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To help you uncover some of the more awkward mysteries of pregnancy and childbirth, here are the answers to some of the questions you’ve be dying to ask us but didn’t know how.

There’s no doubt that being pregnant has its perks: Shiny hair, an all-over glow, an enviable cleavage and, of course, your gorgeous bundle of joy at the end of it all. What’s not so great are the weird and wonderful changes to your body and the endless embarrassing questions you’re too afraid to ask.

Why am I constipated?

Constipation is a common problem during pregnancy, predominantly caused by surging pregnancy hormones which cause the muscles in your bowels to relax, allowing food in your digestive tract to hang around for longer. Your expanding uterus also plays a part as it takes up more space, which means your bowels have less space to do their work in. Drink plenty of uids and increase your bre intake to keep things moving along smoothly.

Why am I having erotic dreams?

Extra blood flow to your genitals, raised oestrogen levels, and sensitive, enlarged breasts can kick start your sex drive as your pregnancy progresses, and it’s not unusual for it to lter through to your dreams. Erotic dreams, often involving ex-boyfriends, partners or random acquaintances, are quite normal, so expect a few nighttime fantasies of your own.

Why am I weeing all the time?

With the extra pressure of baby pressing down on your bladder, it’s not uncommon to experience involuntary leaking when coughing, sneezing or laughing while pregnant. Although it’s usually only a few drops, it can be embarrassing. Doing regular pelvic oor exercises can help reduce incontinence.

Why do I leak in my first trimester?

Increased vaginal discharge occurs in almost all pregnancies, so it’s quite normal to feel a little wet down there in the first trimester. This is because your body is producing more progesterone, which helps protect your growing baby against infections that could otherwise travel up to your uterus. Provided there is no blood in your discharge, you have no need to worry. Wearing a panty liner will help you feel more comfortable.

Can my baby feel us having sex?

It’s highly unlikely that baby will feel you having sex, although baby may feel a squeeze as your uterus contracts during orgasm. Your unborn baby is enclosed in a bubble of amniotic fluid, cushioning him from every move you make and acting as a buffer.

Why am I cramping after sex?

Cramps or contractions after sex are usually the result of an orgasm or prostaglandins found in semen. To calm any cramps, try resting and relaxing or stretching out cramped muscles.

Why is my vagina swollen?

Extra blood ow surging through your body and joints in preparation of childbirth and delivery, along with the pressure of baby on your pelvic area, could cause your vagina to swell.

Why am I getting acne?

Sometime around the six-week mark, you may experience a pimple breakout. Progesterone surges in your body cause your glands to increase acne-secreting oils which can clog up pores and cause bacteria to build up, leading to breakouts. Wash, rinse, and moisturise your skin regularly, keep your hair clean and oil-free, and follow a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and water.

Why do I feel so gassy?

As baby grows, the space around your digestive tract becomes tight. Surging hormones slow down digestion, which leads to excess wind and bloating. Unfortunately you don’t have the same control over your muscles during pregnancy, so it’s likely you’ll need to burp and fart a little more often than normal. Try changing your diet, eating smaller, more frequent meals, or do some light exercise to alleviate any gassiness.

Why are my breasts so itchy?

You’ve probably noticed your breasts and nipples are growing and changing in preparation for breastfeeding. As your breasts grow, the sensitive skin stretches, often triggering an insatiable itch which isn’t easily or discreetly scratchable. Try moisturising your nipples and breasts using a lanolin cream, cocoa butter, coconut oil, or vitamin E oil after showering, and avoid wearing potentially irritating fabrics like wool or cashmere. For added support, start wearing your maternity bras now. If a rash develops or you notice a bloody discharge from your nipples, consult your doctor right away as it could be something more serious.

Will I have to have many internal examinations during labour?

A vaginal examination is usually done when you first arrive at hospital or the birthing centre, and then every two to four hours thereafter to assess your labour’s progress. If you’ve had an intervention and your waters have been broken, or there is concern about baby’s healthy, you may need more frequent examinations. Vaginal examinations are uncomfortable for many women, so talk to your doctor or midwife if you have concerns.

Should I shave my bikini line before giving birth?

Back in the day, women were shaved before having their baby in the event they needed an episiotomy. Nowadays it’s not necessary and really down to personal choice whether or not you shave or wax your bikini line. Most doctors are ne working around a little pubic hair, but you may need to tidy up the area above your legs if you’re having a Caesarean birth.

What should I wear when I give birth?

This will largely depend on the type of labour and delivery you are intending. If you’re planning a water birth, you may want to wear a swimming top or bra if you’re not comfortable being naked. For the delivery room, consider the following when choosing an out t: Will it be comfortable? Will I mind if it gets ruined? Will it be easy to breastfeed baby in? A comfortable T-shirt or front-opening nightie are both good options.

Will my partner go off sex if he watches me give birth?

It’s hard to know how your partner will react; while some men are fascinated by the whole process, others nd it confronting. Talk to your partner beforehand to ensure he knows what to expect or have him stand stay by your side if you are concerned about his reaction.

What if I poop during birth?

It’s quite possible you may defecate while pushing baby out, as the muscles you’ll use are the same ones you use to poop. When baby moves through the birth canal, there’s no room for anything else. The good news is nature usually takes care of it all, and you’ll likely need to empty your bowels during early labour. If you do poop during delivery, it’s not a problem and your midwife will simply clear it up, probably before you even notice.

Will I need stitches after giving birth?

If your perineum stretches so far that it tears or your doctor performs an episiotomy, you may need stitches. A local anaesthetic is given to numb the area before the stitching, and your stitches will dissolve over the next few days. With all your attention focused on your new baby, it’s highly likely you won’t even notice.

Why does my baby look likes he’s covered in cream cheese after birth?

Called vernix, this cheese-like coating helps protect your new baby from any infection. It’s usually absorbed into your baby’s skin within the rst two days, but many hospitals bathe baby in the few hours following birth, so you probably won’t even be aware of it.

How much will I bleed after birth?

Bleeding is your body’s way of getting rid of the lining of your uterus after birth and it will be similar to a heavy period. Immediately following birth will be the heaviest bleeding and you may even experience some clotting, so you’ll need to change your maternity pad every few hours or so for the rst few days. The bleeding will become lighter but usually continues for about four weeks, changing in colour from bright red to brownish red.

Will sex ever feel the same again?

It may seem hard to believe, but yes, your sex life will be the same again. You will need time to heal, especially if you’ve had any tearing or stitches, but by the six-week mark most women feel ready to try sex again. Speed up your healing process by doing your pelvic oor exercises, as these will assist with improving muscle tone and blood ow to this area. If you’re anxious about whether it will hurt, use a water- based lubricant, and remember to use a form of contraception.

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BUMP & baby is New Zealand’s only magazine for pregnancy and early babyhood. Our team of mums and mums-to-be understand what it’s like to be pregnant in this connected age, and that’s why BUMP & Baby online is geared toward what pregnant women and new mums really want to know.

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