Pregnancy 101: Things Mom Never Told You
You May Be Expecting -- but Maybe Not Expecting This
Changes in sex drive
Jessica recalls a surprising surge in her sex drive during the
second trimester of her pregnancy. "I wanted to have sex all the time,"
she says. "It seemed as if I wasn't having it, I was thinking about it -- I
had sex on the brain!"
Her sex drive overdrive continued right up to the final month
of her pregnancy. "It's strange because I didn't exactly feel like my body
was attractive, but I didn't care," she says.
"Sex drives can go up and down throughout pregnancy,"
says Ernst G. Bartsich, MD, associate clinical professor of obstetrics and
gynecology at the Cornell Medical Center in New York City. "Women should
follow their instincts and feelings," he says, and fears that having sex
will hurt the baby are unfounded.
So unless a woman is experiencing a problem, such as bleeding,
let the games begin!
Vivid dreams and disturbing thoughts
Pregnant women and new mothers often are caught off guard by
vivid dreams and thoughts, often disturbing ones, says Bartsich. "It's not
uncommon, but many women don't talk about this because it is so taboo," he
Laura Smith remembers just such a dream.
"I dreamed I was bathing the baby in a tub and there was
steam all around. I slowly picked up a towel and put it over the baby's face,
smothering it. Then I woke up suddenly," she recalls.
She knew she would never do such a thing but mentioned it
during a prenatal visit, where she was reassured by her doctor that such dream
are common and normal in pregnancy.
Bartsich says passing thoughts -- for example, stepping out
into traffic or feeling ambivalent about motherhood -- also can occur. While
distressing, these too are common.
"Even a woman who has been wanting a baby very much may
have second thoughts about becoming a parent. It is very normal," he
"I had just gotten out of the shower and was bent over
blow-drying my hair when I felt something drip on my knees," says Jessica,
who was in her final month of pregnancy at the time. "I thought it was
water from my hair but when I stood up, the wetness ran down my belly."
Shocked, she realized the source of the flow was her nipples.
"Early lactation is very common, but for women who haven't
been warned about this, it can be scary," says Shaber.
Milk production can start as early as the second trimester
thanks to increasing levels of the hormone prolactin in the blood. Stimulation
is usually the cause, such as the heat from a blow dryer or the massage of the
shower. Remove the stimulation and the flow usually will stop, Shaber says. If
it happens frequently, nursing pads will come in handy.
"It's definitely not dangerous or a sign that anything is
wrong," says Shaber. "In fact, it should reassure a woman that she will
have plenty of milk when the baby arrives."