Top 3 Questions You’re Embarrassed to Ask Your OB-GYN

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For first-time and veteran mothers alike, pregnancy can bring up a variety of questions that might feel a little awkward asking out loud. The good news is that most women have had those same questions at some point and that there are answers from trained professionals.

 

Here are some questions about pregnancy you may have wanted to ask but felt too nervous to do so:

 

How Likely Is a Bowel Movement During Delivery?

This fear comes up frequently with new mothers, to the point where they can become so fixated on not having a bowel movement that it inhibits their ability to push.

 

It’s actually extremely common to have a bowel movement during labor, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. There’s a simple reason why it happens: the same muscles a woman uses to push a baby out of her uterus are the same ones she uses when having a bowel movement. With the added weight on her colon and rectum as the baby moves through the birth canal, it’s a very natural bodily reaction.

 

While it may seem embarrassing, keep in mind that childbirth is a very private affair. Doctors are not only undaunted by this, but generally expect it. They’re trained professionals and their primary concern is making sure the mother and baby are healthy throughout the entire pregnancy and delivery.

 

Will My Vagina Be Stretched After I Give Birth?

Not really. Believe it or not, vaginas have muscle memory. The vagina is also made to accommodate childbirth; in other words, it stretches during childbirth and then contracts to its normal size. If a woman wants to strengthen her pelvic floor muscles, there are Kegel exercises, though make sure to check with a doctor first before trying them.

 

Why Does Sex Hurt After Birth?

Having a baby is hard work! With childbirth comes natural trauma to the vaginal area, and it needs time to heal. It’s natural for the sex drive to decrease, given how exhausting caring for a newborn can be. On top of that, if mothers choose to breastfeed, that can change her hormone levels as well, particularly her estrogen levels. This can lead to problems with lubrication. One potential solution is to use a lubricant, as well as giving the body time to adjust postpartum.

 

If the pain continues to exist months after birth, however, it’s best to speak to a doctor to make sure there aren’t any lasting issues.

Are Screens Hurting Your Baby?

dr lori gore green dentonIt’s undeniable that emerging technologies are changing virtually all facets of how we live. And childrearing is certainly included in theses sweeping changes. Parents are currently faced with a myriad of options when it comes to arming themselves with as much information about their children through using various tech gadgets to aid them in tending to their children. (See my earlier article on micro tech here). Overwhelmingly these advancements in changing technologies are solving all sorts of problems and opening up opportunities and possibilities across many fields that were unimaginable just one or two decades ago. However, it is worth taking a moment to reflect on the many ways in which certain uses of technologies effect children. For example, what does screen time do to our babies?

With the introduction of so many screened devices into our adult lives in such a relatively short amount of time, there haven’t been any significant longitudinal studies to better understand the effects of screen time on the development of children. In addition to being unaware of what the long-term effects may or may not be for babies, we also don’t know what factors might mitigate potential negative side effects.

As with all kinds of thorough research, time is a factor, and unfortunately these screened devices have not been widely available for very long. However, there are certain things that are known currently through research from the past, that can be extended to this arena when thinking about best practices and safety guidelines as they pertain to parenting and childrearing.

Screens are problematic in childhood development-especially for babies and toddlers when they displace interactions with people. In the first year of life, some of the most important interactions are those of the “serve and return” variety. Essentially a baby makes a noise, a parent responds in kind back, and it goes from there. Here a baby is learning the concept of a conversation, imitating sounds and observing that different facial expressions signify different things. This process can be extended to a number of other scenarios, and the practice requires repetition.

Although certain apps are interactive and educational, the American Academy of Pediatrics still suggests that children under the age of 2 not be exposed to screen-devices as the effects are not yet known.

While an interactive app may ultimately be more significant as a positive step in the development of a child than a distracted parent, we just do not have enough information to fully assess the effects of these devices. What we do know, is that the more meaningful and attentive interactions that a baby shares with other people, the better.

 

Does Your Baby Need a Bluetooth Onesie?

Dr. Lori Gore-Green OBGYN

For about $200, parents can link up their infants with a bluetooth onesie or slipper to a monitor which notifies the parents of any changes in regulation. The purpose of the apparatus is to check breathing patterns, sleep patterns, and body movements keeping parents aware and in better contact with their infants, even while sleeping or in the room next door. Many new and stressed-out parents found reassurance in the directness and better response time. The appeal of always being connected, effortlessly, gave parents a peace of mind to carry on with their daily tasks, never more than a baby’s cry away. Others, however, are confused as to the essential benefits of having high-tech methods for infant-to-parent communication, viewing the piece as an unnecessary addition to a relatively uncomplicated process.

A little bit of science goes a long way to show no significant changes in the preventative care of a baby hooked up to bluetooth. While parents have a wider radius of distance they can travel away from the baby without feeling urgently needed, the technology fails to prove itself a deserving commodity. Much more likely, it is a slight scam for new parents worrying day in, day out about the health of their baby.

Dr. David King, writing for the British Medical Journal, retold a similar story with parents buying sleep apnea monitors for their babies. The investment in medical technology, per se, proved to be no protectant against the major concern for parents which is sudden infant death syndrome (which makes up about 80% of deaths in infants up to one year old.). The very nature of SIDS is that its etiology is unknown. Neonatologist Dr Retajczyk explains that the uneducated attempt to be more in tune with one’s baby can make parents worry obsessively over things they do not understand. He asks, “There’s a huge variation [in heart rate] in newborns…so if parents see these trends, does that become worrisome when in reality it’s quite normal?”

At this stage, only one leading company has pledged to conduct clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of its product. Parents and doctors alike should encourage companies with experimental products to further engage in scientific research that lends evidential support to their usage.