Most of the time spent at an obstetric visit with your healthcare provider is used for education, counseling, reviewing normals/abnormals, and answering any questions you may have. So rest assured that all of your questions have probably been asked before…many times. There have only been a few questions that made me lose my neutral provider face (I won’t shame anyone here), but those are too few and far between. So I have compiled a list of the most common questions women or their partners have been scared to ask but honestly want to know the answer to.
What if I poop during delivery?
The number one question received by all obstetric providers and nurses involved poop. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Almost all women poop at some point while pushing. There, I said it. And some women say, “I didn’t poop while pushing; I would have smelled it.” This is not necessarily true. We have soaps, sprays, and oils that we can use to diffuse ALL of the crazy smells in a delivery room, so you may not smell anything out of the ordinary. The fact is, your delivery team will keep you and your bottom clean no matter what happens. And hey, poop happens…a lot.
Do I need to shave my pubic hair before delivery?
No, absolutely not. You’re putting yourself at increased risk for infection by shaving your pubic hair before delivery. Waxing can be more painful during pregnancy, and laser hair removal isn’t recommended while you’re pregnant. Your obstetric team does not care what is going on down there, and it will not affect delivery or suturing. So, don’t bother.
Why do I pee when I sneeze/cough?
When you’re pregnant, your uterus puts a lot of pressure on your bladder. This leads to stress incontinence, otherwise known as peeing your pants. After delivery, your pelvic floor is lax and bruised, and it is common to have some incontinence in the first month or so after delivery. If it happens a lot, you can consider wearing a pantyliner or pad. Also, Kegels are a fantastic way of working on your pelvic floor muscles and averting incontinence. If you’re still dealing with incontinence 12 weeks after delivery, talk to your provider about pelvic floor rehab or another diagnostic test.
Will sex hurt after delivery?
Vaginas are incredibly elastic and will return to pre-pregnancy tone, or close to it, within a few months after delivery. We don’t recommend sex for at least six weeks after delivery, and I recommend a LOT of water-based lubrication the first time women attempt penetrative intercourse after delivery. But the short answer is, no, sex should not hurt after delivery. It may feel different or slightly uncomfortable if you had significant tearing or an episiotomy, but it should not hurt. If you’re anxious about the pain, you can engage in more foreplay before attempting sex.
Will the baby feel it when I have sex during pregnancy?
Unless you’re having sex in the delivery room, your baby will not feel anything when you’re having sex. In this case, size truly does not matter. The uterus and cervix provide a barrier between you and your partner. It is common to have cramps or mild contractions if you orgasm, but these contractions will not affect the baby.
Find a provider that you really trust so you can ask potentially embarrassing questions without fear or shame. And just remember that all of these questions have been asked by thousands of women throughout history, so there’s no reason to be scared to speak up!
This article was contributed by MacArthur Medical Center’s Certified Nurse Midwife Jen Rockhold.