The body takes a beating during pregnancy, and childbirth is the trauma that ends it all. For many women, it feels like their v breaks during the delivery and some women wonder if it will ever be repaired.
To get a baby out, the downstairs area has to stretch to unimaginable proportions. And no matter how much it stretches, that likely isn't enough, so plenty of women end up tearing or getting cut to make even more room for the baby at the birth. Moms bleed for months after birth, and they can feel so swollen and tender. It can be hard to even sit down because of the pain.
While things can go terribly wrong at the beginning, they can stay bad for months or even years afterward. It can be hard to imagine ever getting back in the groove with intimacy after childbirth, and for some, there isn't much desire to even try.
A broken v is a lot to deal with, so we've got some information that can help a mom suffering through it. And we hope that she can see the light at the end of the tunnel, even if her body is forever scarred by the birth.
Here are 15 ways the v breaks after childbirth.
15 Tearing Tragedy
Getting a baby out of the V is tough. The cervix dilates to 10 centimeters, but there is still skin along the perineum (the area between the vagina and the anus) that is in the way of the baby coming out. Plenty of moms experience the painful tearing of the skin to make room. In fact, some studies show as many as 95 percent of first-time moms experience a tear.
Some tears are more severe than others. But they all hurt. Most tears require stitches, and the number of stitches depend on the severity of the tear. While the stitches usually dissolve in a matter of weeks, the site of the tear can be sensitive for months or even years. Some women, especially those with the worst tears, can have troubles down there for what seems like forever. It can make it painful and scary to get romantic again. It feels like the vagina is broken and will never be healed again.
14 Surgical Strike
For women who are worried about their V getting ruined in childbirth, they could never imagine willingly going through it. But many doctors believe there is a way other than just allowing the V to tear. They push for an episiotomy, which is a surgical incision that creates more room for the birth. While sometimes an episiotomy can make enough room to deliver the baby safely, it still hurts the V.
And even worse, sometimes it leads to even more severe tears for the sensitive area. Having the skin already opened up can make it easier for things to just rip even more when the baby puts pressure on it. And as we said earlier, the more severe the tear, the worse the recovery — to the point that it may impact a woman her entire life. Episiotomies can have such bad impacts that many doctors have stopped doing them for fear they would break the vagina past the point of no return.
13 Leaky Pipes
The V goes through a lot during pregnancy and childbirth, and in the end it may no longer work as well as it did before going through all that trauma. Most women don't really think about that area during the day, and that's the way that it should be. But after the birth, it may have to be on their minds all the time because it could become leaky.
Plenty of women experience a little leaking in pregnancy, when the baby is sitting on the bladder and putting pressure on it. But sometimes the birth makes the leaking worse. It's known as incontinence. The urethra, the tube that goes from the bladder to the V, could be damaged to the point where some women have to wear little mini-diapers just like their babies do. Some women go through surgery or therapy to try to make things better, but for some it will never fully heal.
12 Uterine Prolapse
Ever imagine going to the bathroom and feeling something come out of your vagina? Yes, that happens to women after childbirth. It happens when the pelvic floor muscles get weak (which is a great reminder to do your kegels). The uterus ends up sinking down into the vagina and sometimes out the bottom of it. For some women, it happens after the birth, but sometimes women who have had vaginal deliveries suffer from it years and years later.
The prolapse can cause urinary issues, and it can even make it difficult to have a bowel movement. But most of all, it just feels like something is falling out of your vagina all the time. That is certainly no fun. Some women have to have a hysterectomy to take the uterus out or another type of surgery to try to put the uterus back in place. For others, they have to place a ring up there and take it out to clean it all the time. Who wants to live with their uterus out all the time?
11 Another Kind Of Prolapse
The uterus isn't the only thing that can push out after childbirth. There's also a diagnosis called V prolapse where other things start to protrude from that area of the body. It can happen to the bladder, urethra, small bladder or even the V itself. None of these are exactly good, and many of them can really kill the romance and make everyday life difficult and disgusting.
The muscles and skin in and around the vagina provides a support system to keep a lot of body parts in place, and if that gets damaged or weakened by childbirth, all kinds of things can shift and move around. It can take years or even decades to feel all the effects and get treatment, and some women experience issues their entire lives. (Are you doing your kegels right now? That may be the only way to save yourself from a lifetime of suffering.)
10 Dry Times
One of the most amazing things about a woman's body is the way that hormones can provide all the changes that are needed to conceive, carry and give birth to a baby. But those hormones can have as many drawbacks as positives. One con hits right after delivery, and it hits hard down below. The drop in estrogen after the birth dries up the vagina. That may seem good for a few weeks, since there is all kinds of discharge coming out then. But once a woman is ready to get back in action in terms of romance, that dryness can ruin the moment.
