Every mom-to-be is both scared and excited for their due date to come--it's normal. If you're a first-time mom, then you might have a few questions that are, uhm, maybe a bit embarrassed to ask your doctor or your friends who are already moms. Well, we've covertly gathered your questions and sought answers for them. Here are the nine most common questions you asked:
1. I’m worried my water will break in public. If that happens, what should I do? Head to the hospital as soon as you can. There is nothing you can do when your water bag breaks nor can you stop it if it spills in public. If you're thinking about the mess, it is your least of your concerns. It's more important to calmly but quickly head to the hospital--it is one of the biggest signs that it's D-Day, after all. You also don't want to run out of amniotic fluid (what you call your water bag) for your baby's health.
2. I’ve heard that pain killers can make you loopy. Is this likely and will I say something embarrassing? The effects of pain medication will differ for every woman. General anesthesia for childbirth can knock you out cold and you can wake up groggy, disoriented, and perhaps restless. You’ll also probably be rather queasy and may vomit, and you’ll have sluggish bowels and bladder. If you're a particularly chatty person when disoriented, then you may say something embarrassing. Blame it on the anesthesia's effects--it'll be more of a funny story than an embarrassing one.
3. Should I shave my pubic hair or at least groom it before giving birth? A recent review showed that shaving your pubic hair does not make you any more clean down there or makes you or your baby less likely to get an infection. Some doctors actually discourage it because shaving can result to tiny cuts that can make you more prone to infections. It's really up to you, if it will help you be more comfortable about "having it all out" there. If you do decide to shave down there, do so no less than two days before labor and only trim as your due date closes, so the abrasions you may get while shaving would have enough time to heal.
4. Will doctors give me a lot of internal exams during labor and delivery? When you get admitted to the hospital, a doctor will definitely give you an internal exam (IE) or vaginal examination to check your cervix position and dilation, your baby's birthing position or if your water bag needs to be broken. How many times after the first one? It really depends on the progression of your labor. The active phase--when your cervix dilates at a faster rate--requires internal exams every two hours. You've had this before in one of your third trimester checkups so you don't have to worry although it might a bit be uncomfortable this time.
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5. May I bring my own clothes to wear when I give birth? Check with your birthing facility or hospital of choice if this is allowed. Most hospitals will require you to wear their gowns so your intravenous (IV) drip or fetal monitor can have easy access. If you want to bring your own gown and your hospital allows it, consider first comfort and those factors. You can always change into your monogrammed gown or robe after giving birth when receiving visitors.
6. Am I likely to poo during labor and if I do, what will the doctors or midwife do? Yes. You are working the same set of muscles that you use for doing number two. Plus, your baby passing through your cervix puts added pressure on your colon and rectum. You can try eating plenty of fiber and drinking lots of water to help you poop before delivery, but it's not a guarantee. That said, doctors and nurses are used to it, and believe us when we say when it's happening you wouldn't care either. Don’t let this stop you from pushing when you feel the urge to push or you might hinder and delay the whole process of giving birth (and make yourself miserable in the process). Doctors will use sterile pads to immediately clean any excretion.
7. Will I have stitches after giving birth? Is there a way to prevent this? First-time moms have a 95-percent chance of experiencing a vaginal tear since your tissues down there may not be flexible enough. The percentage goes way down for your second and succeeding births. If you have a normal vaginal tear, doctors will stitch your vaginal lining and deeper tissues. The stitches should dissolve in two weeks, but the nerves and muscles that may need more time to return to full health. Until then, sitting straight, bowel movement, sneezing or coughing can cause discomfort and some pain.
8. How much will I bleed after birth--is it anything like a regular period? No unless your regular period is really, really heavy (which also means you need to go to a doctor if you experience this type of heavy bleeding when you have your menstruation). The amount of blood often cited is two cups worth in three days. That's why maternity pads exist because regular pads might not cut it. Some women opt for adult diapers instead of maternity pads. Bleeding after pregnancy is called lochia, which is leftover blood, mucus, and tissue from your uterus. The amount of lochia also subsides gradually after the first three days, as well as its color, from bright bloody red to pink then brown to yellowish white in two weeks.
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9. My friend said she had chills after delivery? Is it common and normal to have this? No, it's not that common, but it does happen. Chills after delivery can just be due to your body's reaction to a change in body or room temperature, dehydration, or the rapid flow on intravenous fluid into your body. It becomes a concern if the chills come with fever or unusual blood loss. Your doctor will closely monitor your vitals if this happens.