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Your body experiences a whole lot of changes not just during pregnancy, but post-delivery as well. Let’s break it to you — a lot of the changes are related to your vagina. To be honest, it should not come across as shocking, because if you are delivering a baby, your body is bound to go through several changes.
It’s important to note that the vaginal changes are not just limited to widening of the area, but there’s more to it. Yes, you heard it right! There’s a lot happening down there, and you won’t be aware of what’s going on, unless you speak with an expert about it, or notice symptoms yourself. Now, there might be endless questions that could be floating in your mind, about how your vagina will fare after the delivery. That’s one of the biggest reasons why you can’t take your vaginal health for granted, postpartum or otherwise.
According to Dr Madhuri Burande Laha, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharadi, your vagina can handle the pressure, as it is resilient. But remember, it does take a year to go back to its pre-birth state, and it may not be the same again. You will be eager to know what happens down there, right? You may want to know if your vagina bleeds, or has lost elasticity, or how long is going to hurt down there?
Relax ladies, today we are going to get answers for each of these questions.
Once you deliver a baby, there will be postpartum bleeding for up to six weeks. You will be shocked to know that there will be heavy bleeding, and the blood will be bright red in color for the first 10 days. You may also spot some small clots during the first three days. You must not panic after seeing these clots, as it is normal for your body to shed the extra tissue and blood from your uterus (this discharge is called lochia). The bleeding will then slow down after 10 days, and you will continue to bleed lightly or spot for about six weeks, after you give birth vaginally or via C-section.
“Now, you won’t have any idea about how sore your vagina will be. Many women may have a tear around the vaginal opening. Depending on the severity of the tear, your vagina could be sore for several weeks. In some cases, even surgery may be required to repair the damage caused to the vagina. Even if the vagina doesn’t tear, one will be left with a bruised perineum,” suggests Dr Laha.
There will be involution, as you will experience cramps after your uterus goes back to its pre-baby size. For many first-time mothers, the pain is negligible. Did you know? There will be intense pain after subsequent births, as the uterus muscles have been compromised. Hence, this problem can be addressed with a warm compress or any medication prescribed by a doctor. Don’t worry, the pain will vanish in a few days.
Yes, your vagina becomes loose after the birth of your baby and it tends to gradually go back to normal. However, in the case of a very large baby (or if you have had many babies), it may not go back to exactly the way it was earlier. How will you know if your vagina has loosened up? Try to insert a tampon and it ends up sliding out after some time. That’s a sign that it has become wider.
When you are pregnant then levels of certain hormones, including estrogen, are coursing via your body. Then, after you give birth, your estrogen drops, which can cause vaginal dryness. If you are not breastfeeding the baby, the vaginal moisture will go back to normal within a few days.
“When you breastfeed the baby, nursing leads to low estrogen levels, which can make your vagina dry until the time you are breastfeeding. Your vagina will again get hydrated, once you stop nursing,” says Dr Laha.
So ladies, we know it is a little hard to digest but this is a part and parcel of motherhood. But if the situation goes out of hand, do consult your doctor without wasting any time.