Pregnancy and childbirth do a number on your body — especially your vagina if that's how you deliver. I mean, you’re practically pushing something the size of a watermelon out of something that’s the size of a lemon. It's obviously going to stretch and change size at some point, but what about after it’s all over and you eventually go back to having your period? Does your tampon size change after pregnancy? It’s understandable to wonder if a new tampon size will be added to the list of things that have changed about your body and your life postpartum. (Ugh, just another thing you'll have to remember to pick up at the grocery store.)
I asked Dr. Idries Abdur-Rahman, OB-GYN and one-half of the Twin Doctors for TwinDoctorsTV, and he says your tampon size can absolutely change after childbirth. In fact, it can "and likely will change multiple times over a woman's lifetime," according to Idries. "The vagina is primarily lined by two layers — the deeper muscle layer and the mucosal (or skin) layer that lines the vagina. The strength of the muscle layer (vaginal and pelvic) can be affected by multiple things, including time, gravity, exercise habits, obesity, pregnancy, and childbirth."
But when it comes specifically to the postpartum change, Idries says that the "hormones of pregnancy will make the vaginal and pelvic muscles relax during pregnancy and childbirth to accommodate the growing uterus and the baby during delivery. Like muscles in other parts of the body, the degree to which the pelvic and vaginal muscles return to their pre-pregnancy strength will vary person to person." Basically, some women may notice a change, some may notice after delivering several children, and some may notice after their very first.
If you're curious as to how your tampon size may change, Idries says that most women feel like they need a bigger tampon after having a baby, but "women who had a vaginal laceration during delivery sometimes need a smaller tampon because the scarring actually reduces the vaginal caliber."
But your tampon size may eventually change back to your original pre-pregnancy size, too. Dr. Jamil Abdur-Rahman, the other half of the Twin Doctors for Twin DoctorsTV, says that the levels of relaxin subside after you give birth, and your pelvic floor muscle tone can build back up. If you breastfeed, all your monthly hormones come back once you wean, too, and they help to "build up the muscles of the pelvic floor that support the vagina." Kegels can also improve your tone. (And bonus: those can be done literally anywhere at any time.)
So chalk this change up to just another normal thing that can happen after giving birth. You don't have to run out immediately to buy different sizes, but if you feel like something's changed, don't be alarmed. Your vagina's an incredibly powerful body part, and your body goes through some major transitions once you're postpartum. Just trust the process, and talk to your doctor if you think your pelvic floor muscles need more repair than you can manage.