When you think about childbirth, it can seem like an impossible feat. But believe it or not, your vagina was actually made to stretch to accommodate your baby's head during delivery, and to return to it's normal size within a few months postpartum. Even with all of that elasticity, however, things are bound to be a little bit different down there after your baby arrives. If you have a vaginal delivery, you may be expecting some changes down there. But what happens if you have a C-section? You've probably wondered, does a C-section change my vagina?
For those who aren't familiar, WebMd defines a C-section as a surgical procedure in which the baby is delivered through the mother's abdomen. In spite of the risks associated with surgery, C-sections are becoming a more common method of delivery. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), C-sections accounted for about 32 percent of all deliveries in the United States in 2015. And it's not just for emergency reasons. Some moms-to-be may prefer the predictability of knowing when their baby will arrive. But does not having a vaginal birth mean that your vagina won't be affected by your delivery?
How your vagina is specifically affected by your delivery depends a great deal on whether or not you push during the process. As What To Expect noted, if you don't push before your procedure, your vagina will not stretch. However, if you do push before your C-section, you should expect that the baby will put pressure on your vagina and cervix — particularly if you are close to crowning. Even though the baby won't be delivered through your vagina if you give birth via C-section, you should expect some bleeding postpartum as the uterine wall heals, as The Bump mentioned. This bleeding should stop after about six weeks.
According to What To Expect, regardless of how you give birth, your doctor will advise you to wait six weeks after delivery to have sex again to be sure you are completely healed. What To Expect added that if you have experienced any stretching, Kegel exercises can help tone the muscles in your pelvic floor and help things return to as close to normal as possible. Kegels can help combat postpartum urinary incontinence as well.