You've never done this before so you need guidance, but the questions you may want to ask could have you blushing. We asked so you don’t have to. By Georgina Guedes
Q. My husband says I’ve started snoring, but I’ve never been a snorer. Why now?
Gynaecologist Dr Tom Mokaya says that some pregnant moms start snoring owing to:
- Weight gain
- Water retention
- Softer and swollen nasal cavities from hormonal changes.
- Your baby pushing against your diaphragm is another reason. When your hormones and weight return to normal after birth, you’ll probably stop snoring.
Q. I’m scared my waters will break when I’m in public. What will it be like?
“Hollywood movies make us think that labour almost invariably starts with the waters breaking, says Mokaya. “But less than 20% of moms experience this.”
“Usually waters start as a slight trickle after breaking, giving mom enough time to get home or to the hospital. Although the classic gush in public is unlikely, nobody will judge you for a natural and quite exciting experience. They’ll be helpful.
Q. Will I be shaved for the birth?
“This is an old practice that is no longer used,” says midwife Andrea Klinkenberg. “The idea that it reduced the chances of infection has been disproved and whether you want to shave, wax, or go natural is up to you.”
Q. Why do I sweat a lot during pregnancy and birthing?
“During pregnancy your metabolism increases and you generate more heat, so you’ll naturally sweat more,” says Mokaya.
“The intense physical exertion during birth, and your higher metabolism, cause a lot of sweating. For around six weeks after birth, while your body works hard to release retained water, you may sweat even more.”
Q. Who’ll be with me during labour because I’m a little shy?
This will depend largely on where you deliver. “If you give birth at an academic or training hospital, students may be present, but usually it’s your doctor and a midwife. It’s your right to choose who you want at your bedside besides your doctor and midwife.” If you have a C-Section, one or two extra medical staff may be needed.
Q. I’m so embarrassed I’ll poo during labour. Does it happen and can it be prevented?
“Around 50% of moms will poo during labour because the baby’s descending head pushes some faeces from the rectum. You won’t even know that it’s happening,” says Mokaya.
“It’s not much, because moms usually relieve themselves pre-birth and labour pains stimulate bowel movement as well. If you’re having a water birth, poo floats and can be quickly removed with a net.”
Q. Why do I need huge panty pads after birth?
“After birth, you’ll experience a normal discharge called lochia, which lasts between two and four weeks and consists of blood, bacteria, and the lining of your uterus. It’s your body’s way of cleaning out the womb after delivery and the large pads will help to absorb the blood,” explains Klinkenberg.
Q. I’ve had a cervical stitch for a high-risk pregnancy and have been told to avoid sex. Is it OK if I have an orgasm without having penetrative sex?
“It’s possible in a high-risk pregnancy that intercourse can stimulate the cervix and open it, causing the uterus to contract, says Mokaya. “But if you’ve been advised to avoid sex, it’s ok to have an orgasm through external stimulation.”
Q. Will my vagina recover from the birth and will sex be the same as before?
Lactation consultant and midwife Brenda Campbell says moms should start pelvic floor exercises early in their pregnancies to condition the vagina. “It’s not just natural birth that causes stretching, but the weight of the baby pressing down on the vaginal tissues for nine months. “If you find that you’re struggling to restart sexual relations, consider visiting a good sex therapist for assistance.
“In some cases, the hormones may also cause vaginal dryness and additional lubrication can be used.”
Q. No matter how much I try, I can’t stop my breast milk from leaking. What can I do?
“Major leaking of milk is common in the first six weeks when you’re establishing your milk supply. Chances are you won’t be out of the house too much, so you can change and mop up as much as you need to,” advises Campbell. “Once your milk has settled, you’re unlikely to leak all the time, but if you’re going to be away from your baby close to feeding time, use a good material breast pad with a breathing lining. “If you’re going back to work, but will continue breastfeeding, express milk throughout the day to maintain your supply and prevent leaking.
“Some new moms also worry their breasts might leak when stimulated during intercourse. This can happen. Talk to your partner in advance to work out how you both feel and what to do about it.”
Q. I get incredibly turned on by having my nipples stimulated. I’m worried the same thing will happen when I’m breastfeeding?
“Having, and feeding, a baby gives rise to powerful and intense emotions, but these usually are completely non-sexual. Until now, your breasts have been sexual objects, but they are about to start their most natural and important role. You will likely find that while there may be intense sensations, being turned on is the last thing that’s going to happen while you’re feeding. Remember that you’re going to be exhausted and on a hormonal roller coaster at the beginning, so sex, probably, will be the furthest thing from your mind,” says Campbell.
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