Only whisperingly eluded to the ‘post-birth vagina’ seems to be a topic everyone steers clear of…
Maybe for the veteran Mum’s it’s a repressed memory after years of nursing, settling and parenting? Or perhaps it’s because the ‘sisterhood’ demands we don’t scare the newbies off for life with graphic, petrifying details. Either way, you’ve probably got some questions that nobody seems to want to actually answer. And truth be told it’s not as bad as you might be imagining!
Stop wondering, Mum Central will spill all the details. Here’s what you want to know about your vagina post birth (even the bits your bestie won’t tell you!)
Yikes! Things seem kind of a mess down there. What next?
Okay firstly, don’t freak out. That just-popped-out-a-baby vagina is one, amazing and two, temporary. You may have stitches, swelling, grazing, stinging, tightness, bleeding (or even, lucky you, all of the above) but trust us this soon will pass. Until then don’t even think about it. Find your big knickers, maxi pads and ice packs and weather the storm of post-birth-recovery.
Okay. But, longer-term, will my vagina ever be the same again?
In short, probably not! But the good news is it could actually be pretty close to your pre-birth bits! Just in the way your vagina is designed to stretch during birth, it’s also designed to recoil back to close to original size. The best way to encourage things to return to pre-baby condition is, of course, to practice your Kegels as much as possible. Kegels are proven to not only improve vaginal tone but assist with postpartum urinary incontinence and make sex more pleasurable. Trust us and do them! There’s so much to be gained from squeeze, squeeze, squeeze.
Oh god, you just mentioned sex. Don’t even. Will I ever want to have sex ever again?
Your vagina might feel like you’ve had a genital car crash right now but the day will come where you do feel like having sex again! The truth is that could actually be really soon or a long way away. Only you will know that and there’s stacks of factors that combine here to make you feel ready.
As to the actual vagina, initially it can feel different (and sex might too). Your post birth vagina can feel stretched and post pregnancy hormones can make things different to before. Vaginal dryness is common post baby and can be further exacerbated while breastfeeding. Minor pain as your body re-adjusts especially if you’ve had stitches or birth injuries is normal, anything that really hurts, you need to get back to your doctor.
Lube, lube, lube is the answer when you think you’re ready. And talking. Lots. Communicating your worries with your baby daddy is key. It may not be an easy conversation to have but, hey, he’s just seen you give birth right? And secondly he may not have had sex in quite a while so reminding him to take it slow could be recommended!
And will I ever orgasm again?
There’s actually some pretty good news to be shared here! A vaginal birth actually increases blood flow to the organ and can actually make some women more orgasmic than their pre baby selves. If you’re struggling to even find your orgasm let alone compare your pre and post baby climax that’s perfectly normal too. Just like when you first became sexually active orgasm is a learned skill. Trust, relaxation and doing your best to clear your mind and focus on enjoying the moment will get you there quicker!
Will my husband be able to feel changes in my vagina?
This is a tricky one and (being a woman) I don’t really have a straight answer for you on this. Reading male and female forums and message boards looking for info there seems to be a resounding amount of comments from both genders that there was no change or actually a noted pleasurable improvement by men in response to their partners post birth vaginas. The closest thing to a scientific study in this area was Does Mode of Delivery Affect Sexual Functioning of the Man Partner? Which asked men of both delivery methods (vaginal and C-section) whether their partner had less muscle tone post birth and specifically “Do you ever happen to think your partners vagina is so loose that it affects your sexual pleasure?” The bottom line? The guys’ complaints (or lack of them) had no correlation with mode of delivery*.
There’s stories floating the suburbs of a ‘husbands knot’ where an obstetrician will add an extra stitch after an episiotomy to create a tighter fit however we’re assured these are nothing more than urban legend! When my friend’s husband recently joked to her doctor (as he was stitching up his wife post birth) to ‘add an extra one for me’ the doctor quickly replied, ‘If this isn’t adequate it might be time to consider it’s the size of the man, not the lady that’s the problem!’ Bravo doctor, bravo!
So, will your husband be able to feel changes? Maybe. And really, if you’re both back in the sack and you’ve just delivered a 3-kilogram baby he’d be awfully brave to mention it, right? This is a new stage in your relationship and it’s time to meet one another all over again.
Always remember that having a baby is a miracle your body is truly designed to achieve. No major life event comes without change and when it comes to birth this is a biggie! Things may seem worrisome now but largely, your lady bits with some pelvic floor TLC can be back to almost-honeymoon-condition real soon. If you’ve concerns with your post-birth vagina please see your doctor. Good luck!
Additional Reference: Psychology Today