Moms-to-be feel so much excitement and anticipation as they await the birth of their child. But even though pregnancy is a time of joy, it can also be a time of anxiety and fear. Childbirth is no walk in the park, and it's only natural to be nervous about what your body is about to go through both during and after labor. Many women are curious about how their bodies will recover after the ordeal. If you've found yourself wondering what happens to your vagina after a vaginal birth, don't worry— it's probably not as bad as you think.
Although a woman's body is engineered to be able to give birth to a baby, I can't help but wonder if there isn't a bit of a design flaw there. Babies are, after all, way bigger than the opening they're supposed to come out of. Fortunately, women's bodies possess some pretty astonishing powers that make a vaginal birth possible. (And, thanks to modern medicine, they also have a safe alternative that helps women and babies survive when a vaginal birth just isn't possible.)
Here are five things that will probably be going on with your vagina after birth, and what you can do to deal with them.
1. There Will Be Lots Of Bleeding
Whether you give birth vaginally or via a C-section, you can expect lots of bleeding. According to The Bump, postpartum bleeding can be like a super heavy period that last for weeks, so be sure to stock on pads and granny panties.
2. It Might Swell Up
According to Healthline, you can expect some swelling around the perineum — the area between your vagina and your anus — after giving birth. Using an ice pack can give you some relief.
3. It May Or May Not Stay Stretched Out
After your vagina stretches enough to allow your entire baby to pass through, it's only natural to wonder if that stretching is going to permanently alter the size of your vagina. According to Baby Center, there's no real way to predict what size your vagina will be after birth and whether it'll go back to its pre-baby size. But doing things like Kegel exercises when you're pregnant may help keep the muscles toned after birth.
4. It Might Be Dry
Be prepared for vaginal dryness after birth, according to Essence. Your changing hormone levels may make your lady parts dryer than normal, and postpartum stress and anxiety can also keep you from getting wet. Investing in some personal lubricant can help remedy the situation.
5. It May Leak
Pregnancy and birth put a lot of strain on the muscles that support your bladder, so it's no surprise that many women end up dealing with incontinence, or a lack of control over their bladder, after childbirth according to What To Expect. Kegels can help, but it can still take up to six months to get your bladder back under control.