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Have you looked at the last few chapters of that pregnancy book you are reading? Or are you scared to? You know the one- the one allllllllllll about labor. You may be excited to get the baby out of you and off of your bladder, but may be nervous of, well, him actually coming OUT of you. No woman can blame you!
Given all of the events that happen during labor to your body, there is no wonder that your vagina will change after giving birth. Are you wondering what will happen? While I can’t help you feel what it is like, I can help you understand some of those changes!
5 Things That Happen To Your Vagina After A Baby:
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Is this a question? You will definitely have soreness, tenderness, and swelling after having a baby. Pro Tip: DO NOT LOOK AT IT RIGHT AFTER. It isn’t a pretty picture. However, pain and tenderness are common, especially if you had an episiotomy or stitches.
How To Deal With Perineal Pain:
- I literally cannot oversell these cold packs. The nurse gave them to me in the hospital, and they felt so nice and helped ease the swelling!
- Ibuprofen. These can take away swelling and provide moderate pain relief. (Make sure to follow your doctor’s direction before taking anything though!)
- Keep it clean. This may seem obvious, but you want to avoid infection at all costs! This means keeping the perineum clean. You can use a special bottle called the perennial bottle. Make sure the water isn’t too hot! Also, pat dry after using the washroom not wiping just yet. This helps minimize any irritation.
- Some also recommend sitting in shallow baths or using sitz baths. This can help with irritation and promote healing.
- Limit the amount of time you spend sitting. I know, I know, you’re exhausted. But it helps!
Did you enjoy 9 months of no periods? That ends here. You will bleed, at least for the first few days after labor. Your body naturally flushes any extra blood and other tissue from the baby and from birth, so especially for the first week to ten days, you will have bleeding. You will begin heavier, then taper off to spotting, then stop.
How to Deal With Bleeding:
- Wear pads, or absorbing underwear. I recommend the underwear for the first few days since it is heavier. I didn’t want to because I thought it was “gross” but then I sneezed that night and blood went everywhere. The underwear would’ve prevented that. After that I conceded.
- Pay attention to how much you bleed. If you notice it doesn’t begin to taper, or you start passing clots the size of a quarter or bigger, make sure to call your doctor.
- Never use tampons after birth. This can cause infections.
Sorry to say, it doesn’t smell like roses. The PH and everything are adjusting after birth, so you may have a different smell. If it starts to smell fishy, you may have an infection so talk to your doctor.
How To Deal With Smell:
- Keep the vagina clean. Do not douche, or use any other products. Keep it clean by bathing regularly. To quote Dr. Masterson: “The Vagina Is A Self Cleaning Oven.” Just pay attention to signs of possible infection.
Pain During Sex:
There is a reason to listen to the doctors about waiting six weeks to have sex. This allows heal time and reduces the risk of infection. However, once those activities resume, you may notice more pain. This is because of the abuse it took during childbirth, granulation scarring and soreness from stitches. This can also be caused by vaginal dryness.
How To Deal With Pain During Sex:
- Take it slow, baby. Take your time when having sex.
- Use lots of lubrication.
- Know when to mention it to your doctor.
Dryness happens mainly because of hormone shifts after giving birth and a lack of lubrication because breastfeeding is bringing down your estrogen levels even more. This can accentuate the pain during sex.
How To Deal With Vaginal Dryness:
- Give time for your hormones to settle.
- Drink lots of water.
- Avoid douches and scented products
- Talk to your doctor about a moisturizer or an estrogen vaginal cream.
How did you find postpartum recovery? Is there anything you wish you knew before giving birth? Comment below!