Think you can shock your midwife? No way! We’ve heard – and seen – it all before and, rest assured, all mums-to-be have the same doubts and worries. But to spare your blushes, I asked some brave souls to share their cringey questions and come up with the top 10 things you all want to know…
1) Is it safe to have a bikini wax a couple of days before my due date?
Sally, 42, from London, via Twitter
ANNE SAYS: It’s perfectly safe to have a wax at any stage of your pregnancy. But be warned – your skin can become more sensitive so you might find it more painful than usual. Having the whole lot off is OK, too, if you prefer. Some women do this as they feel cleaner that way.
2) If my waters break when I’m out, will I look like I’ve wet myself?
Brooke, 21, from Cambridge, via Facebook
ANNE SAYS: Towards the end of pregnancy, most babies move down into the pelvis with their head acting like a plug. If your waters did break in public, they would most likely trickle rather than gush out, and most people would be happy to help you. If you’re still nervous, pop a sanitary towel into your knickers before you head out.
3) Can the midwife tell if I’ve recently had sex?
Louisa, 34, from Kent, 32 weeks pregnant
ANNE SAYS: Your midwife will be none the wiser, as you often produce more discharge during pregnancy, which looks similar to other bodily fluids. It’d take an enormous amount of scrutiny to figure out what’s on your midwife’s gloves, and frankly she won’t be that interested. Women have a natural smell, so as long as you’ve bathed you’ll just smell girly at most.
4) Bleeding during labour is going to be like one big messy period, right?
Susie, 29, from London, 14 weeks pregnant
ANNE SAYS: You shouldn’t lose any blood during labour, but immediately after the birth you can lose up to 500ml as the placenta separates and delivers. Some women lose more and still feel absolutely fine, while others lose a lot less. For the first couple of days, it’ll feel like a heavy period, and you might continue to bleed for six weeks after the birth, but it should be fairly light.
5) I’ve heard my baby will be covered in something resembling cream cheese after the birth. Will I want to cuddle that?
Anna, 33, from Essex, 38 weeks pregnant
ANNE SAYS: Vernix, the cheese-like stuff coating a newborn, is absorbed by your baby’s skin quickly after the birth – usually within the first two days. It’s nature’s moisturiser and helps protect your baby against infection. When you wash your baby is entirely up to you – some mums wait until the vernix is absorbed, while others do it on the first day. A compromise would be giving your baby a hair wash and a quick top and tail.
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6) Who’s going to see me during labour? I’m really nervous about lots of strangers being able to see my bits.
Emma-Jane, 25, from Gloucestershire, 33 weeks pregnant
ANNE SAYS: During a normal labour you should only need to have a midwife caring for you. She could have a student midwife working with her, but she’d always check first that you’re happy for the trainee to be there. If there are any concerns during labour, your midwife would ask a doctor or another midwife to come into the room, but other than that, it should be a private occasion.
7) How long will it take to heal after stitches and when will I be able to have sex again?
Jessica, 32, from Kent, via Twitter
ANNE SAYS: A tear or a cut usually takes three or four weeks to heal, so you’ll probably want to let things get better before you give it a go, but you can resume sex whenever you feel ready – for some women this is within days, or weeks, while for others it might be months. You can always try some mutual masturbation before building up to intercourse again.
8) I’m worried my husband will go off sex if he sees the birth. What should I do?
Nicky, 29, from Suffolk, 26 weeks pregnant
ANNE SAYS: Occasionally, men struggle with this, particularly if it’s been a traumatic birth and they’ve been down the business end. But most men look at their partner in complete admiration that they’ve produced this gorgeous baby – and rightly so. If you’re worried about it, your hubbie can give just as much support up top, so give him strict instructions to stay nearer the head end.
9) Will my bits be loose and floppy post-birth?
Sarah, 37, from Liverpool, via Twitter
ANNE SAYS: Your stomach might seem loose and baggy initially after giving birth, but it’d be very unusual to feel like that anywhere else. Your vagina and vulva could feel a bit bruised, but not floppy. Pelvic floor exercises help maintain muscle tone and prevent incontinence, but you’ll be amazed how things do spring back.
10) Will the midwife make me eat during labour? I’m scared of pooing everywhere when I push
Abigail, 33, from Surrey, 19 weeks pregnant
ANNE SAYS: Nobody will make you do anything you don’t want to do. Eating to keep your energy up while you’re labouring won’t influence whether or not you do a poo. As your baby moves down the vagina, his head puts pressure on your back passage and if there’s any poo there, it’ll come out. You probably won’t even be aware if you do it and it’s only likely to be a small amount.
Anne’s top tip
Keep a small packet of baby wipes in your bag before b-day. That way you can have a quick freshen up before a midwife visit or in public loos when you’re out and about.