7 things that might happen to your vagina after giving birth

If becoming a parent is on your life to-do list, and for you having a kid means giving birth to it, then it’s only right that we reiterate what that lies ahead, namely all the things that can happen to your vagina after giving birth.

Don’t consider this a deterrent from bearing children, though. Your body is totally equipped to handle the act of giving birth. Just understand that like the rest of your body, your vagina could continue to undergo some pretty extraordinary changes long after the deed is done.

The area down there can transform so drastically that you might believe your vagina is irreparably broken after childbirth, when in reality, it’s just been through something major (bringing humans into the world is a pretty big friggin’ deal, ya know), and just needs some time to recover.

While many parents assure us that children are wonderful, beautiful blessings for our future, the fact is that some things that happen post childbirth would leave even the bravest, strongest vagina quaking in its boots. (OK, vaginas don’t wear boots, but honestly, they deserve boots. All the cutest boots for vaginas, which are miraculous and awesome.)

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1Your vagina becomes looser.

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Due to all the stretching required to provide an exit route for the baby, the post-birth vagina can appear wider (because it is). While the vagina won’t likely return to its exact previous shape (no big deal because guess what — basically everything that happens to human bodies changes them a little over time), doing routine Kegel exercises can help tone loosened vaginal muscles.

2Sex might become painful.

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Even after waiting for up to six weeks for the vagina to completely heal, having sex after giving birth can still be painful for a number of reasons.

According to Today’s Parent, pain during postpartum sex can be caused by scarring or may even be an indicator that tissue is healing improperly. Baharak Amir-Wornell, a Halifax OB/GYN and pelvic-floor surgeon, says,

"A lot of women suffer in silence, but they need to be advocates for themselves, even if their healthcare providers aren't asking the right questions."

3Vaginal dryness.

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The culprit of a drier vagina after birth could be lower levels of estrogen caused by breastfeeding. Unlike the shape of the vagina, this condition tends to dissipate once the mother stops breastfeeding and begins having periods again. In the meantime, a vag in the midst of postpartum dryness can be easily remedied with the use of a lubricant. Science is amazing, y’all.

4You might require stitches.

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No one wants to envision their lady bits being sliced and stitched together again, but that very real (and painful) scenario often comes with the territory of pushing out a tiny human. These small lacerations  — known as postpartum vaginal and perineal tears — can happen to anyone who delivers vaginally or goes through an extended period of pushing before having a cesarean section.

Some tears require stitches (ouch!), and the site of the wound can take a few weeks to heal and become completely pain-free.

5 And it could also develop bruises.

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So obviously this is getting worse by the second, but we’ve gotta give it to you straight. During labor and delivery, the vaginal walls endure a ton of pressure, prodding and stretching to get those precious babies out of the womb and into the world. But just because they’re specifically constructed for childbirth doesn’t mean they come out of the process unscathed.

Many new moms experience vaginal bruising after labor, which can cause ordinary activities like peeing or sitting to become extremely painful.

6Expect ongoing bleeding.

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Before they can become adjusted to dealing with a newborn’s bodily fluids, new moms also have to deal with some extra clean-up duty of their own (and a whole lot of postpartum mesh undies). As Parents.com reports, postpartum bleeding is a natural part of the post-pregnancy healing process that comes from the shedding of the uterine lining and the site of the placenta attachment.

7 Peeing becomes more complicated.

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Chrissy Teigen warned you: Peeing after giving birth can’t always be done in a dignified manner. New moms healing from vaginal and perineal tears use irrigation bottles to clean the vaginal area, instead of irritating the wounded areas by wiping with toilet tissue.

The odds of you not recognizing your vagina immediately after childbirth are pretty high, but if you’re prepared for what goes on down there after bringing a baby into this world, you might be a little less frightened and more impressed by the unrecognizable body part staring back up at you.