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Home / Pregnancy

Understanding your miss V after birth

 Miss V will go through a number of changes but there is no need to panic (Image: Shutterstock)

So much happens in a woman’s body when she is expecting as it prepares for the unborn baby and it doesn’t end there.

Once the baby comes vaginally after hours of labor, what happens next is an ordeal many mothers would rather put behind their backs.

One lingering question that is always on the minds of new mothers especially is whether the vagina will go back to its normal size. The idea of pushing a small human out of that small hole sounds like a nightmare. That however should not scare or discourage you.

Why?

Because it is resilient and it is made for it. It can stretch enough to accommodate the little head which is about the size of a cantaloupe and truth be told as it squeezes through, you may experience a perineal tearing.

And depending on the severity, you may need some stitches. With that, coughing, sneezing or even having a bowel movement may cause some pain and discomfort.

But every woman’s experience is different. Here are some of the things your vagina goes through after child birth:

 Pain after child birth is normal and it will heal with time (Image: Shutterstock)
  • You will be sore

If you gave birth vaginally you will experience some soreness, bruising and discomfort after delivery. This may still happen despite your perineum not tearing because it has been stretched.

Any pressure or weight applied to your lower body may cause some pain. Simple things like coughing and sitting down may be difficult for a few days but the pain will lessen as the days go by. The discomfort and pain may last anywhere between three and six weeks depending on the severity.

  • Expect some stretching

To give way for the baby, your pelvic floor muscles will stretch up to three times more than their usual to allow for passage through the birth canal.

But as i mentioned, your vagina is designed to take it. And usually after child birth it shrinks back to its previous state.

However, depending on how big the baby was, complications, how the baby was delivered and how many times you have given birth, this may cause your vagina to be looser. Test this with a tampon and if it slides out over time take that as a clear indicator your vagina has become slightly wider.

With your doctor’s guidance, you can strengthen your pelvic floor with some Kegel exercises and over time it will gradually go back to normal.

 You won't be able to have sex for a couple of weeks as well (Image: Shutterstock)
  • It might tear

According to research and data collected worldwide, over 50% of vaginal births will cause some form of tearing.

Depending on how serious the tear is, you may need some surgery afterwards to repair it or some stitches. This will automatically cause some soreness that can last for up to 12 weeks.

In the event tearing does not occur, your perineum will still be bruised and there will be some discomfort.

  • You can’t have sex immediately

After childbirth, you need to give your body a break before engaging in penetrative sex. Doctors advise women to wait for about six weeks to give your vagina enough time to heal.

There is also the issue of anxiety and fear about having sex after the trauma of delivery which is quite understandable. You may also not be ready emotionally to get intimate with your partner and if this happens it may be a good idea to talk to a professional about it.

And when you do have sex again, it will not feel the same as your pelvic muscles have been stretched out.

  • Your vulva color may change

Depending on the delivery and scarred tissues, your labia and perineum may change in color and look totally different.

An increase in estrogen and progesterone will cause a rise in blood flow which may result in some pigmentation and in some cases a change in the shape due to a surge of blood. Due to retraction the labia may appear longer or hang differently.

While it may be frustrating, it is nothing to worry about. Your vagina will bounce back to normal after your hormones and blood flow are regulated.

  • Orgasms will feel different

If your pelvic muscles weakened due to childbirth, your orgasms will feel less powerful. Your vaginal muscles and uterus experience powerful rhythmic contractions during an orgasm and as the built-up tension is released you feel pleasure.

And again, this is where Kegel exercises come in handy to strengthen your pelvic floor and in no time your orgasms will have the same intensity they once had.

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