**THIS POST IS VERY PERSONAL. IT DEALS WITH A WOMEN’S HEALTH/SANITY ISSUE. IF ANATOMICALLY CORRECT TERMS BOTHER YOU OR YOU DO NOT WANT TO READ ABOUT WOMEN’S HEALTH, I WILL NOT TAKE OFFENSE.**
Anytime a woman considers pregnancy, whether she’s adding to her family or bringing a child into the world for another family, she has to consider what the pregnancy will do to her health. Most women carry a baby to full-term with no major issues. Some women experience minor troubles: swelling feet, back pain, nausea, heartburn…
**I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANYTHING UNUSUAL WITH YOUR BODY, CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS BASED ON PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AND ADVICE FROM MY OWN OBSTETRICIAN.**
One of the things I had to consider before taking on this surrogacy was what I’d experienced with my pregnancy with Em. I had a fairly easy pregnancy after the morning sickness went away, and even that was just a nuisance. I gained more than the recommended amount of weight, but I wasn’t working and not really paying attention to the scale. Even my labor was “easy:” 8 hours total, back labor that was worse than the contractions until the doctor gave me pain meds, the last 2 hours were painful enough I finally was ready for an epidural (didn’t get it after all), but I only had to push for 20 minutes. My pregnancy went as smoothly as one could hope for. Except for one thing…
**LAST CHANCE TO STOP READING. NAMES OF BODY PARTS AND POTENTIALLY EMBARRASSING (FOR YOU) TOPIC COMING UP. I GAVE UP MY PRIVACY WHEN I STARTED WRITING A PUBLIC BLOG AND OFFERED UP MY UTERUS FOR SOMEONE TO GROW THEIR BABY. THIS POST DOES NOT EMBARRASS ME IN THE LEAST. BUT IF YOU CAN’T HANDLE IT: YOU WERE WARNED.**
I experienced some awkward discomfort the last couple of months with Em: I was sore and aroused “down there.” Basically it felt like my then-husband and I had a really fun night and I was paying the price. Except I was sore and aroused ALL. THE. TIME. Shopping at the mall, driving the car, sitting in the pew at church. It even woke me up from a dead sleep! But it wasn’t my brain that was telling me I was aroused, just my vagina. I would occasionally try to tell my body, “Not now, I’m tired!” There was nothing I could do to make the feeling go away (trust me: I tried, with my husband and by myself). While it’s normal for women to experience an increased sex drive during the first two trimesters, it didn’t seem normal to me to feel like I was always on the verge of orgasm without going over the edge.
When I talked to my OB about it, she looked at me like I was crazy to be complaining. She told me my brain was aroused, telling my “lady parts” (her words) that I needed sex and I just needed to satisfy my body’s request. She told me to have more sex.
Not exactly helpful advice, considering I had been trying to “satisfy” this feeling and it wouldn’t go away.
Going into this surrogacy, I thought about what I would do if this happened again, especially since when I started the paperwork I was single. I couldn’t just “have more sex.” Intercourse and masturbation didn’t help last time. Could I survive another round of this, especially now that I am working full-time and can’t just “take care of it” anytime I feel like I have to or I’m gonna die?
Eventually the chance of having this happen again was overpowered by my desire to help create a family.
And sure enough, I’m experiencing the same symptom: soreness and arousal. But this time I have a different obstetrician and here’s what she told me:
The baby can end up resting on certain blood vessels which causes increased pressure and makes the labia fill with more blood than normal, causing the swelling. Friction from undergarments causes the arousal and masturbation and/or intercourse will not make it go away (though it can temporarily reduce the feeling). Baby needs to be off those blood vessels to make the swelling stop.
Finally, an explanation for WHY I’m feeling like this. But how do I keep it from happening in the first place? My OB recommended I buy a maternity support belt to help hold baby up higher.
This is what I bought (sorry the picture isn’t any bigger):
It’s intended to help alleviate back strain during pregnancy, but it works WONDERS for my little problem. With the right amount of tension on the belt, baby is kept up higher and I haven’t had any swelling since I started wearing it.
I haven’t tried any other belts out there; I purchased this one based on the reviews I read online, the description and my price range. I think it was definitely worth the money for the peace of mind I have.
So if you have been suffering from swollen labia and irritation during your pregnancy, please PLEASE talk to your physician and consider wearing a maternity support belt.
It’s not just you.