Vaginal Changes After Childbirth

Young mother sitting near the cradle and holding baby's hand

After giving birth, a woman’s vagina may not remain or feel the same. It can be to the natural stretching or episiotomy (cut done by the doctor).

 

Immediately after childbirth, a woman’s vagina can feel sore and painful. It, however, improves within 6 to 12 weeks. The recovery period can further be accelerated with pelvic floor exercises.

 

Let us find out what these changes are and what can be done with them.

 

Perineum Soreness

Most women who give birth commonly complain about this, especially in some cases where there had been a skin tear and episiotomy. Painkillers can be effective in easing the pain, but maintaining proper hygiene is ultimately important.

 

Before changing sanitary napkins, a woman must wash her hands, and again after changing. Pads should be changed as soon as a woman feels the need to so. It is also important to shower every day to keep the area clean.

 

Wider Vagina

The first general change of the vagina after childbirth is that it becomes wider, looser and softer. These changes are natural reactions to all the stretching done during labour which can also, at times, cause urinary incontinence and it can also make sexual intercourse uncomfortable or painful. The swelling and bruising subside with time.

 

You can speed up the recovery phase by doing pelvic floor exercises. They do not just make intercourse better but they also help prevent urinary incontinence.

 

Dry Vagina

The second general change of the vagina following childbirth is that it becomes dry. This is absolutely normal. During pregnancy, a woman’s estrogen levels are elevated and these levels drop down after childbirth. It drops further especially in breastfeeding women, leading to vaginal dryness and uncomfortable or painful sexual intercourse.

 

Once, however, the breastfeeding phase is over and menstrual cycles are again regular, the estrogen is back to its normal or pre-pregnancy levels, assuaging the vaginal dryness.

 

Are there any changes after a C-section?

This depends primarily on whether or not a woman has been ‘pushed’ before the operation. When the baby does not make it through the opening, this will cause minimal stretching. However, some women who push before the operation still experience stretching and post-delivery discomfort.

 

Sexual intercourse and inserting of any tampons should be avoided for at least 5 weeks following the delivery. This is to prevent any kind of infection.

 

If you need help in addressing the discomfort and pain coming from your vagina, set up an appointment with Dr. Fay Weisberg today.