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The Top 10 Pregnancy Questions You Might Be Too Embarrassed to Ask

Feb 14, 2022 | 3 minutes Read

Keeping open lines of communication between you and your provider will help you to relax and enjoy your pregnancy as much as possible. But even if you do have an easy and good rapport, there are some questions which, no matter how carefully worded, could be classified as too much information. Which is why we've written this intriguing article.

At Huggies, we believe that no question is off-limits or too personal. We've gathered together, in no particular order, the ten most popular questions from pregnant moms, so you don't feel you're alone.

1. Will my partner still find me sexually attractive after our baby is born?

You're not the first pregnant woman to wonder about this and you won't be the last! Many women worry that their partner will be turned off sexually for life if they watch their baby being born. It's not such an uncommon fear for prospective partners, either. Seeing a large head being forced out of a small space can come as quite a shock, no matter how well prepared you both are.

Some partners love to get where the action is up close and personal as the baby is being born. The idea of not watching as closely as possible and perhaps missing out on something is just not an option for them. This prime vantage point of course gives a much different view than standing by the woman's side. If you’d prefer your partner not to see all the graphic details of your vagina stretching and your anus bulging, then say so during your pregnancy. You get to decide what your partner's role is as your support person and if you’d prefer them not to be by the business end, then say so.

You and your partner will find that sex changes after you have your baby, particularly if you have a vaginal birth. Because of the stretching from childbirth, your vagina will feel bigger and not as tight as it did before you had children. Despite how careful you are about doing pelvic floor exercises it's unlikely you will ever regain exactly the same level of tone in your vaginal muscles. A consultation with a pelvic floor physical therapist after you give birth can be very helpful. Often, couples deal with the changes and the majority find that sex is equally as pleasurable as it was before.

2. Why am I farting so much?

Whether you call it passing wind, gas, or farting, pregnant women do tend to pass more intestinal flatus. It's just a fact of life. Controlling where and when to let go can be completely out of your control and before you know it, you've done one. This is bound to happen at some stage of your pregnancy but just try and laugh it off. Any other pregnant woman will understand, and so will other mothers. They've all been there.

The reason why farting in pregnancy is more common is due to simple biology. The bowel lies adjacent to and behind the uterus. As pregnancy advances, the bowel needs to compete for space. This is one of the reasons why constipation is more common during pregnancy—space becomes an issue.

Progesterone is a relaxing hormone, and it helps the muscles and ligaments in the pelvis relax and prepare for birth. But it also changes the tone of the bowel, so it does not work as efficiently.

If you're bothered by excess flatus, then consider if your diet could do with some changes. High-fiber foods such as beans, vegetables, whole grains, and dried fruits can create more gas. You may want to limit your intake of these and go for more bland or easier to digest alternatives.

3. Why do I constantly feel wet?

Vaginal mucus secretions increase during pregnancy. The hormonal effects of estrogen and progesterone have a direct effect on the mucous-producing cells of the vagina and cervix. This helps to protect the mother and her baby from infection.

A normal vaginal discharge is clear, yellow, or cloudy in color. It is generally colorless, odorless, and not a problem. However, if a vaginal infection is present, vaginal mucus can become smelly and its color can change. It can also be very irritating and increase in amount. If you feel you have a vaginal infection, then it's important to speak with your maternity care provider. There are a range of very effective treatment options.

Showering at least once a day and careful washing helps to keep the vagina and vulval area clean. Most pregnant women find they need to change their underpants a couple of times a day. Alternately, panty liners can help to absorb excess vaginal mucus and help you feel drier.

You could find that toilet paper just isn't enough to feel clean after you've urinated or had a bowel movement. Try using a moist wipe to freshen up. But be aware that you can't flush these down the toilet. You’ll be up for some pretty hefty plumbing costs if you do.

4. What if I pass stool during my labor?

If you are having a vaginal birth, then the chances are very high that you will. Avoiding this is almost impossible. Some women try to hold on during the pushing stage because they are afraid of passing stool, but this will make pushing ineffective. There comes a point where this is impossible.

Decades ago, laboring women were given enemas. This involved a tube being inserted into their rectum and warm water and liquid soap flowing into the lower bowel. This certainly had the desired effect of emptying the bowel of stool. These days, a small enema may be given if it's been a while since a woman has had a stool.

A full bowel can delay the descent of the baby's head and it does make for a rather messy birth. Tell your provider or labor nurse if you've been bothered by constipation or if your bowel feels full and you're uncomfortable.

