As the name suggests, a mucus plug is a collection of mucus that 'seals' the opening of your cervix during pregnancy, to prevent bacteria from reaching your baby. It usually falls out during the last two weeks of pregnancy.
Due to increased hormones and blood flow, discharge usually increases during pregnancy, but there's no 'normal' amount. It should be odourless or very mild smelling, and thin and milky. If your discharge is green or yellow, very heavy, accompanied by redness or itching, blood-tinged, or has a strong odour, see your doctor – you might have a bacterial or yeast infection.
Around half of all pregnant women complain of constipation. It's another fun side effect of hormonal changes, which cause the muscles in your intestines to relax and slow down intestinal movement. For relief, drink more water and eating foods that are rich in fibre.
Excessive flatulence during pregnancy is very common! It's brought about by the same slowing digestive processes that cause constipation, which allows gas to build up in the intestines. Try to include more fibre in your diet to help ease flatulence and the bloating.
Pregnant women often experience increased hair growth on their face, back, neck, breasts, stomach and other areas. Thankfully, it's a temporary side effect of elevated hormones in your system: once you give birth, your unwanted excess hair should disappear.
In a word, yes! As your growing uterus presses against your bladder, it's common to leak a little urine – especially when you cough, sneeze or laugh –or it could be an issue with your pelvic floor. Practicing Kegel exercises can help to control urine leakage.
During labour the baby's head puts pressure on your rectum, so you'll feel as though you need to poo, even if you don't! There's always a chance that some might come out, and if it happens, it doesn't matter – it's a positive sign that birth isn't far away, and the midwives have seen it all before!
Don't stress about it. It's not like the movies – when your waters break, they don't usually stream out in a gush that saturates the floor. More commonly, it starts as a trickle, and some women even find that their waters don't break until they're in labour.
Absolutely! You may have to try new positions that don't place pressure on your lower abdomen, but it's completely safe. Sex is a great way to bring on the birth: sperm contains prostaglandins, which can help trigger the onset of labour.
It's completely common to fear the birthing process, and you have two options: ignore your fears and go in blind, or find out exactly what's involved. If you read plenty of books, research online and talk to your girlfriends, you'll be able to work what worries you most, and you can then address it. You'll also understand what the doctors and nurses are saying, so you'll be able to ask informed questions.
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