7 Embarrassing Pregnancy Symptoms (cont.)

Waxing or tweezing are the safest methods for hair removal during pregnancy.

"Any time it's a cosmetic outpatient procedure, not medically indicated, most dermatologists and plastic surgeons will push it off until after pregnancy," Hoover says. "During pregnancy, laser treatments on the face can affect skin pigment, and it may cause scarring."

4. Odors

Some women develop a stronger sense of smell during pregnancy. Many develop an aversion to strong food odors, such as poultry or seafood. A smaller percentage of women begin picking up on their own scent, which can be embarrassing.

"Sometimes you can smell yourself vaginally, especially toward the end of pregnancy," Hoover says. "It could be because you have more mucus then. Some people get worried about the odor and bring wet wipes wherever they go, but no one else can tell, because your scent hasn't gotten stronger; your sense of smell has improved."

Tell your doctor about any new, noticeable vaginal odors to rule out a yeast infection, which can be safely treated with antifungals during pregnancy.

5. Hemorrhoids

Ask any new mom about hemorrhoids, and she'll probably have an uncomfortable story to share, if she chooses to tell you about it.

"Hemorrhoids are a sure bet when a woman becomes pregnant," Hakakha says. "They often occur with constipation and the straining that ensues in an attempt to have a bowel movement. And we all know that constipation is one of the most common complaints in pregnancy."

Reduce your risk of developing hemorrhoids by avoiding constipation. Stay well-hydrated, eat more fiber, and use over-the-counter stool softeners.

"Consult your doctor about supplementary fiber, as well," Smith says. "Hold your nose and stifle your gag as you force it down."

If hemorrhoids develop, witch hazel pads and anti-inflammatory creams can help, and they're safe during pregnancy, Hakakha says.

6. Acne

Pimples and unsightly outbreaks are common, especially during the first trimester, because of the additional hormones coursing through your system. Certain acne medications, such as Retin-A, are off-limits during pregnancy, but other treatments are allowed.

"Most acne washes are safe, since the product does not sit on your skin for long periods of time, but ask your doctor before using any acne product," Hakakha says. "Use topical acne medication sparingly, only on affected areas. Products containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and azelaic acid are safe to use in small amounts."

7. Intimacy Issues

Weight gain and other physical changes can make you feel unattractive around your partner. Don't let that lead to communication and intimacy problems.

"Some people get embarrassed about being physically intimate," Kinney says. "The discharge will change, there's a potential for vulvar swelling. They feel very uncomfortable and don't feel they look attractive."

If you're having trouble broaching this topic with your partner, consider inviting them to an ob-gyn visit, particularly if you've discussed your intimacy issues with your doctor at a previous appointment.

"Having a provider say that these are all normal things can help," Kinney says.

Michele M. Hakakha, MD, ob-gyn in private practice in Beverly Hills, Calif.; author, Expecting 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice for Your Pregnancy.
Kim Hoover, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.
Michelle Smith, author, Taboo Secrets of Pregnancy: A Guide to Life with a Belly.
Sonja Kinney, MD, associate professor, department of obstetrics and gynecology, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine; medical director, Olson Center for Women's Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Reviewed on February 28, 2012
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Last Editorial Review: 9/6/2012 5:40:14 PM