woman’s breasts to increase one to two cup sizes, especially if it is your first baby.
Your breasts could also feel itchier than normal. You might develop stretch marks, too. It is also likely you will be able to see the veins under your skin on your breasts as they grow. Some women also find that their breasts feel lumpy and bumpy. If this happens, talk to your doctor. Usually, the case is that you have developed milk-filled cysts or benign breast tumors. It is very unlikely that a woman would develop cancer during pregnancy.
18 Are My Nips Going To Change?
In most cases, a woman’s nipples will change, especially if her breasts are changing. Within the first trimester, a woman’s areolas (otherwise known as the colored circles surrounding your nipples) will increase in diameter and turn darker in color.
Many women have bumps on their areolas. These bumps can become bigger and more noticeable as your pregnancy continues. They are an oil-producing gland called Montgomery’s tubercles. The oils from Montgomery’s tubercles help keep the nipple and areola protected and lubricated, particularly when breastfeeding.
After your first trimester, you may find that your nipples are leaking. This is because your body has started producing colostrum, the first kind of milk your little one will receive when you start nursing. Colostrum is full of antibodies that help a newborn’s immune system fight against diseases.
17 How Do I Get Labor Going?
In short, you wait. There are many rumors that have been circulating for years about how to induce labor. If you ask most modern childbirth experts, they will all say that there are no proven, non-medical ways to induce labor. At the hospital, you can get medications to induce labor, but only if there is an evidence-based reason to do so. Some suspect that acupuncture can help bring on labor, but this belief has not been proven.
Furthermore, though there is no proof that getting intimate can trigger labor, though many caregivers will tell their patients to try it. Doing the deed releases hormones that stimulate prostaglandins to help soften the cervix, which could lead to effacement and dilation. One theory says that going on a long walk will help induce labor, but no one wants to go on a long tiring walk only to be already exhausted before they are in the delivery room.
Last but not least, keep in mind that labor is triggered by oxytocin, and that oxytocin is produced only when baby’s lungs reach full development and release surfactant that tells the body it’s time. So, in a nutshell, inducing should only be a factor when the pregnancy poses more risk to mom or baby than possibly being born before full development is complete.
16 So, Tiger Stripes?
Stretch marks are a perfectly natural part of pregnancy. They are small, indented streaks in the skin that can show up anywhere from the stomach area, to the thighs, to the bum, to the breasts. In the later stages of pregnancy, as a woman’s belly is quickly growing, stretch marks are likely to happen simply because the skin is stretching so quickly. The cause of stretch marks is linked to changes in the elastic supportive tissue that is right below the skin.
Depending on your skin color, they can be pink, red, brown, purple, or dark brown. Stretch marks will fade, but will never completely disappear. There is no proven way to prevent stretch marks unfortunately. If you gain no more than the suggested amount while pregnant, you could reduce your chances of stretch marks. Drinking lots of water and applying lotions could help, but it is not proven.
15 What Is Up With This Glue In My Pants?
It is totally normal to have some discharge during your pregnancy and after giving birth. During your pregnancy, keep in mind that your hormones are going crazy and the blood flow to your pelvic area has increased. Normal discharge is called leukorrhea. It is white, milky, and mildly smelly.
Use some sort of pad to keep your panties clean—never use tampons while pregnant. If your discharge is not like this or if it is painful, itchy, burning, or smelly, it is possible you have an infection or that your water has broken.
If this is the case, talk to your physician as soon as possible. After giving birth, you will experience lochia, which consists of blood and tissue being shed from your uterus. This usually occurs for a few days to weeks after giving birth, so stock up on maxi-pads!
14 What Going On With This Hair And My Nails?
Hair and nails are often affected during pregnancy. First, a woman may find that there is a lot more hair in unexpected places. They may find hair on the face, around the stomach, and/or around the nipples. The texture of a woman’s hair may change causing it to be coarser, drier, or oilier. Some may even find that the color or curliness of their hair may change. The increase of hormones in your body will cause your hair to not only grow faster, but your hair will also fall out less and be thicker.
Unfortunately, your new luscious locks are not permanent. After giving birth or stopping breastfeeding, the majority of women will lose a lot of their hair. Nails can also grow faster and become stronger. Some women may find that their nails may split or tear more easily, but this can often be helped by eating the right things and taking prenatal vitamins.
