Here we are.... yes lets talk about the postpartum Vagina.
I hear lots of men and women wince at the word Vagina... I quite like it. In fact me and my friends like it so much we use it as a term of endearment.
It is ultimately a body part, one that has functions predominently for evacuating small people from our bodies but also is used as a passage way for blood and mucosal tissue to leave the body as well as the more commonly sought after use pleasure.
Now unless you are a Vajazzel junkie there isn't many of us who sit down there taking in every hair, bump, lump and squishy bit, but the Vagina is a huge part of post baby. It manages to perform an almost supernatural David Blaine style trick of stretching to accommodate a baby and their *cough* tiny little heads.
What can we expect post baby? That all depends on a lot of factors, the type of delivery you have had, how long pushing went on in labour, the size of your baby, your individual muscle and tissue as well as some genetics thrown in there too.
Out of all those there aren't many that are in our limits of control.
The vagina is in basic terms an elastic tube with almost corrugated or pleated walls that are there to stretch through delivery. Childbirth can temporarily alter the size and shape of your pelvic area. It is usually safe to assume your vagina will be larger than it was before you got pregnant.
NEVER FEAR though there is one huge factor that we can control... The Pelvic Floor!
Now I love the pelvic floor I talk about it ALOT .... coming from a Pilates background I know the implications a poor pelvic floor or high tone pelvic floor can have. Both of these can lead to problems such as incontinence and unpleasurable or painful sex.
If you think you have a high tone pelvic floor where the muscles of the pelvic floor are over used you may experience symptoms such as constipation, pelvic pain, lower back pain, painful sex and a delayed start when urinating. If you have any of these we would recommend seeing a women's physiotherapist or contact us here at BabyBeats and we can point you in the right direction.
A weak pelvic floor is more likely to be present after childbirth. The muscles of the vagina wall are connected to strong sheaths of tissue running through the pelvic floor, this creates a hammock for your pelvic organs. Time to get working those pelvic floor muscles.
In time your vagina will resume to its original shape and size, or close to it!
Just like another muscle in your body this will happen faster if you exercise them.
A common question I get asked is "How do I know I am doing my Pelvic Floor exercises?"
Personally I wouldn't recommend stopping the flow of urine while on the toilet, this is a misused piece of guidance that can actually have the opposite effect and cause urinary tract infections. You can however visualise stopping the flow of urine at the same time as holding in wind. Try doing this standing or lying down, keeping your glutes (bum muscles), legs and abdomen nice and relaxed throughout. You can squeeze and hold for a few breaths, making sure you aren't holding your breath while doing the exercise.
The Sex test.... yes ok this bit is a like when you have had your baby and you get thrust a pile of leaflets including the contraception pamphlet. I am not saying jump right into the sack straight after having your baby but when you feel ready this is a fantastic way to test you are engaging your pelvic floor whilst having fun and some team work! Simple squeeze while penetrated and try and get your partner to feel it!
So in conclusion YES your vagina will change but because of its awesome ability to mould, stretch and tighten we should be ok ladies!
Please seek medical or professional help if you have any of the following
- Frequently and urgently needing to go to the toilet to pass urine and bowel motions
- Difficulty emptying your bowels or bladder
- Pain the bladder, bowel or in the lower back when exercising your pelvic floor