20 questions you’re embarrassed to ask about pregnancy and postpartum (but shouldn’t be)…

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Pregnancy and parenthood don’t come with a manual. But we sure could use one, right?

There are SO many questions that parents face as they enter this chapter. From what the HECK is going on with your body – to can you have sex during pregnancy and all the fun things that come along with pregnancy like hemorrhoids and gas. Then there’s that moment they hand you your baby and you’re expected to know what to do with it – despite your body just having been ravaged by nine months of pregnancy and however many hours of labour. Or you know, major surgery.

We know there are countless baby books out there giving you the stock-standard, often outdated answers to the basics. But what about those questions you don’t find in the books? To help you avoid laying up until all hours asking Dr Google, with the help of our friends at Mustela, and a very wise midwife, we’ve compiled a list of some of the questions parents are too embarrassed to ask about pregnancy, birth and those early days of motherhood – but absolutely need to know the answers to.

1. How can I treat hemorrhoids when I’m pregnant?

First of all, you must avoid constipation (more common during pregnancy), so keep a fibre-rich diet and keep up with physical activity. To relieve the pain of hemorrhoids locally, you can use a cream
that contains a local anesthetic. Seek advice from a healthcare professional to find out which treatment will be best for you.

2. I’ve experienced a lot of gas since being pregnant. I’m a little embarrassed by this, what can I do?

Pregnant women may have more gas than usual. This is due to the secretion of progesterone which slows down your transit. The production of gas is linked to the bloating and constipation of the mother-to-be. This is why you should favour a balanced diet, drink plenty of water and avoid overly rich meals.

3. How much weight can you put on during pregnancy?

Usually, it’s an average of 12 kg, but this varies according to your starting weight… What matters is that you feel comfortable with your body, keep a balanced diet and keep moving.

4. Is it possible to lose your sex drive during pregnancy? Even if your pregnancy doesn’t show yet?

Yes, even if your pregnancy doesn’t show, your sex drive can decrease during the first three months due to the fear of miscarriage. This can also happen through the 1st trimester, due to fatigue, nausea or even vomiting. Not to mention the influx of progesterone which tends to decrease libido, naturally.

5. During sex, can my partner’s penis touch my baby’s head?

No. Many body tissues (uterus, water, amniotic pouch) separate them.

6. Can certain positions hurt my baby?

No, none of them will hurt your baby. Depending on the stage of pregnancy (the size of the belly), women are more or less comfortable in certain positions. The Kamasutra also details special positions for pregnant women.

7. Should you avoid using lubricant during sex when you’re pregnant?

Women have more vaginal discharge during pregnancy so lubricants are usually not necessary. But some women also complain of vaginal dryness. However, if you want to use lubricant, try to choose one that’s certified organic.

8. Since my belly’s become bigger, my partner no longer wants to have sex. Is this normal?

Some men are uncomfortable with the changes in your body. Your growing belly reminds them of a mother more than a woman and unconsciously, it reminds them of their own mother. Which makes it a little difficult to have sex!

But your partner may also experience the fear of hurting your baby (even if it’s unfounded) or may find that the change in your body as a woman is somewhat hindering. If possible, try to address this in your couple, communicate kindly (make sure your pregnant partner doesn’t feel that she’s no longer desirable). This can be an opportunity to try a more cuddly approach, without penetration perhaps?

9. What sexual positions should you choose at the very end of pregnancy (with a very big belly)?

Choose the ones that feel best for you. It’s very personal. You can always take a look at the Pregnancy Kamasutra!

10. Is it normal to suddenly be scared to meet your baby?

Yes, there’s often a gap between your imaginary baby and your real baby. The fear of a malformation combined with the fear of not loving your baby can lead to being scared of meeting him/her.

11. During childbirth, when you push, is there a risk that you might urinate or defecate? How do you prevent this from happening?

