Giving birth is a miraculous experience that can have lasting effects on a woman’s body, particularly the vagina. The vagina undergoes significant changes during pregnancy to accommodate the expanding fetus. It may take some time for the vagina to return to its pre-pregnancy state after childbirth. This article will discuss five changes that occur to the vagina after childbirth.
Changes That Occur To The Vagina After Childbirth
1. Vaginal Swelling
After childbirth, vaginal swelling is one of the most common complications. Due to the trauma of childbirth, the vaginal region may become swollen, tender, and sore. Depending on the type of delivery and the extent of vaginal tearing or episiotomy, this swelling may persist for several days or weeks.
To reduce swelling, it is essential to maintain a clean and dry vaginal environment. Additionally, ice packs and warm compresses can provide relief from pain.
2. Orchiectomy or Episiotomy
During childbirth, the vaginal area may tear or necessitate an episiotomy, a surgical incision designed to enlarge the vaginal opening. Typically, these tears or incisions are repaired with stitches, and healing can take several weeks.
It is essential to keep the vaginal area clean and dry in order to prevent infection and promote healing. Sitting in a shallow bath or rinsing with a peri-bottle after using the restroom can also provide relief.
3. Dryness of the Genitalia
Some women may experience vaginal dryness after childbirth. This is a result of the hormonal fluctuations that occur during and after pregnancy. The drop in oestrogen levels can reduce vaginal lubrication, causing discomfort during sexual activity.
Using a water-based lubricant can help alleviate vaginal dryness by providing moisture during intercourse. Additionally, it is essential to avoid using products that can irritate the vaginal area, such as scented soaps and douches.
4. Vaginal Looseness
The vaginal muscles stretch during pregnancy and childbirth to accommodate the growing foetus and facilitate childbirth. This may result in a sensation of vaginal laxity or diminished sensation during sexual activity.
Kegel exercises can be performed to strengthen the vaginal muscles. These exercises involve contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles, which can assist in enhancing vaginal tone and sensation.
5. Sexually Transmitted Infections
The vaginal area is more susceptible to infection after childbirth. The trauma of childbirth, hormonal fluctuations, and the use of antibiotics during delivery can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina, resulting in infections such as bacterial or yeast vaginosis.
To prevent vaginal infections, it is essential to practise good hygiene, including keeping the vaginal area clean and dry. Additionally, it is crucial to avoid using products that can irritate the vaginal area, such as scented soaps and douches. In the event of an infection, prompt medical attention is necessary to avoid complications.
Childbirth is a beautiful and transformative experience that can have long-lasting effects on the body, particularly the vagina. It is important to be aware of the postpartum changes that can occur and to take steps to promote vaginal health and healing. With proper care and attention, the vagina can return to its pre-pregnancy state, allowing women to enjoy a healthy and fulfilling sexual life.
- What major changes have you experienced after pregnancy?
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