The female body is truly a miracle of creation built to withstand a rapid change and grow a new life within her.
There are some changes that are visible ~ such as changes in the abdomen, breasts, skin, and, of course, pregnancy weight gain.
During pregnancy, there are also unseen changes the female body undergoes. The organs move inside the body to provide room for the growing uterus . . . joints become more flexible . . . and muscles become lax. The body produces almost 50% more body fluids, and there are also changes to the vagina and vulva.
Naturally, we are bound to ponder whether anything will ever be the same once the little guest has vacated our body. Every woman is different; and pregnancy and its effects can vary from one woman to another, as well as from your first child to the second child.
Let's examine further the changes that could affect us "down there" when we have delivered vaginally or sometimes even by C-Section.
According to Sherry Ross, M.D., an OB/GYN and Women's Health Expert and Author of “She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women's Intimate Health. Period” . . . the vagina is very resilient. This is very encouraging; and in very real timelines, a vagina can take from 12 weeks to 12 months to return to the pre-birth state . . . although realistically things may never be 100% restored.
Vaginal Dryness :
Whether we deliver vaginally or by c-section, there may be short-term changes. The vaginal dryness could be due to a drop in estrogen levels that are suppressed to facilitate the production of breast milk. Once you stop nursing, this will alleviate itself naturally and swiftly. In the meanwhile, generous amounts of lubrication during intercourse will suffice. However, if your postpartum vaginal dryness is intensely painful, please bring this up at your Doctor's visit.
If you have delivered vaginally, your vagina and perineum will be sore and therefore painful. This could be due to tearing. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that between 53 and 79 percent of vaginal deliveries will cause some kind of tearing. There are several degrees to these tears, the lesser of which would heal in about 4 weeks to that which requires surgery that would take 12 weeks to heal. Doctors would administer an incision to the perineum known as an episiotomy. This, too, will cause considerable soreness.
Vaginal Discharge :
Extracted from the postpartum body is Lochia, a combination of blood, mucus, and tissue. Usually, it will last for four to six weeks. No matter how you give birth, it is not a change in the vagina; be prepared for the postpartum effect.
Scar Tissue :
Tears and cuts may cause scar tissue to become painful. It will heal over time; before that, intercourse must be with lubrication and care. However, if there is no improvement over time and discomfort persists, discuss it with your doctor.
Heavier or Lighter Period :
Thanks to the cocktail of hormones postpartum and until equilibrium is restored, we might experience heavier or lighter flows . . . so be prepared!
Wider Vagina :
Typically, your vagina should shrink back (quite quickly) to its former self after accommodating a vaginal birth. However, there are several factors that would cause the vaginal canal to sit slightly wider. The number of vaginal deliveries or a baby with a large head circumference could cause the vagina to sit wider than before; however, there is only a "probability" this could happen, and perhaps you wouldn't even notice. This is a very normal change to your vagina.
Pelvic Floor Damage :
The muscles and tissues that hold up our uterus, bladder, and bowel could be affected during childbirth. This can cause incontinence, which will resolve itself over time; but if you are not seeing much improvement, definitely talk to your doctor to assess your options.
Orgasm Intensity :
Orgasm refers to a strong rhythmic contraction of the vagina and uterus, which is the source of pleasure. The weakening of the pelvic floor due to childbirth may cause these contractions to be less intense than before.
Vulva Discoloration :
To be expected are the pigment changes to the vulva, labia, and perineum. Owing to delivery, you will see blotches or darker pigmentation. While some of these changes could be frustrating for us to go through, keep in mind that it does not translate to anything being wrong. We, and our vagina, have undergone natural and huge changes. "She" did something quite incredible! In general, it is best to understand that your vagina's function will not change after pregnancy or delivery.
Now, how do we regain our confidence and get comfortable with our “new selves” Well, a good postpartum regime can definitely speed up the process; it will certainly make you feel more confident and help you reconnect with yourself!
What postpartum care can you implement to have you Vagina back in the pink of health?
In the first instance, caring for more immediate injuries is often the best approach. Looking after tears, episiotomies, and soreness will demand your attention. The best way to soothe immediate pain could be through ice packs, sitz baths, numbing sprays with lidocaine that you can apply until you have healed. You can also use a squeeze bottle to douse the area with warm water after using the toilet. It will serve as a great makeshift bidet, so you do not tug on your stitches and cause more pain. Pay attention to your stool and make sure you get plenty of fiber, or take a stool softener . . . it will go a long way in healing faster.
Another important factor to restoring our vagina's vitality is to do Kegel Exercises. Now, we have written a blog specifically for our REJUCATION; and you can learn more about Kegel here! Kegel's will address a spectrum of issues we discussed including incontinence and lessened orgasm intensities. On a larger scale, pelvic floor damage can be treated by simple repeated squeezing and tightening.
If you have been doing your Kegel’s regularly and you do not see an improvement, you will need to consult your OB/GYN for Pelvic Floor Therapy; or in very severe cases . . . Reparative Surgery.
As well as your overall health, we need to take a step to care for our intimate area post-childbirth. It is never too early or too late to concentrate on your intimate health. Besides, your vagina and vulva have done a lot of hard work . . . why not pamper her?
Good self-care and feminine cleansing habits will also make your vulva feel good and look great. Recommended by gynecologists, intimate area moisturizers like REJUCREAM are specifically designed to moisturize, soothe, smooth, protect, plump, and tighten the vulva, helping to reverse the effects of labor on the vulva.