OK, it's not like you're a biology expert or anything, but eight pounds of flesh is supposed to be coming out of that in a few months? It just seems a bit . . . baffling. And sometimes mildly terrifying. How exactly does this work? Does your vagina stretch during pregnancy, making things a little more roomy come delivery time? Well, not exactly.
In an interview with Romper, Deena Blumenfeld, founder of Shining Light Prenatal Education in Pittsburgh, says that the vagina and pelvic floor actually stretch and contract more often than we realize, even when you aren't pregnant. Sexual activity, for instance, signals to the vagina to stretch to accommodate a penis. Blumenfeld clarifies that pregnancy in and of itself does not cause the vagina to stretch, but vaginal stretching does happen during the process of childbirth.
So basically, nature has given your vagina the ability to change shape in necessary circumstances. (Yes it really is as badass as it sounds. You can go ahead and file it under "female superpower.") That also means, Blumenfeld explains, that our anatomy is designed to return to its pre-pregnancy size and shape after the process of childbirth recovery is complete.
The exception to this, Blumenfeld notes, is in the case of tearing or episiotomy, since the stitching and healing can sometimes change a particular spot due to scar tissue.
If you're concerned about tearing, you might want to start a daily perineal massage about a month out from your due date, according to Parents. Massaging the base of your vagina with oil for 10 to 15 minutes a day has been shown to soften the tissue and decrease your chance of tearing. There are no guarantees that it will work, but it doesn't hurt to try.
Your body does some pretty amazing things during pregnancy, but your vagina stretching isn't one of them. Trust mother nature that she knows how to do her thing; you'll always open up when the time is right.