There’s a good chance you have, at some point, asked your gynae a question that you debated bringing up, either because it seemed silly, strange, weird or just plain gross.
There’s an even greater chance you avoided asking said health question for those same reasons, and opted for your girlfriend group text or Dr Google instead.
But rest assured, gynaes have not only heard it all, they’ve also asked it all during their own appointments.
“We, as gynaes, are probably gynaes’ most dreaded patients,” says Dr Jaime Knopman, director of fertility preservation at CCRM NY and co-founder of Truly-MD.
“We don’t always follow the rules or stick to our appointments – I think I saw my gynae three times during my entire second pregnancy!”
Read more: 9 thoughts every woman has had at the gynaecologist
As a doctor, Dr Knopman admits, it can be hard to be a patient.
“But being a patient makes you a way better doctor,” she says. “Experiencing what your patients feel can help you be a more sympathetic and understanding physician.”
As a resident – before having children or even thinking about pregnancy – Dr Knopman says she used to tell her patients in labour to push less with their faces and more with their bottoms.
“I thought it was so easy,” she says. “When I went to push out my first daughter, I realised how annoyingly condescending I probably sounded!”
Read more: 2 gynae-approved ways to tell if your vagina is too weak or too tight
Then, during her postpartum period, Dr Knopman realised just how intense postpartum depression could be.
“I thought I was super tough,” she says. “I had survived residency working 100-hour weeks, ran multiple marathons and pushed my body to do a lot. But the postpartum period was the hardest time of my life. I was emotional, overwhelmed and somewhat lost. It really allowed me to see what women experience.”
Read more: 5 gynaes share the sex tips that have changed their patients’ lives
So what are gynaes asking their gynaes? Here are the questions Dr Knopman and Truly-MD co-founder Dr Sheeva Talebian, director of third party reproduction at CCRM NY, say they’ve been asked – and asked themselves.
1. Can I get waxed when I’m pregnant?
Answer: It’s perfectly safe, but your skin may be more sensitive than normal.
2. Can I get botox when I’m pregnant?
Answer: It’s probably fine, but studies and experts aren’t in total agreement. Unless it’s absolutely urgent – and, in most cases, it’s not – wait until after you deliver.
3. Can I orgasm when I’m pregnant?
Answer: Hell yes.
4. Can I use a vibrator when I’m pregnant?
Answer: Sure – and enjoy!
5. Is it normal for sex to be so painful after having a baby?
Answer: “I asked this question literally 11 years ago – my daughter just turned 11,” says Dr Talebian. “Her response was, ‘Yes!’ And she followed up by saying it probably felt like knives and fire.”
Dr Talebian’s advice: “Use tons of lubrication, especially if you’re nursing. In the postpartum period, particularly in the peak of your nursing and high milk production, your oestrogen is super low. That results in what we call vaginal atrophy, or vaginal dryness. The ‘fire and knives’ analogy was spot on – and lubrication helped.”
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthsa.co.za