13 Why Should I Take Prenatal Vitamins?
Prenatal vitamins are a cocktail of vitamins and minerals that help your baby get all the essentials needed for their developmental health. When a woman is pregnant, her daily intake for nutrients like methylfolate, iron and calcium will increase as they are necessary for proper fetal development, growth and future life. While many of these vitamins and minerals can be attained through a healthy, well-balanced diet, it is often advised to take prenatal vitamins as well to be sure of this.
Talk to your doctor about what prenatal vitamins would be best for you. For instance, some women have anemia, which is caused by an iron deficiency. There are some multi-vitamins that have a higher content of iron than normal that work well for women in this situation.
12 What’s This Weird Line Running Down My Stomach?
If you have a line that appears to divide your stomach in half right through your belly button, it is likely the pregnancy line—officially called linea nigra. Though this line was actually there before you were pregnant, it was a lot lighter in color and went unnoticed. Before pregnancy, it would have been referred to as linea alba. It darkens during pregnancy, thus giving it the name linea negra.
It is usually about ¼ to ½ inch wide running from your belly button to your pubic bone and often shows up in the second trimester. Its official cause is unknown, but it is believed to be related to the increase of hormones in your body during pregnancy, such as all that progesterone reacting with melanin. Some suspect that it is caused by the melanocyte-stimulating hormone that may also darken the nipples during pregnancy.
11 Why Is It Turning Blue?
Though the vagina is usually pink to a reddish hue, all of that may change when a woman is first pregnant. The color shift of the vagina is the first sign of pregnancy for many women. As early as 6 to 8 weeks after conception, the v, labia, and cervix may turn to a more purple or blue color.
The color change was first observed in 1836 by Dr. Etienne Joseph Jacquemin, but was named after James Read Chadwick. James Read Chadwick presented a paper to the American Gynecological Society in 1886 and published a paper a year later, citing Jacquemin with the discovery. The v, labia, and cervix turn blue because of the increase in blood flow to that region when a woman is pregnant.
10 How Can I Prevent Myself From Pooping While Pushing?
Giving birth for the first time is full of strange, new and occasionally embarrassing side effects. One common side effect of pushing your baby out—or refraining from pushing and letting that fetal ejection reflex kick in—is that you will relieve yourself on the table. It is way more common than you think, and nothing to be too embarrassed about.
It occurs because your rectum is located underneath the uterus, so when you push, the pressure is also applied to the rectum. Keep in mind that though it may feel like there are a hundred people running in and out of the room, they are all professionals. Giving birth is not a public performance, so do not feel like you need to look perfect and do everything perfectly. In the end, focus on your brand new baby, not your bowels.
9 Have I Gained Too Much Weight?
Do not be afraid to ask your prenatal caregiver about weight gain. Considering all the weird things that happen to your body during pregnancy, this is a very normal question to ask. Knowing about pregnancy weight gain is an important part of both your baby’s health as well as your own.
If a woman is underweight, doctors usually suggest gaining 28 to 40 pounds during pregnancy. If they are average weight, shoot for 25 to 30 pounds. For overweight women, they usually need to gain only 15 to 25 pounds. Keep in mind to talk to your prenatal care provider about your specific case. Remember also that you are not really “eating for two” and you do have to lose all of this weight postpartum.
Gaining too much too quickly and subsequently losing it too quickly can also cause sagging skin—especially on the torso. Most medical professionals suggest consuming about 300 more healthy calories per day when a woman is pregnant.
8 What The Heck Is A Kegel?
Aah, kegels. Everyone from your physician to Cosmo mentions them, but what are they really? Kegels are exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles brace the uterus, bladder, rectum and small intestine. Your pelvic floor muscles are most commonly weakened by pregnancy and childbirth, but can also be weakened by surgery, aging and being overweight. If you show signs of stress inconsistence, urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence or you just want to have a better O, Kegels are a great kind of exercise for you.
First, one must identify what muscles need to be strengthened. To discover this, practice by stopping urination midstream. Those are the muscles. Then practice clenching them throughout your day-to-day life. Some women classically condition themselves to do Kegels, like at a stoplight or when watching TV.
7 Does Breastfeeding Hurt?
Here is a question that every future mom considering breastfeeding asks—will it hurt? Well, if breastfeeding is super painful, you or your baby are probably doing something wrong, but that is okay. Nearly every first-time mom has some nursing struggles.
Most commonly there is a problem with the baby’s latch or your nipples may still be a little tender and not used to nursing yet. If a baby is latched correctly, it should feel like a weird tugging feeling. That is not to say that it does not hurt at all. ore severe pain may be indicative of mastitis or other breast infections, or lip and tongue ties in a baby that would be indicative of the MTHFR gene mutation.
