Every labor and delivery vary from one another, so does every woman. It’s true that many women go for normal delivery, but they also have a lot of questions about the post-pregnancy changes in the vagina. One of the questions that often pops up is how labor and delivery will affect your vagina after birth. The first thing to expect after a normal delivery is the way your vagina will change. Knowing what to expect will put your mind at ease. So, let’s find out everything about vaginal changes after normal delivery
HealthShots connected with Dr Nirmala M, Consultant Obstetrician, Gynaecologist and Fertility Specialist Motherhood Hospitals, Whitefield, Bengaluru, to know about vaginal changes after childbirth.
Ways your vagina changes after normal delivery
1. The vagina stretches
This is the most common change you will see after childbirth. The amount or extent of vaginal stretching during a delivery depends on criteria like your baby’s size, genetics, and the number of deliveries you had earlier. Turns out, each progressive birth stretches the vagina more, says Dr Nirmala (exercises for vaginal tightening). The circumstances of the birth – like how long you pushed during delivery or whether vacuum extraction was used during pregnancy – also play a vital role.
Women are likely to experience postpartum bleeding after delivery. Commonly termed as lochia, the expert says it contains mucus, white blood cells, tissue and blood. After the delivery, the womb sheds this menstrual period or mixture of fluid with tissues for the body to replace its uterine lining.
3. Vaginal dryness
Vaginal dryness can happen after childbirth due to low levels of estrogen. It may increase while breastfeeding because it suppresses estrogen (what causes vaginal dryness).
4. Urinary incontinence
Urinary incontinence is common during pregnancy and after childbirth. During the first few days after birth, new mothers may experience pain or burning while urinating. Urinary incontinence may disappear once the pelvic muscles regain strength.
5. Tender vagina
After a vaginal delivery, your vagina may begin to feel tender and uncomfortable. You may experience discomfort, soreness and bruising.
Can these vaginal changes be reversed?
Every vagina is different, so the time period for your vagina to heal may vary. There are factors which may influence the healing period for your vagina. These include multiple births and late pregnancy.
Tips to take care of vagina after childbirth
Postpartum care is extremely important for mothers and should not be neglected. During this period of adjustment and healing from the delivery process, it is essential to bond with your child and be equally transparent with your doctor.
Few tips for self-care after childbirth
1. Sufficient rest
It is important to cope with the fatigue and tiredness after delivery, so it is essential to get enough sleep.
2. Eat healthy meals
Maintaining a healthy diet is extremely crucial to ensure healing. You may add whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and protein to your diet and stay hydrated especially if you are breastfeeding.
If your doctor recommends you to exercise, you may follow kegel exercises. Keep in mind that your exercises are not strenuous.
4. A sitz bath or shallow bath
This will help to relieve vaginal pain from issues such as swelling, tear or episiotomy (a cut between the vagina and anus). New mothers can take a sitz bath with warm water. A sitz bath increases blood flow to the area, reduces inflammation, and repairs the tissues faster, says the expert.
5. Use a spray bottle
Postpartum experience is often accompanied with swelling, abrasions, lacerations, and even stitches. A small handheld plastic squirt bottle can assure some comfort and soothe the tender tissues. Simply fill the bottled up with lukewarm water and spritz yourself while peeing in order to dilute the stinging urine.
Vaginal delivery puts a mother’s vagina through a lot of trauma, so taking care of your vaginal health is important for every mom in the long run!