A lot of people feel very different in pregnancy – physically, emotionally and mentally. The most obvious of those changes is physical as both you and baby develop and grow.
One of the most fun physical changes is when you start to feel baby move. Fetal movement is usually present very early in pregnancy and can be seen by ultrasound sometimes as early as eight weeks. First time moms usually start to feel this movement around 20 weeks and as early at 17-18 weeks in subsequent pregnancies.
Those very early perceptions of movement are often very subtle and difficult to describe, but may feel like a “flutter,” “bubbles” or even “weird gas.” Most mothers just describe it as something different than anything they have felt before.
Sometimes a mother will tell us she still isn’t feeling movement at 20 weeks, but this isn’t always abnormal. Several things can contribute to not being able to feel movements, including a placenta that is anterior in the uterus or larger amounts of amniotic fluid. The good news is we almost always complete an ultrasound at 20 weeks which can confirm baby is moving and growing appropriately.
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“I’ve had women tell me their vagina feels like the Sahara Desert.”
Dr. Kristen Hoffman, an OB/GYN at the Methodist Physicians Clinic Menopause clinic, doesn’t mince words when it comes to one of the more uncomfortable side effects of menopause.
“As we grow older, our skin loses its elasticity,” said Dr. Hoffman. “The vagina does the same thing. It isn’t as thick and pliable and doesn’t move as well. Whether just sitting around or moving around, and especially when it comes to sex, things can feel very dry.”
It’s a feeling that can be very unpleasant. Some women describe it as itchy, or even feeling like paper cuts in the vagina. Sex can be downright painful.
“Whether a woman is sexually active or not, it can be a problem,” said Annette Dillon, APRN, one of five providers certified by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) at the Methodist Menopause clinic. “Our goal is to find something that improves the vaginal tissue and there are a lot of products out there that can do that.”
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