Many women think that it is uncomfortable for the first minute or so of breastfeeding, but is tolerable after that. As long as you make it through the first few weeks of breastfeeding, you should be fine.
6 Is It Okay To Keep Knockin’ The Boots While Knocked Up?
Many people fear that having sex while a woman is pregnant will hurt the baby or the mother. This is not the case at all unless your caregiver has told you otherwise. Many women have sex throughout their entire pregnancy—right up until the water breaks. It will not hurt the baby at all.
The baby is protected inside of the uterus in the amniotic sac. The amniotic sac is full of fluid to safeguard the baby. The cervix is also plugged with mucus to help guard against infection, so a penis will not get anywhere near the baby. One old wives’ tale is that sex will trigger labor. This is not the case if you have a normal pregnancy. Though orgasm could cause mild uterine contractions, the contractions are generally harmless.
5 Where Do The Baby’s Excrements Go?
The miracle of life is a beautiful thing, but let’s be real, it can be kind of gross at times. For example, the amniotic fluid that the baby is floating around the uterus in—well, the baby urinates into it. The fluid is also swallowed and sort of breathed by the baby. Do not worry! The baby’s kidneys work hard to filter everything out of the bloodstream only to let it back in the bloodstream.
After the first few months of pregnancy, a baby has developed their cardiac and renal systems. In fact, fetal urine ends up being a big contributor to amniotic fluid. This process has obviously worked for generations, so there is nothing to worry about. As for bowel movements, babies usually do not poop in the womb as they are not “eating” much besides amniotic fluid. However, after they are born they pass meconium, which is a tar-like bowel movement of dead cells, waste, and so on.
4 Why Does Baby Turn Into A Gymnast When I Eat?
A healthy baby will feel a lot more active after its mother eats a big meal or drinks something sugary like lemonade. Developing babies essentially “eat” everything their mother eats, and react to the intake by kicking, moving faster or just being more active. In fact, the things a mother eats during pregnancy will affect a baby’s food likes and dislikes later in life.
Any doctor will tell you that a kicking baby is likely a healthy baby. Your doctor may recommend a few times during your pregnancy to do a “kick counts” test. After drinking something sugary like juice, a baby should reach a certain amount of targeted kicks within two hours. If you are concerned that your baby does not respond to sugary drinks or big meals with kicking, talk your healthcare professional immediately.
3 Is Intercourse More Painful After Giving Birth?
Keep in mind that if you deliver your baby vaginally or by a Cesarean, your body just went through a lot of trauma and it is likely you will find yourself distracted by your baby. Your hormones tend to be all over the place after you give birth. Plus, if you are breastfeeding, your hormones may be even more out of whack. With breastfeeding, your estrogen levels will be suppressed, which could cause issues with lubrication.
So, get some lube and do not expect everything that worked for you before to work the same way after giving birth. Be patient with yourself and with your partner. After all, you would hope they would be patient with you. If after several months you find that your sex life has not improved, talk to your caregiver.
2 Is It Normal For My Digestion To Be Off When I’m Pregnant?
Yes, yes, yes—it is 100% normal. Pregnancy causes a ton of hormonal changes that impact the efficiency of your gastrointestinal system. It begins with nausea, otherwise known as morning sickness. For most women, morning sickness happens during the first trimester of pregnancy and can be accompanied by throwing up. Bloating is also another early symptom of pregnancy. Around 85 percent of women experience bloating and morning sickness in their first trimester.
Later in your pregnancy, this may cause bad gas, acid reflux and/or indigestion, which unfortunately are all pretty normal symptoms. These issues are all caused by the copious amounts of progesterone you are making while pregnant that slow down your digestive system.
Some ways to help combat indigestion and morning sickness are to eat five to six small meals a day, avoid fatty and spicy foods, drink milk, keep a food diary and avoid eating late at night.
1 What If I Sleep Through Labor?
It is totally possible that you might not realize that your water broke. For some women, a broken water is a huge gush, but for others, it barely trickles out. In many cases, women think they might have just leaked some urine, which is super likely the closer you get to your due date. If you are not sure, call your caregiver as it is their job to care for the health of you and your baby.
Once you hit active labor, it will be very difficult to sleep as contractions are strong and sporadic. Not to say it is not possible to fall asleep, especially if you have medication for the pain in your system. Some women even fall asleep between contractions. Keep in mind they do not call it labor for nothing!
Sources: Parenting, WebMD, Kidspot, Babycenter, American Pregnancy Association, Quora