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For something that's the most natural event in the world, childbirth really takes it out of you. Let's take a closer look at what actually happens to your vagina after baby has emerged through the 'traditional' exit.
Cry or laugh, or maybe both at the same time, and you may find you wee yourself after giving birth. 40% of new mums suffer some incontinence. It usually goes away after a few weeks when your poor battered vagina starts to pull itself together again.
About half of new mums tear or have an episiotomy during birth. You'll have stitches to manage afterwards. These can become infected, so keep a close eye on yourself.
A prolapse is when your womb, bladder or rectum is pushed into your vaginal walls. It happens to about 10% of women. You'll feel something heavy in your vagina like the world is about to fall out. Feeling hot, sweaty and panicky at this point is natural, especially if you look in the mirror and see a bulge.
When you are surviving on 4 hours of broken sleep a night, sex is not on your mind. Your partner will just have to lump it. Any suggestion of oral in the meantime may result in it being bitten off. If you do fancy a quickie, you might be thwarted by vaginal dryness.
Is there no end to these indignities?
After childbirth your vagina will not be as tight as it was, but what you may lack in virgin tightness you will make up for in sheer uninhibited naughtiness, after all if 12 nurses, 2 midwives, a surgeon and 4 medical students have seen up your lady parts whilst you cry and give birth to massive haemorrhoids, leaving the lights on for reverse cowgirl is a piece of cake.
Stop crying, you can make it better.
Pelvic floor muscles keep it all together down there. Your vagina can stretch up to 10cm to let that howling baby out, but it needs help to retract. Don't worry, you will walk again. Pelvic floor exercises often solve the majority of post-birth vaginal problems. In the days after birth you won't feel them moving much, but keep at it because they are very important. I bet there's an app you can download to help you work it out.
Use lubricant for about a year after giving birth, especially if you have an episiotomy scar - they occasionally split.
If you have stitches, wee in the bath or on a wet sponge to dilute your urine's acidity.
If the pelvic floor exercises don't do the trick, you may need an operation for a prolapse.
It'll probably depend on how big your baby is, or whether forceps or ventouse were used, as to how badly you are affected by these post birth vaginal problems. The key to recovery are your pelvic floor muscle exercises, so squeeze, squeeze and squeeze. If you can't locate them, go for a wee and then stop mid-flow. Those are the ones you need to endlessly exercise. You'll be glad you did.