It is inevitable that the vagina will be changed following the birth of a child. In order for the baby to pass through, the entrance of the vagina has to stretch considerably and the delicate tissue is prone to tearing. In addition, the skin between the anus and the vagina may also tear during the birthing process, or could be surgically cut by medical parties in order to allow for an easier delivery.
Following childbirth, it is perfectly normal for a woman to feel as though her vagina has become looser and drier than before – they may also experience intermittent pain during sex. The good news however is that there are plenty of ways and means by which any new mum can hurry her recovery process along – read on for a few helpful insights you need to know.
Wider and Looser Vagina After Birth
Chances are that your vagina will feel considerably wider than it did prior to childbirth and will probably look enlarged at the same time. However, in most cases the enlargement of the vagina is temporary only and will begin to subside in the days and weeks following the child’s birth. There may also be a great deal of bruising resulting for the birthing process, which again should subside with time.
The feeling of looseness is something that cannot be avoided due to the immense stretching that occurred while giving birth. Even when the actual swelling and pain itself has physically subsided, the vagina can still feel a great deal wider and looser than it actually is
Can It Go Back to Normal?
The answer to this question all depends on how you define the word ‘normal’. If you’re asking whether or not a vagina can go back to its original shape and size, the answer is yes – it is possible. That being said, it is probable that at least something about its appearance, size or feel will be changed permanently by the birthing process and will therefore not return to its previous state 100%. This is entirely normal and to be expected, with the vast majority of women experiencing changes that are in no way severe or aesthetically displeasing.
Of course, if at any time you are particularly worried or have any concerns about changes – visual or otherwise – you can organize a consultation with your doctor.
Dry Vagina After Birth
It is also inevitable that your vagina will be drier following childbirth and this is something you will notice. The reason being that there won’t be as much estrogen in your body as there was while you were pregnant – levels of the hormone become even lower in mothers that breastfeed their babies. The good news is that this is almost always temporary in nature and 100% possible to compensate for with lubricants and specially designed moisturizers. Just be sure to choose a product that’s been clinically tested and approved and there’s no reason why sex cannot be every bit as pleasurable as it was prior to pregnancy, just until your body naturally balances itself out again.
Sore or Painful Vagina After Birth
Soreness is of course impossible to avoid following childbirth, though again is temporary in nature. All new mums should begin to notice a great deal of relief around 6 to 12 weeks following the birth of their child, though there are plenty of ways and means to reduce discomfort in the meantime. Painkillers can be effective, but mother intent on breastfeeding their babies should seek advice before taking any such medicines. Ensure that all stitches and exposed areas are kept clean and sanitary at all times to encourage faster healing and be sure to exercise your pelvic floor as recommended by your midwife.
Painful Sex After Birth
If sex is painful after childbirth, remember that there is no rush to get ‘back to business’ and all women feel pain during sex for different lengths of time following the birth. You can certainly make the pain less severe by using an approved lubricant and adopting a gentler love-making style, but be sure to listen to your body and only do what you’re ready to do when you’re ready to do it.
Kegel Exercises to Help Restore Vagina Shape
Kegel exercises have been helping women get their vaginas back in shape since first being dreamt up back in the 1940s. Their effectiveness can be extraordinary, providing a wide variety of benefits from improving sexual pleasure to reducing urinary incontinence.
How to Do It
The way to carry kegels is to strive for something of a ‘lift and squeeze’ fell around your pelvis. Imagine you have a full bladder and need to pass gas in a public place – use the muscles you would use in order to keep yourself from peeing and passing said gas. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re doing it right, insert the tip of your finger into your vagina and try the exercise once again – if you can feel the walls of your vagina gently tightening just a little bit, you’re on the right path!
How Often to Do It
You should start off by doing these exercises just a few times every day, until you feel your muscles are beginning to build and you can perform far more without any fatigue. You should try and hold each squeeze for around ten seconds or so before releasing – ten sets of three times a day is a great target to go for in the early days. For example, you can do sets after waking up, while watching TV and the last set before going to bed.
How Long to Do It
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel any benefit whatsoever for quite a while – all women respond differently to kegels. On average, you’ll need to keep at it for at least six weeks or so before you start feeling any real difference, but once you do you’ll be glad you made the effort. And as you’d like to hold onto your vagina’s health for as long as possible, consider kegels and exercise for life!
Watch a video for postpartum kegel exercises: