Doctors Share 33 Weird, Unworldly, And Seriously Concerning Things They’ve Heard From Pregnant Women
A doctor’s office is a safe place to not just talk but actually solve medical problems. And since we leave our privacy well shut behind its closed doors, we can hardly imagine what doctors have to deal with on a daily basis.
This time, we’re not talking just about any doctors but obstetricians, gynecologists, and midwives who meet, greet and treat pregnant people. Who help patients to bring healthy and happy little angels, aka daredevils, into this crazy world.
“Midwives/gynecologists of Reddit, what's the weirdest thing you heard from a pregnant woman or her family that made you think they had no prior sexual/medical education?” someone asked on Ask Reddit. The thread soon turned into an illuminating read giving us a very rare glimpse into all the craziness doctors have heard from their patients.
When my great grandmother went into labour with her first child at 18 she asked how the baby was going to come out and the midwife said "the same way it went in love".
To find out about the importance of knowledge in reproductive health and sex ed, and why there are still so many gaps regarding that in our society, Bored Panda spoke with Danela Zagar, INTIMINA Global Brand Manager who was happy to share some insights.
“We believe that children should start learning about reproductive health before the girls start menstruating (and this applies to boys as well),” Zagar said. According to her, education is the only way of fighting shame and taboos connected to puberty, changes in the pubescent bodies, periods, etc.
My Dad was a GP (he retired about ten years ago). He had a couple - lovely people, very young, a bit unworldly - come to see him to discuss their failure to conceive, about thirty years ago, when I was ten or so. He was bright enough to ask what they were doing in bed.
They had BOTH somehow come to the conclusion that what was needed to make a baby was penis/belly button contact. I have no idea how anybody was getting any satisfaction, or how on earth they kept believing this after doing it once - it must have been a horrible experience. He explained (literally) the facts of life to them, and on coming home had THE TALK with me and my brother, just in case we were also stupid.
The couple in question ended up with two kids. Good old Dad.
I’ve told this story before, but it bears repeating...
I worked as a telephone triage nurse and received a call from a very concerned young lady. She said that she was pregnant and had gone to an appointment with her OB-GYN that day and had some questions. This was relatively common; patients can sometimes feel rushed in the doctor’s office or forget the questions they were going to ask, so they call and ask us later.
Me: Ok, no problem! How can I help?
Pregnant lady: Well, the doctor told me I can’t have any more s*x until after the baby is born!
Me: (Looking at her record in the computer) Ok. I see you’re pretty far along and were having some pre-term contractions, which can be caused by s*x. So the doctor recommends no s*x so that the baby doesn’t come too early.
Pregnant lady: BUT HOW WILL I FEED THE BABY?!?
Turns out, her male partner convinced her that babies needed to eat semen to develop, and this could only be done with PIV s*x. I told her this was totally wrong and gave her a quick lesson about the umbilical cord. She was skeptical until I pointed out that single women and lesbians have perfectly healthy babies without constant s*x. “Oh, ok! That makes sense!” she said. Then she thanked me and started to hang up the phone- I could hear her calling her partner’s name as she hung up. Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that conversation!
“This is exactly why INTIMINA recently issued The Wonder Girls Guide Book (and an audio version) - to help young women prepare for womanhood and feel free of shame connected to periods and to help parents to have open conversations with their kids about all puberty and sex and reproductive health topics.”
I do ultrasound. When I was a student, I did a rotation at a small OB/GYN clinic. One day, a woman and her husband came in for a pelvic ultrasound. They had come to see the doctor because they were having trouble conceiving. They said they had been having s*x regularly for almost a year, and had not gotten pregnant. My instructor asked the patient if she was on medications (standard question).
"Only my birth control pills."
In a year of trying to get pregnant, neither she nor the husband had thought maybe she should stop taking her birth control.
Zagar explained that education has to come from parents and teachers. “Unfortunately, many education systems around the world are lacking sex education in their curriculum,” she added.
The 2020 survey commissioned by INTIMINA and conducted by OnePoll (on 2,000 US women) found that there are some major gaps when it comes to what women know about their own bodies. The findings showed that nearly one in four misidentified the vagina and 46% could not properly identify the cervix. Over half (59%) identified the uterus as a different body part too.
Not a MW or gyno but a story from a doctor in a town where I used to live:
A man and wife had a daughter. Then he somehow (farming accident?) lost a testicle. Then the couple had a son a year later so all his parts work, right? Then a few years later they have another daughter. All hell breaks loose in the maternity waiting room between the two families. His family is insisting that the mother was fooling around because "he lost his girl testicle in the accident." The doc had to separate them, then had to give a lesson about reproduction right there to explain that men's testicles aren't made to be one to make boys and the other to make girls. Members of both families were apparently confused about it, he said.
