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.

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.

C-Section Rates Too High in China

China C-section rate high

The C-section rate in China stands at about 50% of all deliveries and must be reduced.

According to a commentary recently published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and summarized in an article completed for Science Daily, the rate of cesarean sections in China is far too high and efforts need to be made to reduce the reliance on the procedure.  The research completed for the commentary indicates that, of the sixteen million babies born in 2010, approximately half of them were delivered through cesarean section.  However, the article did acknowledge that the exact rate of births by cesarean section, but the literature available on the topic in China indicates that the rate of C-sections could range anywhere between thirty six percent and fifty eight percent.

Several reasons for the priority placed on cesarean sections are discussed.  With the existing high number of deliveries occurring in the nation, cesarean sections may simply be the preferred method, due to the advantages of managing an enormous volume of births with limited resources.  There are also a series of financial incentives for hospitals and physicians who engage in cesarean sections as opposed to traditional vaginal deliveries.  Insurance is more willing to cover the costs of childbirth, if the baby is delivered by cesarean section.  Physician and hospital revenues are also increased with the procedure as well; in addition, physician salaries are often supplemented, based in patient volume and collections.  In this sense, cesarean sections allow for a higher salary for physicians, as they collect more than traditional vaginal deliveries.

Money also plays a role in the staffing influences over choosing cesarean sections as the preferred method of delivery.  Staffing levels in China public hospitals are low and limited, due to government regulation.  Per one thousand people in the population, there is only one and a half nurses or midwives.  As cesarean sections require less nursing hours when compared to vaginal deliveries, it makes sense to pursue this avenue in the interest of staffing.  Finally, training is varied and inconsistent in obstetrics and gynecology in China; less than two percent of physicians complete a masters or PhD level in their training.

There is also a factor of patient preference.  Since the One Child Policy has been passed, mothers demand perfect outcome on the one and only attempt, particularly in wards that don’t offer pain control, epidurals or much nursing support.  Fundamentally, there is a fear of labor that inclines mothers towards cesarean sections.  However, in November, a less strict version of the One Child Policy is expected to go into action, which would allow for the birth of a second child.  With the increased number of births would come an increased reliance on cesarean sections; therefore, the commentary postulates that this will force medical professionals to return once more to traditional vaginal deliveries, as to cut back on the risks in childbirth.

World Health Organization Increases Access to Safe Blood for Pregnant Women

Women lose a large amount of blood during pregnancy and childbirth.

Women lose a large amount of blood during pregnancy and childbirth.

In a recent article published by FIGO, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, The World Health Organization (WHO) is making an attempt to further reduce maternal mortality rates by providing better access to safe blood. WHO is targeting this call to governments to improve access to safer and cleaner blood. During pregnancy, after pregnancy and during childbirth, severe bleeding is the world’s leading cause of maternal deaths. This severe bleeding can unfortunately kill a healthy woman in as little as two hours, unless she receives appropriate careas soon as possible.

The World Health Organization is taking action to make sure that these child bearing women receive clean blood transfusionsto keep them healthy.

The World Health Organization is taking action to make sure that these child bearing women receive clean blood transfusionsto keep them healthy.

With increasing the access to safe blood, a large number of women’s lives could be saved with the help of blood transfusions. However, in order to have a blood transfusion, there needs to be access to safe blood for the doctors to use and this is where the problem lies.  According to WHO director, Dr. Margaret Chan, “If all facilities provided safe blood for transfusion, many of these mother’s lives could be saved.” This being said, there is still a major need and shortage for safe blood to provide to patients. This continues to prove to be the main contributor to high maternal mortality in many countries.

Many hope that World Blood Donor Day will draw attention to issues surrounding blood supplies to women who are in desperate need of healthy, clean blood. It will be marked as a global event in Colombo, Sri Lanka in order to raise awareness in other countries.