Are you feeling anxious about the upcoming big event? Wondering if it’s necessary to shave in that area beforehand? Perhaps you have reservations about whether an episiotomy is preferable to a tear during labor. Don’t worry, because here’s where a compassionate labor nurse comes to your rescue. They can address all those embarrassing questions about labor you were too shy to ask, providing the support and guidance you need during this momentous journey.
Normal Discharge vs. Amniotic Fluid
During pregnancy, the only thing that stays the same is that everything about your body is always changing. And because everything in your body, including your discharge, feels like it’s changing, you start to wonder if any leaks are pee, amniotic fluid, or something else.
How is regular discharge different from amniotic fluid?
How can you recognize a leak of amniotic fluid as opposed to the typical discharge that most of us experience at higher rates during pregnancy? Most of the time, vaginal discharge is smooth, slimy, or sticky and doesn’t smell bad. Most of the time, amniotic fluid is watery and clear, but it can also be yellow, green, or tiny white particles. Discharge and amniotic fluid are normally straightforward to distinguish from one another, while amniotic fluid and urine can be trickier to tell apart.
One of the most common reasons people go to the maternity room is because they are leaking something. Most of the time, it’s not fetal fluid but pee. When you have a baby on your bladder, it can leak sometimes.
Put on a pad and ask yourself some questions if you start to leak fluid:
- Is it clear, or does it have a color?
- Does it smell like pee or have a bad smell?
- Is it only when I laugh, cough, or jump on a trampoline that it happens?
- Can I stop the leak if I squeeze my muscles in that area?
If it looks like pee, smells like pee, and you can stop the flow by squeezing your muscles or getting off the trampoline, it’s probably pee. If not, it could be blood from the womb. Even so, you should call the doctor or nurse to talk about it. A true uterine leak can’t be stopped, usually keeps leaking once it starts (but not always), is usually clear (with some white specks) unless there’s meconium in it, and may or may not be followed by contractions.
If your discharge is different from what you’re used to, you should tell your doctor or nurse. When you’re not sure, call. If you have a big leak, your pants will be wet, your car seat or couch will be wet, you’ll make a splash at the grocery store, and there will be no question in your mind. Still, call your doctor or nurse, and get ready to give birth.
Tearing vs. Episiotomy
Is it better to have an episiotomy or to risk tearing?
Not easy, right? Hopefully, you won’t have to do either, and most of the time, you won’t be the one to decide.
Most people say they don’t want an episiotomy, and most doctors and nurses don’t do them often. They save that for when the perineum (vaginal tissue) just won’t stretch anymore, and they really, really need to get that baby out. Then they make a cut, and delivery is generally quick. A lot of people have tears, and most of the time, they are easy to fix. Most doctors would rather have a small tear than an episiotomy; they know how to fix it.
Just ask your doctor or nurse how frequently they perform these. If they support episiotomy and you don’t like the idea (like most people do), find someone else. It’s one of the last things that gets decided during birth, and you won’t be able to help with it. You’ll be doing a lot of pushing, and if you need an episiotomy, your doctor or midwife will likely just do it.
Au Natural vs. Wax
For a long time, doctors and nurses would always shave the pubic area before giving birth. The idea was that shaving cleaned up the place where the baby would be born. But since the 1920s, a lot of clinical tests have shown that shaving isn’t necessary unless it’s part of a treatment that involves cutting the skin. Still, many parents-to-be want to know if they should be worried about their hair down there.
Should I get a wax before the day?
It’s neither expected nor necessary to wax or shave. From full-on Brazilians to full growth, we see it all. We no longer shave women in labor, except for a very small area right above the pubic area before a cesarean birth, because the hair doesn’t get in the way. We don’t care about the hair, that’s all. Really.