When giving birth, the cervix and birth canal (vagina) stretch to let baby come through. This can sometimes cause a tear in the perineum (skin between vagina and the anus). Following childbirth, many women feel the vagina is too loose and dry. They may also experience pain in the perineum and/or during sex. This raises the question: can your vagina go back to normal after birth?
Does Your Vagina Go Back to Normal After Birth?
There is no straightforward answer. It depends on a number of factors, including your body size, genetic makeup, number of births and your commitment to doing Kegel exercises.
The vagina is very versatile. It has the ability to stretch several times of its normal size when giving birth, and yet it goes back to its pre-birth shape. Going back to the exact state it was in before birth may not be practical. However, with time, it regains its shape and muscle tone. This can be aided by exercises directed at vaginal muscles, such as Kegel exercises.
Concerning how the vagina will function during sex following delivery, there is minimal difference or pain for most women. But doctors advise that you abstain from sex for at least six weeks after childbirth to allow for vaginal healing. Getting back to normal may, however, take longer, sometimes six months or even one year. It is important that you listen to your body as every individual is different.
Other Mothers' Experiences
In my case, I have had 3 kids and it is still tight. Very tight! In fact when we have sex, my man can’t believe it. So, don’t take any crap sister. It’s up to how your body is, because people’s blessings are different.
Does your vagina go back to normal after birth? Of course! I had forceps delivery and an episiotomy. But when the stitches and swelling were gone, I can say, everything got back to normal. I was very worried at the time, but it doesn’t seem like a big deal. Not too bad, plus it has no lasting effect. I also did Kegels on-off and got great control of everything down there.
How to Restore Your Vagina After Child Birth
The following vaginal problems are common after delivery; learn how to improve your condition.
1. Wider Vagina
Gynecologists say your vagina may appear wider than before. It may also feel more open, looser and softer. You may even have a bruised or swollen feeling. All these are normal and most of them begin to go away within weeks after delivery. In case you are anxious, consult your doctor.
Many gynecologists recommend Kegel exercises to help tone pelvic floor and vaginal muscles. Besides helping your vagina get back to shape, Kegels make sex feel better. They also help prevent urine leakage (incontinence). Many women experience incontinence following delivery.
No special equipment or location is needed to do Kegel exercises. You can do the exercises when doing other things such as watching TV, washing or queuing at the supermarket. Do the pelvic floor exercises as follows:
- Squeeze your anal and vaginal muscles, pulling the anus and vagina upwards.
- Hold briefly and then release.
- Repeat the squeezing and releasing, holding for up to 10 seconds at a time before releasing.
- Repeat the sequence 10 times, up to four or six times daily.
2. Dryness in the Vagina
Does your vagina go back to normal after birth? It has been answered. Following childbirth, your vagina may feel drier than normal. This is the result of lower estrogen levels compared to the pregnancy period. Breastfeeding mothers typically have lower levels of estrogen compared to their non-breastfeeding counterparts. This can cause more dryness. The condition will improve once you stop breastfeeding and soon your estrogen levels will get back to the levels before pregnancy.
In case you’ve resumed having sex and the dryness is a problem, you can buy a lubricant at a supermarket, a pharmacy or online. If you and your partner are using latex condoms, avoid oil-based lubricants, lotions and moisturizers as these may react with the condom and cause it to tear.
It is important that you involve your partner in these problems so that you resolve them together. In the event that the dryness makes you anxious, consult your doctor or healthcare provider.
3. Soreness and Stitches in the Perineum
You may have pain or feel sore in the vaginal area after childbirth. This is normal and improves as the area heals. It may take 6 to 12 weeks to get back to normal.
If you had a perineum tear or underwent an episiotomy during childbirth, you will receive stitches to sew it up. This can cause pain and you may need painkillers. If you are breastfeeding, avoid over-the-counter painkillers until after consulting your doctor, midwife or healthcare provider.
You should also keep the perineal region clean by observing the following:
- Wash your hands every time you change your pads.
- Change your sanitary pads as often as necessary.
- Bathe or shower at least once daily.
Consult your doctor in case you feel that the stitches are not healing properly. You need to do this if you are experiencing discomfort, too much pain or there is a smell.
Be aware that a scar might remain after healing. But, does your vagina go back to normal after birth? With proper care and the absence of genetic problems, it generally does.