You’re pregnant and worried about your water breaking at the grocery store. You want to know how often that happens, but you’re embarrassed to ask. Do you bring it up at your doctor appointment or keep it to yourself?
Jennifer Johnson, a registered nurse and perinatal education coordinator at Advocate Condell Medical Center’s New Life Birthing Center in Libertyville, Ill., says don’t be afraid to ask.
“No matter how insignificant or unusual your questions may seem, go ahead and ask,” Johnson says. “Chances are, you’re not the first one who has asked that question. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be.”
When pregnant women ask Johnson about their water breaking, here’s what she says, “It is true that your water could break anywhere, any time, but the reality is that only 20 percent of women have their water break someplace other than the hospital. If it really worries you, you can wear a high-absorbency pad while out. Be sure to call your doctor and let him or her know if it does happen.”
Here are 10 other questions and answers from Johnson.
What is this dark line going down my belly?
That line is called the linea nigra. Increased estrogen levels boost your body’s melanin, the natural substance that gives your skin pigment, thus resulting in the darkened line running down your belly. This typically begins in the second trimester and tends to be more prominent in women with darker complexions.
Why do I pass gas and burp so often?
As the baby grows, everything shifts and your organs become very crowded, resulting in gas and bloating. Healthy pregnancy foods like apples, pears, cauliflower and broccoli can contribute to the gassiness. Eating smaller meals more frequently is recommended. Walking after eating can stimulate digestion and relieve gas. Just remember, passing gas and burping is normal for everyone. That air needs to escape from one end or the other.
Is it normal for me to leak urine?
Many women experience this. Circulating hormones can relax your pelvic floor muscles, making you more prone to leaking, especially when you laugh, cough or sneeze. Not to mention, the heavy uterus puts direct pressure on your bladder. Doing Kegel exercises several times a day, every day, can help minimize the leakage by strengthening the muscles in that area.
Am I the only pregnant woman with no desire for sex?
Low libido during pregnancy is completely normal. Be sure to talk with your partner about your concerns. Reassure yourself and your partner that this is temporary, and find other ways to stay close. And remember, unless your physician tells you otherwise, sex is totally safe for you and your baby during pregnancy.
I can’t keep my hands off my husband. What’s up with that?
If you’re feeling friskier than usual, that is also normal. There is certainly extra blood flow to your reproductive organs, which can heighten arousal and even lead to more intense or multiple orgasms. Sometimes it’s just the extra closeness you feel with your partner because of this amazing journey you are on together. Regardless, as long as there is not a medical contraindication, enjoy this time!
I have been having the strangest dreams. Am I going crazy?
Many women experience strange, unsettling dreams during pregnancy. Anxiety about the uncertainties of becoming a parent – combined with fatigue, trouble sleeping, restless nights – can add to the number of weird dreams. This is normal. Just remember, your dreams are not a reflection of you or your baby’s future. Talking about your dreams and rationalizing your fears may help ease your anxiety.
Is vaginal discharge normal during pregnancy?
Rising estrogen levels, especially during the third trimester, causes the vagina to produce more secretions and discharge. You cannot prevent or limit the discharge, but wearing breathable underwear made of cotton certainly can help. If the discharge itches, burns, or has a strong odor, be sure to report those symptoms to your doctor.
My breasts leak, leaving me with noticeable damp spots on my clothes. What can I do?
Leaking breasts are just another sign that your body is getting ready for your baby’s birth. High levels of prolactin sometimes can cause fluid to leak from your nipples, especially when stimulated. Everyday things like showering, changing your clothes, or having sex can trigger this response. Nursing pads in your bra can help prevent anyone from noticing.
I think I have varicose veins in my labia. Is this possible?
Vulvar varicose veins are caused by the pressure your growing uterus puts on the veins in that area. Don’t worry, they can’t open up and bleed, and they will shrink after delivery. In fact, most go away entirely. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of a maternity belt to offer extra support.
What if I poop while pushing out my baby?
To get the baby out, you have to push hard, using the same muscles and bearing down the same way you do when you go to the bathroom. In fact, your labor nurse will be proud of you because it means you are doing it right and pushing well. Labor and delivery nurses are not at all squeamish and will just discretely wipe away anything that comes out and encourage you to keep pushing “just like that.” Most new moms, and their support people, are blissfully unaware that anything other than a beautiful baby came out.