Birth professionals are very used to women passing stool when they’re pushing. In fact, they don’t think anything of it and as much as it may pain you to hear this, your stool is not any different from anyone else’s. They see it all the time in some shape or form. Birth professionals are used to wiping away what comes out (usually in the most discrete way possible) so that the stool does not come into contact with the baby. It also helps to keep the area for birth relatively clean.

5. Can my provider tell if I've just had sex?

Not unless you don’t shower and have a pelvic examination immediately afterwards. It's normal to have some vulvar swelling and engorgement during and after sex but this quickly subsides. Just like at any other time, it makes good hygiene sense to shower and change before seeing a health professional.

Apart from your own comfort, it demonstrates respect and consideration for someone who is about to get up close and personal.

6. What will I do if my baby is ugly?

Be reassured that most babies are not particularly attractive when they are first born. They are often covered in vernix (the white, greasy substance which helps to keep their skin soft), blood, and mucus. They are wet, they may be blue in color and they may not look anything like what you expected. Your baby may have lots of hair or be completely bald, and his or her features may look very squashed up and their head misshapen. There are all sorts of variables when it comes to a newborn's appearance. You may look at your baby and see features which remind you of yourself, a family member, or no one in particular.

A baby's face changes considerably over the first few days following birth. Birth pressure which caused swelling and puffiness will subside and little features which were almost undetectable at birth may become more obvious. Their nose, which may have first appeared big, is likely to reduce in size and shape. And that little blue face which came as such a shock will become pink and cute.

Your baby is designed by nature to help you fall in love with them. Even if your baby is not as pretty or lovely as you hoped they would be, give yourself and your baby time to get to know each other.

7. I’m terrified of getting fat. What can I do?

There's a big difference between gaining a healthy amount of pregnancy weight and becoming overweight or obese. Don’t think you're being shallow and vain by worrying about your weight gain. In fact, you’ll be doing yourself and your baby a big favor by watching your calories.

We used to think that pregnancy was an excuse to let all dietary restraint fly out of the window and for a pregnant woman to eat everything she wanted. But current guidelines are very clear that excess weight gain during pregnancy is directly related to increased risks. Check what your pre-pregnancy BMI (Basal Metabolic Index) was before you conceived, and this will give you an indication of how much you should gain.

Avoid thinking that you need to eat for two. You only need to eat for yourself and a bit more. If you aim for a total weight gain of 22 to 28 pounds over the entire term of your pregnancy, you’ll be doing OK.

8. Am I the only woman who hates being pregnant?

No, you are not. Some women love being pregnant, some hate it, and others feel quite neutral. This is just a fact of life. Some women, if given the choice, would be pregnant all the time. They really love the aspect of growing a baby and how it makes them feel. Other women feel that every day of their pregnancy is a burden and can't wait until it's over.

Very rarely, pregnancy can create feelings of intense unhappiness and dissatisfaction. If you feel this way, it's important you speak with a healthcare professional.

However, if you are like most pregnant women then you’ll have days when you’ll think pregnancy is the most wonderful condition in the world. You’ll feel comfortable, happy and all will be great. And other days won't be as harmonious. Your feet will ache and swell, you’ll spend more time on the toilet than anywhere else, and heartburn will feel like its eating away at your insides. Be reassured that usually discomfort is limited to the last trimester when space becomes a premium.

9. How soon can I find out who my baby's father is?

If you are unsure who your baby's father is, you don't need to wait until they are born to find out. It is possible to have paternity testing done during pregnancy, but not before 10 weeks of gestation. Before then, the level of your baby's DNA in your blood is insufficient to accurately measure. By 10 weeks, a blood test can be taken to see what the levels are and determine paternity.

You may want to wait until after your baby is born to check their paternity. A swab is collected from inside the baby's cheek and the cells examined for paternal DNA.

10. What if I don't like my baby's gender?

Some mothers are very keen on having a boy or a girl and really don’t want to consider the alternative. Expectations can be very high, especially for parents who are trying for a particular sex. Statistical odds are around a 50% chance for each sex (slightly higher for boys), but it can still be hard to have your heart set. If you are disappointed, you won't be the first. Be reassured, though, that you will learn to love your baby and that time will help.

If you have not been told what gender your baby is through ultrasound or genetic testing, then assume you've got a fairly equal chance of having either gender.

11. If I don’t like my provider, can I get another one?

Yes, you can if they are available. Like any relationship, the one you have with your provider may or may not be a good one. As a health consumer you are within your rights to explore having another provider care for you.

What's important is that you feel comfortable, confident, and at ease. If for some reason this isn't the case, then explore other options.

The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.