Your embarrassing pregnancy questions - answered!

Experienced midwife Anne Richley has got the answers to all those embarrassing questions you don't want to ask...

embarrassing pregnancy questions
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We've rounded up some of your most embarrassing pregnancy questions. From labour to birth - we've got the answers to all those embarrassing questions you don't want to ask...

Not too keen on your partner being at the birth? Worried you'll poo yourself when it comes to the big day? Or how about all that gas? Don't worry, you're not alone!

Our midwife, Anne Richley is here to answer all of your awkward embarrassing questions you might be holding back from asking.

Scroll down to see all those embarrassing questions you don't want to ask...

I want my partner to be at the birth but I'm worried that he'll see me differently afterwards. Does it put some men off sex?

If you're worried about your partner's reaction to being at the birth, the two of you need to discuss it. If you're still concerned, ask him to stay at the 'top end'. Your partner can offer just as much support wherever he decides to stand or sit, and you need to feel comfortable with this.

Most partners describe the birth as the most amazing experience ever. And if he sees you differently afterwards, it's with wonder and respect at what you've managed to produce! It's important to acknowledge, though, that not all men feel comfortable being at the birth. Ultimately, the woman in labour needs a birth partner she can rely on and who can comfort and reassure her, and it may not be him.

I'm dreading giving birth in case I poo myself. Does this always happen in labour?

Not always, but many women do open their bowels during labour, and if it's going to happen, there's nothing you can do to stop it. Fear and 'holding back' will only make you feel more uncomfortable, so just go with your body. During the second stage of labour, the baby's head puts pressure on the rectum so you'll feel as if you need to poo, even if you don't. Opening your bowels in labour is normal, it's a positive sign that birth isn't far away.

I've heard that sex can induce labour. Will the midwife know I've had sex when she examines me?

During pregnancy, vaginal discharge is increased, and believe it or not, when a man ejaculates, there is less than a teaspoon of semen. So, by the time it comes to a vaginal examination, there's no way a midwife would be able to know if you'd had sex. Sex can kick-start labour, but only if your body is ready.

I'm scared of 'losing control' during labour and making grunting noises. Should I have an epidural to prevent this?

Women often worry about whether or not they'll make strange noises or behave out of character during labour. It's usually during the second stage of labour that mums-to-be become more 'vocal', because they have an overwhelming, involuntary urge to 'bear down'.

Although women may make noises, it doesn't mean they're out of control. In fact, you may feel more out of control with an epidural if you can't feel what's actually going on. The reality is that, at the time, you're so focused on giving birth you won't notice what noises you make.

If you do start to make involuntary sounds, it's a positive sign you're approaching the second stage of labour and, therefore, usually suggests that you're making good progress. No one cares how much noise you make, and when it comes to it, neither will you!

I hate the thought of internal examinations in labour. Do I have to have them?

An internal examination can only be done with your consent, and if you're sure you really don't want one, then your wish should be respected. By doing an internal examination, the midwife can tell how dilated your cervix is and what position your baby is in. Women usually want to know about their progress in labour and will ask the midwife to examine them. By using breathing exercises or gas and air and by emptying your bladder first, it shouldn't feel too uncomfortable.

However, in a straightforward labour, a midwife should still be able to tell that you're making good progress without frequent vaginal examinations.

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I've been having really vivid dreams, some of them X-rated, while others are more horrific and are to do with pregnancy and the baby. Is this normal

Yes, it is. We don't know why this happens, but it's most likely to be the change in hormones, as well as the disturbed sleep that you experience in pregnancy, being woken up regularly by a full bladder or your baby deciding it's time to kick.

Women sometimes feel at their most feminine and sexual when pregnant, which could account for the sexual dreams, so just enjoy them! If you talk to other mums-to-be, you'll find that most of them are having similar dreams.

Try to relax before bed, with a warm bath, gentle music and a milky drink. If there are things that you're worrying about but have been keeping to yourself, talk to your midwife about them.

It might be that by expressing your emotions you'll relax your mind and have a less disturbed night's sleep.

My breasts are small. Will I be able to breast-feed?

The size of your breasts has nothing to do with your ability to breastfeed. Whatever their shape or size or whether you have inverted nipples, the important thing is early skin-to-skin contact, with frequent feeding and good positioning in those early days. Big breasts are made up of a large proportion of fatty tissue, which doesn't affect milk production.

I'm 28 weeks pregnant, and every time I doze off, I wake up dribbling. Is this normal?

Many mums-to-be experience an increase in the production of saliva and wake up dribbling after a sleep. No one knows the exact reason for this, but as with most problems in pregnancy it comes down to the changes in hormones.

Women who feel nauseous often produce more saliva, in an attempt not to swallow, which can be distressing. Try having frequent sips of water throughout the day or chewing sugar-free gum.

I've never had such terrible wind. Is this just because I'm pregnant?

We seem to blame our pregnancy hormones for everything, but they are responsible for most of the various symptoms. The hormone, progesterone, relaxes the bowel, slowing it down and causing constipation and wind. To relieve this, try exercise, particularly yoga, the gentle stretches encourage the bowel to become less sluggish.

When you eat, chew the food slowly, and give it time to digest, drinking peppermint tea is also supposed to help relieve trapped wind. If constipation continues to be a problem, ask your midwife if she can recommend a mild laxative.

I'm worried my waters are going to break in public. Does anyone else feel like this?

This is a common worry. Most mums-to-be find that their waters break when they're in labour at the height of a contraction. But if they do go beforehand, it often starts as a trickle rather than a gush. Many women aren't even sure if their waters have broken, as it can easily be confused with 'leaking' some urine towards the end of the pregnancy. If you're unsure, contact your midwife, who might advise you to wear a pad and see if it continues to trickle.

Anne Richley is a trained midwife with 22 years of experience. Anne began her midwifery training in 1996 after welcoming her two children. She is currently working as a Matron for Community Midwifery Service at Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust. This has seen her gain an understanding and appreciation of pregnancy, labour and obstetric issues. Previously, Anne helped to set up the Royal College of Midwives Northampton Home Birth Team in 2010. At present, the home birth team consists of 11 midwives who passionate to provide a safe outcome for both mothers and new-borns during home births. In 2014, Anne helped set up a Meet the Matrons Clinics, where expectant mothers could come for guidance and support. These women were encouraged to talk about their previous birthing experiences and worries they may have about future births. Anne is passionate about improving birthing practices for pregnant women and their babies. Since 2019, she has been helping to implement the recommendations made in the National Maternity Review called Better Births, a five-year future plan for maternity care. In keeping with this, Anne has also written a number of books covering pregnancy, labour and birthing techniques including Your Baby’s First Year, and Labour & Birth. Anne’s work has been published and presented frequently. This includes research covering safe home births, hospital births, pregnancy conditions such as preeclampsia, as well as how to cope when your baby is overdue.