1. Yes, they\’ve heard it before.
Let’s be honest: some things you experience during pregnancy may seem downright embarrassing. However, here are some things you shouldn’t ignore and shouldn’t be afraid to discuss with your OB/GYN or midwife. Not mentioning them may lead to bigger problems that could have been avoided, so if any of these apply to you, speak up!
2. Abnormal odors “down there.”
You might not want to talk about this because you don’t want to be that person, but this is the type of thing your OB/GYN deals with all day long! Abnormal vaginal odor or discharge that is a different color (green, for example) or that itches can be a sign of an infection. Left untreated, this could worsen or even cause problems with preterm labor, so speak up. A quick exam will help diagnose the problem, and a course of simple antibiotics usually does the trick.
3. Not feeling your baby move.
You might think it’s all in your head and that you are sure your baby was probably moving just fine a few hours ago, but if you are past 28 weeks and don’t feel like your baby’s kick counts are adequate, give your obstetric provider’s office a call. Better safe than sorry, even if your baby starts dancing around the moment you go into Labor and Delivery!
4. Feeling tired, weak, or short of breath.
Sure, pregnancy is exhausting, and you might not be able to go up four flights of stairs as quickly as you used to. However, if you can’t finish your sentences or are so fatigued you can’t even stand up to take a shower, something else might be amiss. You might need to be checked out for anemia or other heart or lung problems, so let your doctor’s office know if these issues apply to you.
5. Feelings of sadness, anger, or hopelessness.
Emotional ups and downs happen to everyone, but if you are so sad that you cry everyday or don’t want to eat because you don’t see the point, you may actually be suffering from depression or anxiety. Feeling this way is not a sign you are weak or are going to be a bad mother — it means you are suffering from a true medical disorder that can be treated with therapy or medication, or sometimes both. We know that women who suffer from these conditions have worse outcomes in pregnancy, so please let your doctor or midwife know so they can help you ASAP.
6. Problems with pooping or peeing.
Pregnancy can definitely cause constipation, but if you can’t remember your last bowel movement, that is too long. Severe constipation can actually cause pretty bad abdominal pain and may even make you think you are in preterm labor. Taking stool softeners (which are safe in pregnancy) can definitely help out. The same goes for trouble urinating: if you feel any burning when you pee, or feel like you can’t empty your bladder, speak up. You may have a bladder infection which left untreated can spread to your kidneys and even put you into labor.
7. “It’s just a little bit of blood.”
Sure, your doctor may seem unfazed when you mention a little pink discharge after having sex, but anytime there is bright red blood in your underwear or the toilet you should call and let your obstetric provider know so they can decide if you need to be seen. It may be nothing, but it could also be a sign of preterm labor, placental abruption, or an infection.
8. Being scared of giving birth.
If you’ve never had a baby before, the idea of birthing a human may seem frightening, especially with all the horror stories so many women seem to feel the need to share with expectant mothers. If during your pregnancy you have any fears or concerns, bring them up! You are not the first person to feel this way, and your doctor or midwife can give you some resources (such as information on classes or reliable books) that can help prepare you for the big day.
9. If you feel unsafe at home.
Domestic abuse is not uncommon in pregnancy. If you are being abused (either physically, sexually, or emotionally), please be sure to let someone know. It’s so important to make sure that the home you are bringing your baby to is a safe one. Getting help before you deliver can help ensure this, as well as your own safety.
10. Worrying how you’ll “know” how to breastfeed.
Assuming breastfeeding will all magically fall into place once your baby arrives is a lofty goal. If you feel you aren’t getting the information you need at your prenatal visits, don’t be shy about asking for more guidance. Again, your provider can point you in the right direction when it comes to books, classes, local lactation consultants, and breastfeeding groups. If you haven’t nursed before, don’t feel silly about feeling in the dark!
11. A referral to a trusted pediatrician.
You’ve never had a kid before, so how can you pick the perfect pediatrician before he or she is born?! Your OB/GYN or midwife’s office will likely have a list of pediatricians who get good reviews from their patients, so be sure to ask. Friends and family may also love their pediatricians, so surveying them can be helpful too. Many pediatricians even have free “meet and greet” appointments with expectant parents so you can be sure of your choice before your little one even arrives.
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