Ask Your Midwife

Think your questions are too embarrassing? Too trivial? Too weird? You're not alone! But don't worry - PP's midwife, Anne Richley, is here to help

Birthing partners

QI want my partner to be at the birth but I'm worried that he'll see me differently afterwards. Does it put some men off sex?

A If you're worried about your partner's reaction to being at the birth, the two of you need to discuss it. If you're stillconcerned, ask him to stay at the 'top end'.

Your partner can offerjust as much support wherever he decides to stand or sit, and you need to feelcomfortable with this. Most partners describe the birth as the most amazing experience ever. And if he sees you differently afterwards, it's with wonder and respect at what you've managed to produce!

It's important to acknowledge, though, that not allmen feel comfortable being at the birth. Ultimately, the woman in labour needs a birth partner she can rely on and who can comfort and reassure her - and it may not be him.

Pressure of pooing

QI'm dreading giving birth in case I poo myself. Does this always happen in labour?

A Not always, but many women do open their bowels during labour - and if it's going to happen, there's nothing you can do to stop it. Fear and 'holding back' willonly make you feel more uncomfortable, so just go with your body.

During the second stage of labour, the baby's head puts pressure on the rectum so you'llfeelas if you need to poo, even if you don't. Opening your bowels in labour is normal - it's a positive sign that birth isn't far away.

Sex and labour

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J I've heard that sex can induce labour. Will the wife know I've had sex when she examines me?

A During pregnancy, vaginal discharge is increased, anc believe it or not, when a man ejaculates, there is less than a teaspoon of semen.

So, by the time it comes to a vaginal examination, there's no way a midwife would be able to know if you'd had sex. Sex can kick-start labour, but only if your body is ready.

Behaving badly

QI'm scared of 'losing control' during labour and making grunting noises. Should I have an epidural to prevent this?

A Women often worry about whether or not they'llmake strange noises or behave out of character during labour. It's usually during the second stage of labour that mums-to-be become more 'vocal', because they have an overwhelming, involuntary urge to 'bear down'. Although women may make noises, it doesn't mean they're out of control. In fact, you may feel more out of control with an - epiduralif you can't feel

what's actually going on. The reality is that, at the time, you're so focused on giving birth you won't notice what noises you make.

If you do start to make involuntary sounds, it's a positive sign you're approaching the second stage of labour and, therefore, usually suggests that you're making good progress. No one cares how much noise you make - and when it comes to it, neither willyou!

Vaginal examination

QI hate the thought of internal examinations in labour. Do I have to have them?

A An internalexamination can only be done with your consent, and if you're sure you really don't want one, then your wish should be respected.

By doing an internalexamination, the midwife can tellhow dilated your cervix is and what position your baby is in. Women usually want to know about their progress in labour and will ask the midwife to examine them.

By using breathing exercises or gas and air and by emptying your bladder first, it shouldn't feeltoo uncomfortable. However, in a straightforward labour, a midwife

should still be able to tellthat you're making good progress without frequent vaginalexaminations.

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Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

If Pregnancy Is Something That Frightens You, It's Time To Convert Your Fear Into Joy. Ready To Give Birth To A Child? Is The New Status Hitting Your State Of Mind? Are You Still Scared To Undergo All The Pain That Your Best Friend Underwent Just A Few Days Back? Not Convinced With The Answers Given By The Experts?

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