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How Does Vaginismus Affect Birth?

Depression. Anxiety. Fear. All mothers-to-be experience some form of these feelings, but for women with vaginismus, the thought of a vaginal delivery can be downright debilitating. If you are a woman who suffers from spasms in her pelvic floor muscles and you're expecting, you're probably tormented by the question, how will vaginismus affect birth?

According to, between one and 17 percent of women worldwide have vaginismus. Because part of the affliction includes literal paralysis, health professionals on the website All Nurses speculate that many cases of vaginismus go unreported, so it might be more common than you think.

Because of the involuntary spasms in your pelvic floor, vaginismus makes vaginal penetration nearly impossible, noted However, psychological counseling coupled with pelvic floor control exercises and dilation training can alleviate pain associated with vaginismus, making vaginal penetration a possibility. With this in mind, let's say you've completed your dilation therapy and have not only graduated to penetration by a penis, but that penetration resulted in the conception of a baby. Firstly, congratulations. Secondly, you're not alone.

An XOJane article penned by a woman with vaginismus wrote, "It took years of physical and emotional therapy, but I was eventually able to have intercourse with my now-husband." And then she got pregnant, and began to wonder how on earth she'd be able to deliver a baby vaginally.

Her doctor recommended an epidural as soon as she checked into the hospital. "Having the pelvic exams with the epidural in was actually kind of awesome," she wrote. "I could feel the nurses and doctor when they were doing the exam, but it didn’t hurt and I didn’t tense up.

It turned out there were complications with her labor, and she had to have a C-section. However, the takeaway from her essay was, "vaginismus did affect my birth story, but it didn’t define it." That's a pretty astute comment about dealing with all obstacles in life, no?

Perusing the message boards at Baby and Bump, there are many women out there who have vaginismus and want a vaginal birth. Use of an epidural to counter the involuntary tensing of muscles seems to be the most common plan of action. Also evident in messages from these women is the bravery in their decisions, and the support they lend one another. I think a lez do this is in order.