Brace yourself. Changes are coming. By Lisa Witepski
Of course your vagina was involved when you were making your baby, and it’s going to be in the spotlight when it’s time to deliver. But a lot goes on down there while you’re pregnant, too.
You might bleed
Since the first hint of your pregnancy was (possibly) the absence of your period, you might feel a bit confused (not to mention panicky) at the sight of blood. Chill – this is a perfectly normal, and very common, symptom; usually caused by the implantation of the uterus and the formation of the placenta. It’s still a good idea to let your doctor know, though.
Unpleasant, but true: the hormones currently running riot through your body can upset the natural balance of your vaginal bacteria. Yeast infections and conditions like BV (bacterial vaginosis) are very common among pregnant women and the itch is often accompanied by a discharge. There’s good news, though: these issues are highly treatable, so consult your doctor.
Yes, really! Chadwick’s Sign is the name given to the vagina’s switch from light pink to purple, which comes about as blood flow to the area increases. This can happen early on in the pregnancy – even at just six weeks.
You may also notice that your pelvic region feels swollen – yet another result of increased blood flow. This is a good one, though, because it may just spruce up your sex life. More blood equals more sensitivity.
What can we say – pregnancy’s not all glamorous. That increased blood flow can also cause varicose veins on your labia or upper thigh. They look exactly like the veins popping up on your legs if you stand too long but, fortunately, they’ll usually dissipate after birth – usually within about six weeks. If they’re painful, you may find some relief by taking a hot bath and putting your feet up. Pst – while we’re on the subject of things you don’t really want to think about, you can probably expect some vaginal farts. Inelegant, yes – but you can’t really blame your tired pelvic muscles for letting the odd air rush escape.
Truth be told, you probably wouldn’t even know that the pH of your vagina has changed – except for the fact that you may notice a (very slight) acidic odour.na
In her 16 years as journalist, Lisa Witepski’s work has appeared in most of South Africa’s leading publications, including the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Entrepreneur and Financial Mail. She has written for a number of women’s magazines, including Living & Loving, Essentials and many others, across topics from lifestyle to travel, wellness, business and finance. She is a former acting Johannesburg Bureau Chief for Cosmopolitan, and former Features Editor at Travel News Weekly, but, above all, a besotted mom to Leya and Jessica. Lisa blogs at whydoialwayscravecake.blogspot.com and lisa.witepski.blogspot.com, and tweets at @LisaWitepski.