Vaginas are the coolest. They bring you pleasure, birth babies, and sometimes write monologues. During pregnancy, all the emphasis is on the baby and the uterus, and the vagina's starring roles are usually limited to conception and birth. But while you're paying more attention to your uterus, your vagina may decide to do its own thing. You may want to know what your vagina is doing behind your back, like does the vagina get bigger during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, your vagina can go through a number of changes due to increased blood flow and hormonal fluctuations. These vaginal debuts include increased odor, susceptibility to urinary tract infections and yeast infections, and increased discharge and sensitivity. Sounds glam.
But is that all your vagina does? Romper spoke with Dr. Amy L. Gilliland, Approved Doula Trainer and Doula Research Fellow, at UW Madison Center for Child and Family Well Being, to see if size plays a part in vaginal changes.
Turns out, your vagina's size stays pretty much the same. Gilliland says the size of the vagina does not change during pregnancy, but that it does respond to pregnancy hormones and increased blood flow. According to her, a person’s blood volume increases by 20 percent during pregnancy, which means there is a lot more fluid being pumped through the circulatory system. She adds that mucous membranes in the body tend to become swollen as the pregnancy progresses, too. "So pregnant people are more likely to experience genital swelling, including the vagina, and more mucus production," Gilliland says. But there are times when the vagina can actually grow in length.
"The vagina does increase in length during sexual arousal," she notes. "The usual size of a non-menopausal person’s vagina is about 3 to 4 inches in an unaroused state, and can lengthen to 5 to 6 inches in an aroused state."
She adds that for intercourse with a larger penis, the vagina can stretch further if it wants to. Gilliland says, however, that increased genital swelling due to higher blood circulation does not mean that the vagina has gotten larger as a result, and that a person would need to be sexually aroused for that to occur.
"As pregnancy progresses, the growing baby does put pressure on all the internal organs, squishing them and causing them to redistribute their location in the body," Gilliland notes. "So the bladder and rectum can’t handle as much volume as they used to, but the vagina stays about the same."
So your vagina is creating all kinds of new smells and textures during your pregnancy, but getting bigger isn't one of them, unless you're aroused — which means you might be paying attention to your lonely star after all. And trust me, if you can even see your vagina at this point in pregnancy, consider yourself lucky.