Yes, this can happen because of the significant pressure caused by the baby’s move through the vagina which can generate stool or urine. Your abdominal thrust to get the baby out also pressures this area. The person who will assist you in giving birth will empty your bladder into a small pouch before you push. We recommend that you use a glycerine suppository when labour starts, while you’re still at home or on the day of your induction. In any case, this should not prevent you from pushing. Rest assured, health professionals pay no attention to this.

12. If in pain, is it bad if I lose control and insult the midwife?

Haha, no worries. Midwives know that you can be overcome with emotion in the moment. We hope that you will have a good laugh with your midwife afterwards.

13. Experiencing vaginal flatulence after childbirth? What can you do?

Pelvic floor strengthening exercises, preferably with a midwife’s guidance and practice yoga or pilates.

14. Can you have anal incontinence problems after giving birth?

Yes, if the anal sphincter (the muscle that ensures continence) is damaged. But everything comes back to normal if you do anal perineal rehabilitation with a midwife or physiotherapist. If necessary, surgery can also help solve it.

15. Is it absolutely necessary to do pelvic floor and abdominal exercises?

A toned perineum ensures better contact with the penis during penetration and promotes pleasure.

If your perineum is less toned than before, you will need to do exercises to strengthen it. Women often don’t know their anatomy in this body area and aren’t always able to do these exercises on their own.

If your pelvic floor muscles are weakened, you may not be able to control your urine, faeces or wind and it will be essential to be vigilant with your pelvic floor exercises as prescribed.

Finally, abdominal exercises are important too and should follow pelvic floor exercises in order to rebuild your lap belt.

Consult with your doctor or midwife before starting any postnatal exercise program particularly if you have had a caesarian birth.

Check with your Health Insurance, both these rehabilitations are often reimbursed.

16. Is it normal to lose your sex drive after giving birth?

Yes, this is frequent. The fatigue caused by childbirth, the lack of sleep when you look after your baby, body pain (scars and painful breasts) as well as hormonal disorders often cause your sexual desire to fall flat. Changes in your body, whether in shape or weight, can also make you feel less self-confident and reduce your sex drive.

17. How do you get your sex drive back when you feel more of a mother than a woman after birth? How do you get “the urge” back?

Don’t put pressure on yourself! You, as a mother, given all the physical and emotional changes you just went through, must find your way back to being a woman again. Remember that you also need to be fulfilled by your couple, not only by your baby.

Find the way back to being in a romantic relationship, stay close to one another, listen to each other and try a little tenderness… Start slowly, try to be caring and sensual to revive your flame.

18. Does your vagina get larger after childbirth? (I’m concerned that it might get looser and that I won’t feel as much…)

The muscles in the vagina that makeup part of the perineum become more relaxed towards the end of pregnancy, due to hormones. They will be less toned for a while immediately after childbirth because they have been stretched. Some women regain their muscle tone quickly while it takes more time for others.

In any case, with good pelvic floor exercises, you should be able to regain the same muscle tone as before.

19. Right after childbirth: I don’t feel anything for my baby… Will I be a bad mother?

Not at all!!!! You need time to bond with your baby. In any case, don’t put pressure on yourself to be the perfect mother… simply be his/ her mother!

20. Will breastfeeding ruin my breasts?

No, it’s pregnancy more than breastfeeding that increases your breast volume and that can potentially change their shape. This is why “ptosis” (sagging) can occur after pregnancy if your skin has been stretched. Gaining too much weight can also cause this to your breasts.

Pregnancy and postpartum is such an exciting time, but we know just how overwhelming they can be. The information overload is real – and so often the baby books don’t cover the real, raw and honest questions you have. Remember there are no silly questions. Never feel embarrassed or scared to ask because chances are you’re not the only one wondering it!

All the answers to your questions without taboo…

Everything you wanted to know about pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood and have never dared to ask – visit Mustela to download the guide now!

This is a paid partnership between Kiindred x Mustela.

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Sex during pregnancy: Here’s what you need to know…

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