I work on a busy labour ward. Took a call from a woman who wanted to ask me about a pregnancy test result. I tried to explain that we are for the other end of the pregnancy but she wasn’t really getting it so for an easy life I just thought f**k it and told her to go ahead.
Her - I had a baby 12 weeks ago and I’ve just done a pregnancy test and it was positive. What does it mean? Me - can I ask you a few more questions? Her - sure Me - Than kyou. Firstly, had you stopped bleeding after having your baby? Her - yes Me - have you had unprotected s*x? Her - yes Me - have you had any early pregnancy symptoms? Her - well I’ve been feeling sick in the morning. That’s why I did the test. Me - I see. Well from the information you’ve given me then the test may indeed be right and you may indeed be pregnant. Her - but I can’t be. I’m breastfeeding. I haven’t had a period yet after having the baby. Me - (taking deep breath) didn’t your midwife tell you about contraception before you left the hospital? Her - yes Me - did you get any? Her - no..... Her - oh.... s**t.
I get so many women who think they can’t get pregnant if they are breastfeeding. It’s bollocks. If you’re reading this, breastfeeding, not using contraception and not wanting to have a baby in about 9 months time, then stay away from all penises until you’ve got yourself sorted. Don’t wait for your first period. You’re fertile before it even happens.
It goes like this:
Me: Your pregnancy test came back positive.
PT: Oh, I couldn’t be!
Me: Are you sexually active?
Me: Are you using any birth control?
Me: Then why don’t you think you could be pregnant?
Pt: Because I couldn’t be!
Repeat scene many times over past 20 years. Denial is not a river in Egypt.
Moreover, fifty-seven percent of the women surveyed admitted they don’t know as much about the female anatomy as they should. Forty-two percent wished they had a better understanding of what the different organs in the reproductive system do. Lastly, over a third (35%) would want to know when a woman is her most fertile and three in ten (29%) want a breakdown of the different stages of pregnancy.
The same women who participated in INTIMINA’s survey were asked who they blame for their lack of knowledge. One in three (36%) said teachers while 28% blame their parents. One in four (27%) said their lack of knowledge was due to government education standards or religious organizations (24%).
Zagar noted that all this lack of knowledge has the potential for real-life consequences. Over half of respondents (52%) think their knowledge gaps are preventing them from advocating for themselves in the doctor’s office. As if that wasn’t enough, fifty-four percent don’t remember or haven’t got advice from a medical provider on alternative menstrual hygiene products other than pads and tampons.
My mother is a midwife and this one story sticks out.
A couple is in her office looking very somber and the woman has been crying.
Mom: “what brings you in today?” Man: “this” points to a spot on woman’s lip Mom: “looks like a cold sore” Man: “what are we going to do about this” Mom: “have you tried abreva?” Man: “that is for herpes” Mom: “yes this is a form of herpes” Man: “I knew it. Check her for gonorrhea and chlamydia please” Mom to woman, ignoring man: “have you ever had a cold sore before?” Woman: “yes in 2012”
Mom then had to go in circles for 20 minutes with the man about how it’s not sexually transmitted necessarily, how it’s very common, she didn’t cheat on him since she had it for years, and that he probably had it. He cursed my mom out for “accusing” him of having an STD after she said that last bit and stormed out. My mom had to have a come to Jesus talk with the woman about leaving this loser. Crazy how little people know and how angry people get about how ignorant they really are.
I used to work in a medical field and witnessed this hilarity:
A teenage girl enters the clinic and gets testing done due to an irregular period. She and her mother are deathly afraid that she won't be able to have kids. Standard tests are run and she is scheduled for a followup the next week.
Fast-forward to the next week she and her mother come back to get the test results. Again they bring up their concerns that the daughter may not be able to have kids and how important it is to them that this situation is handled. Sonogram results come up and SURPRISE ! it's twins!
A heavily pregnant woman put her finger in her belly button and pulled out something gross. She immiediatly freaked out, making her husband freak out as well. She called my friend, who is a doctor specializing in ob/gyn, and almost cried on the phone:
Preggo: "Help!! I just pulled something out of my belly button!!"
My friend, MD: "... yeah??"
Preggo: "So... have I removed a plug or something? Have I hurt the baby??"
My friend, MD: "But you just pulled something gross from your own belly button.. right?"
Preggo: "Yeah but.. isn't my belly botton connected to the babys belly button? Isn't that how she gets all of her nutrients and stuff?"
And then they had a looong talk about the uterus, placenta and where our belly buttons originate from.
Mind you, this isn't about the preggo not being educated, she is a lawyer. But she caught pregnancybrain. And had a laugh about it afterwards :)
Zagar explained that in today’s digital age, everything our parents or teachers didn’t teach us about our reproductive health can be found online. “So the best recipe for becoming your advocate in a medical setting is to do your research and use that medical information for asking the right questions when visiting your doctor.”
