What Really Happens to Your Vagina After Birth?

The birth of a baby is a miraculous event, but you are probably wondering what your vagina will feel and look like after birth? If you are worried or simply just curious, we have tried to cover all of the questions you may have in this article (please let us know if we missed anything!).

First of all, remember that you will be looking after a baby or babies, so what may seem alarming now, may not be as bad in reality. On average, it takes around 12 weeks for your vagina to feel like it did before you gave birth (even if you have a c-section), but it can take up to a year. AND, certain things may never look or feel quite the same.

Your Vagina Might Tear or Be Cut

During childbirth, the crowning of the baby may not be sufficient to stretch your vaginal opening wide enough. This can result in a tear in the area between your vagina and anus (the perineum). Normally this is prevented by a perineal cut made by the obstetrician called an episiotomy, but sometimes it can’t be avoided.

Tearing or a cut will rarely be painful, but it may sting. Usually, a local anaesthetic is administered to numb the area unless you have had an epidural, in which case you shouldn’t feel anything. Once your baby is delivered, your tear or cut will be stitched up. This might sound scary, but if you didn’t have a local anaesthetic prior, it would be given before you are stitched up, so you won’t feel a thing.

Your Vagina Will Be Sore

Whether or not you tear or have a cut, your vagina will feel sore. After giving birth, your perineum will also feel tender as it will bruise due to stretching during vaginal delivery. If you have a perineal cut or tear, the stitches will dissolve within a couple of weeks. Stitches may feel painful, sore, and itchy while they heal. It usually takes around four to six weeks before you feel normal again in that area.

You Might Experience Urinary Incontinence

Peeing yourself unexpectedly is common after giving birth, even if you have a c-section. The most common types of incontinence are urge and stress incontinence. Stress incontinence is when you pee yourself during an activity such as running or skipping. Leaking a little when sneezing, coughing and laughing is also common.

Urinary incontinence occurs due to enlargement of the uterus during pregnancy, affecting how the bladder extends and functions. Vaginal delivery may also affect the nerves that control your bladder and urethra and can damage your pelvic floor, making it weaker. Your pelvic floor supports your uterus, bladder, and bowel; when it becomes weaker, you are more likely to have urge or stress incontinence. All this can lead to leaks at inopportune moments, like while walking, jumping, and laughing.

To strengthen your pelvic floor, you can do kegel exercises. But, if you just can’t manage to do enough kegel exercises or find them difficult, you might want to consider a revolutionary new, clinically proven treatment. The Emsella treatment or Emsella chair is a breakthrough treatment for urge and stress incontinence. All you do is sit in the chair fully dressed and high-intensity focused electromagnetic energy (HIFEM) stimulates thousands of pelvic floor muscle contractions in just one 28-minute session.

We spoke with Louise White, a leading women’s health expert and the Founder of Body Lipo Lincoln, a medically led aesthetic clinic.

“As a mother who experienced urinary incontinence after the birth of my baby, I know how distressing it can be. This is why I was one of the first clinics to offer the Emsella treatment in Lincoln, after personally experiencing no more leaks after just six sessions.”

Your Orgasms Might Be Weaker

When you feel ready to have sex (you should wait at least six weeks), you may feel your orgasms are not as powerful. This can be due to a combination of stretching of the vagina and weaker pelvic floor muscles. Yes, the same ones that can make you pee yourself during sex. You should find that after some time if you keep practising kegel exercises, your orgasm should feel just as powerful as they were, before giving birth.

Your Vagina Might Be Dry if You Breastfeed

If you breastfeed, your vagina might be dry due to lower oestrogen levels. Your vaginal moisture should return when you stop breastfeeding. The good news is that oxytocin is released when breastfeeding, which causes the uterus to contract and may help prevent urinary incontinence.

With so many lubes on the market, including some fantastic flavours, why not have some fun and make sex more enjoyable? You can also use vaginal lubricants or moisturisers during the day if vaginal dryness is making you feel uncomfortable. If you are experiencing severe discomfort or pain, speak to your doctor about vaginal oestrogen cream, which does not have the same risks as HRT.

Your Vulva and Labia Might Be a Different Colour

Your vulva, labia, and perineum may change colour. This is more likely with vaginal delivery, especially if you had a big tear. You might see patches of darker pigmentation and your labia minora (inner lips of the vulva) can look bigger or may hang lower. Changes in colour and shape are not always permanent, but if it bothers you, you might want to consider speaking to a plastic surgeon about female genital reshaping or labiaplasty.

Before we end this article, we wanted to mention postnatal depression, a serious condition experienced by approximately 10 to 20% of women in the first 12 months after having a baby. When your  “baby blues” last over two weeks after giving birth, this could be a sign you have postnatal depression. It is natural to feel afraid if you think you could have postnatal depression, but with treatment, you are likely to feel normal again relatively quickly.

For more advice and help, speak to your midwife or doctor. The NHS website also lists organisations below for support and help with postnatal depression.

 

Association for Post Natal Illness (APNI)

Pre and Postnatal Depression Advice and Support (PANDAS)

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