INTIMINA is dedicated to women’s intimate health, and Zagar said that one of its responsibilities is to tackle the myths about women’s bodies and bodily functions. There are so many myths and misconceptions and that is why education is crucial. “The most common myths are: women cannot get pregnant while having sex during their period, women should not exercise or have sex during their period, and they are more likely to get attacked by sharks or bears while menstruating,” she said.
I’m a midwife.
I was booking a woman at the beginning of her pregnancy and she wasn’t exactly pleased about being pregnant. I asked her if she was sure she wanted to continue the pregnancy (there’s no point me booking her if she wants a termination). She starts ranting about how it was the soft drinks industry’s fault and how she’s going to sue them. I was pretty confused at this point and asked her what she meant. She informed me that she had been washing her vagina out with cola following sex and that she must have bought a bad batch as she was now pregnant.
I went to see a woman who had delivered her first baby a few days previously. I knew she had had stitches but she seemed to be in a lot of pain. I asked her if she wanted me to check them and she consented, and when I did, I got a strong whiff of chemicals. I asked her what she was using to clean her vaginal area with (we advise women to just use water for the first few days). She told me she was using Dettol (a household disinfectant here in the UK) as she always used it in her kitchen and she’d never got ill from her food, so it must work in preventing infections. A few words with me and when I saw her the next time she was moving around freely like she was in a tampax commercial.
This one isn’t really to do with sexual education but was really a WTF moment. We have bags that are given away to new parents and they have free samples in - baby wash, fabric conditioner, nappy cream etc. I examined a baby who was 10 days old and her skin was almost red raw in places. I thought it was the worst case of eczema that I had ever seen and that she should get the baby checked out at the hospital. While I was trying to get through to them I asked her if she had been bathing the baby in anything (again we advise using water only for the first couple of weeks). English wasn’t her first language but her husband came home at that point and translated for me. They had received a free sample of fabric conditioner in the pack. This had a picture of a smiling baby in the front. They assumed this was baby soap, had bought a massive bottle of it, and had then bathed the baby in it. Neat. Luckily the baby had no lasting effects.
As part of my midwifery education we had a woman come in from a fertility clinic to talk about the process a lot of our clients go through to get pregnant. She said the first thing they ALWAYS ask the patient, regardless of background, is how often they are having s*x. The amount of people that thought you could get pregnant any time after having s*ex (i.e. have s*x and get pregnant from that s*x 6 months later) was crazy. Also people who came from very conservative religious backgrounds and had no knowledge of s*x and didn't understand why they weren't getting pregnant after getting married.
I work in Public Health and Family Practice. We get our own special ones. Most recently the lady with chlamydia that stated she did not use birth control because “you cannot get pregnant if you have an STD”. Right. Yes she knew she had the STD and yes she was sexually active.
When asked whether sexual wellness is still a taboo subject, Zagar confirmed that’s the case. “It is still a taboo in many societies but things are slowly changing thanks to brands that advocate intimate and sexual health, and also the mainstream media who are opening up the conversations about these taboo topics.”
“At INTIMINA, we believe that educating people and empowering young women to feel free of any cultural taboos and stigma is what every modern society and education system should be doing,” she added.
We had a woman come to triage one day, in no visible distress, but certain that she was in labor. She denied feeling any loss of fluid, contractions, or pain. When questioned further, she explained that she was already “dilated 4”. She was accompanied by her granny, who explained that SHE had checked her granddaughter at home and she was able to fit four fingers inside the vagina, so she knew it was time. Not in the cervix, in the vagina.
I work at a microbiological lab and we took routine swabs from a pregnant woman to rule out STDs or other infections that could harm the baby during birth. We used a speculum to be able to see and take samples from the cervix. The patient asked whether we could - since we were already at it - take a picture of the baby with her cell phone. Through the vagina. She thought you could see the baby if you looked into the vagina.
Dad was a high risk OB/GYN. Once had to argue with a woman that her daughter emphatically did not get pregnant from swallowing. Despite her protests that her daughter was a virgin, to which my dad replied he was only aware of one previous virgin birth in history.
Zagar argues that “one of the most important places where taboos need to be broken is in our homes, meaning parents and children need to have open conversations about normal processes that happen in our bodies, such as menstruation, but also about sex, pregnancy, reproductive health, and sexuality.”
When we talk about menstruation specifically, despite the fact that billions of people experience it, it has historically been treated as something that shouldn’t be seen or talked about publicly, Zagar said. “Amongst our many projects and endeavors of breaking taboos, INTIMINA also collaborated with Pantone to create a bold shade of red called ‘Period’ to break the taboo and get everyone to talk about periods, regardless of gender, age, or life stage,” Zagar told Bored Panda.
One of the nurses I used to work with said they had a woman in come in who was in labor (her first child) and she gave the woman a hospital gown to change into. When they went to check her to see how dilated she was, they noticed she still had her underwear on. The nurse told her she would need to take them off. The patient was confused. Come to find out, she had no clue the baby was going to be coming out of her vagina.
Kinda late to the party. I had a woman call the office to make an appointment, and when I asked her what the appointment was for, she said that she needed a Fallopian tube. I was said, “...do you mean you want to get your tubes tied???”
She says, “No, I’m trying to get pregnant.”
Not a midwife but did have an acquaintance who got pregnant while her husband was in the army deployed. She had convinced her husband that they needed to try and get pregnant. So how do they resolve the issue of long distance and time? They concocted the plan of using a turkey baster, where the husband actually mailed a package of his little soldiers to her and she used the baster on her self to impregnate herself. No doctors were consulted during this time. And this story all came to light in divorce court when someone actually convinced the husband the baby was not his.
I had a girl call the office because she swallowed a cherry seed and was worried that the baby was going to choke on it.
I had a cousin that had a friend that told her a way to save money was to stop taking her birth control for 6 months. Friend told her that birth control pills were still effective for 6 months after taking them. As you can guess, she ended up pregnant, it was the only reason we found out about her genius money saving plan.
Son of an OB/GYN here.
Patient: I can’t be pregnant OB Dad: Why not? Patient: We haven’t had s*x! OB Dad: Have you been naked together? Patient: Yes. OB Dad: Has his semen ever made contact with your vagina? Patient:...yes... OB Dad: Bad news, those little guys are swimmers!
To this day I still wonder if the dude has to pay child support or not. Like “[my American people] your honor, I did not have s*x with that woman!”
Fat woman didn’t know she was pregnant until giving birth. OB Dad said family was very excited for her in spite of being surprised.
Fat woman claimed she was pregnant, claimed she was in labor, OB dad had to explain to her and family there was no baby. Family freaked because they’d all been buying her stuff. She started yelling that he’d taken her baby...the ruse was unreal. I heard she ended up in the news later trying to kidnap a child claiming it was from the pregnancy that didn’t happen.
Not a midwife but do medical triage over the phone. Had a 19yo ring because of abdominal pain, asked further into the assessment is she was pregnant, she is! Call changes tone, how far along? 37 weeks! Could you be in labour, she doesn’t think so. “I just need to put the phone on my bed while I get changed” why are you getting changed “but embarrassing I think I wet myself” do you think that could be your waters, she sounds skeptical but grudgingly agrees it could be, I ask if she can get to the hospital, no everyone in the house is drunk, I ask if I can send an ambulance, she doesn’t want me to as she has “a house full of people watching the match”( this is during the football World Cup) she enventually agrees as though she’s doing me a favour...
Two of my favorites:
What day of the week do I need to have s*x to have a boy?
Do you microchip babies after birth?
A woman in her 40s with 6 children didn't know that women have a urethra separate from their vagina.
A friend of mine works labor and delivery and told me this story. A 13 year old pregnant teen comes in. Days like this for the staff are hard, and they’re trying to be as sensitive as possible. As they’re getting her ready for delivery she starts to panic, saying that the “hole” isn’t big enough for the baby to come out. She thoughts the baby was supposed to come out of the bellybutton.
Midwife here- at least once a month I will being looking after a woman who is shocked to find out that a vaginal examination is the way to check cervical dilatation
The amount of times I’ve had to explain to a patient and/or the father of her baby that the baby in fact does not come out of the “pee hole” is concerning.
Another time, a woman called the L&D unit and told me she knew she was ovulating because the app on her phone told her she was and she had just had s*x with her husband. “Am I pregnant”? were literally the next three words out of her mouth.
Had a woman ask "when do you know if a girl is going to change into a boy?" I had to clarify "you mean when a ultrasound can tell if it's a boy or girl?" She replied "no, we already got an ultrasound that said it was a girl but I don't know when they can turn into a boy." I had no response to that.
I have an aunt who is a gyne, she told me some woman wants to be checked because some man kissed her and she have this superstition that woman can get pregnant through kiss or hand touch. So weird.
Not a midwife but I had an acquaintance try saying that she was only pregnant for 6 months but that her baby came out full-term, like her child was fine and needed zero medical attention due to being so premature.
I don't think she was actively lying, but she was not a bright person. She might have found out she was pregnant at 3 months and just assumed that she was just newly pregnant by the time she found out.
Or maybe she felt bad for drinking/partying early in the pregnancy so she refused to acknowledge it until it was convenient.
Either way it sounded very fishy.
Not an MW or gyno, but one time I made out with a girl and the next day she was crying because she thought she was pregnant. We were 22.