The body produces natural lubricants that make sex more pleasurable, but the vagina breaks a little after childbirth and those lubricants aren't in as plentiful a supply. Breastfeeding can dry things up even further. Sometimes things start to get better over time, but many women never get their pre-baby levels back, and that means a lot of trips to the store for some KY.
9 Swelling Saga
Right after delivery, a woman's V is going to feel so swollen. That's because of the trauma that happens, as well as because of the rush of blood to the area during labor and delivery. The vagina can feel a little numb or terribly tender, and everywhere in between. Many women feel swollen all over both during pregnancy and in the postpartum period, but right after the birth it's at its worst.
There is a reason that women put ice packs in their underwear after the birth, and that is to help with the terrible swelling that goes on down there. Some women feel better after a couple of days, and some women need the ice pack for weeks. The vagina feels terribly broken, but the truth for this section is that the swelling does go down and things will get better over time. But it can feel like it'll last a lifetime. Hang in there, mom; the vagina is broken, but the swelling will go down eventually.
8 Lots Of Lochia
Nothing makes a woman feel like her vagina is broken like blood coming out of it for weeks. But unfortunately, that's exactly what happens after she has a baby.
Right after the delivery, it makes total sense. In fact, a lot of it is blood that's coming from the trauma of the birth. A mom feels torn in two, so she expects to bleed a bit. But after the initial bleeding, the stuff coming out is actually a discharge similar to a period but hardcore. It's the lining of the uterus that thickened up to nourish the baby; once the baby is out, it has to come out too.
The lochia can range from bright red to a dark brown color, and while it is really heavy for a couple of weeks, it starts to taper off after that. For many moms, it can stick around for six to eight weeks, and it feels like it'll never go away. But eventually it will, and things won't feel quite so broken anymore.
7 Painful Period
Well, actually, it's only going to feel like it's not broken until the mom's period resumes. For some women, that can happen just a matter of days after the lochia stops, while others have the luxury of months to wait. Often, the delay is longer for women who breastfeed, but that isn't always the case. It just depends, and it's hard to predict.
When the period comes, the uterus knows just what to do, since it went through some big bad cramps during childbirth. Some women end up with monster period cramps after they have a baby. The good news is that often the period is shorter, but it is also more intense. (Just like contractions will be for baby number two.) The new, painful period will make a woman feel like her body got broken for good during childbirth, and it will never heal — at least until menopause.
6 Infection Incidence
There are lots of things that can go wrong with the urinary system after pregnancy, as we have mentioned. But after the birth, there is an increased risk of getting a urinary tract infection. That's especially true if you had a catheter in, which happens to women who have epidurals and C-sections. There are plenty of irritations that can happen in that area right after childbirth and sometimes those irritants can stick around for years.
Urinary tract infections make it painful to pee, and sometimes they can be especially bad for women who are incontinent. Painful urination, cramps in the pelvis and an uncontrollable urge to pee are already part of the postpartum game, so no woman wants to go through more of that with a urinary tract infection. But when the vagina is broken, all kinds of things can go wrong.
5 Ow La La!
After weeks of recovery, many new fathers can't wait to have some alone time with their partner. But the opposite can be true for women who have been dealing with tender, bleeding bits for weeks after childbirth. There is a lot of fear, and there is a good reason for that. Unfortunately, instead of ooh la la, it's actually ow la la for many moms.
There are many reasons why sex can be painful after childbirth, and we've mentioned a few. The tearing can take a while to heal, and the muscles can still be pretty sore. There's also the lubrication issue that can be hard for anyone but especially bad for breastfeeding moms. Sometimes it can feel like the first time, and that is usually a pretty painful and difficult experience. Even thinking about getting in the groove can make a woman wonder if her vagina is broken, and when she tries it she may think it will never heal. But over time, things do get better.
4 Dwindling Desire
It isn't always just the physical act of sex that can be a barrier to women after childbirth. For some, there is a big issue with having a dwindling desire to be intimate with a partner. It can happen to even the best relationships because of the stress of having a new baby, the exhaustion of round-the-clock feedings and diaper changes, and the way that women can get wrapped up in their sweet baby. Some moms lose their identity while they take on the role of mother, and it can feel like their vagina is out of commission.
Hormones, as usual, can make things worse for some women. Some don't miss the excitement, but after a while, it can be a hindrance to feeling like a woman and a wife or girlfriend. It can take a while for women to feel like themselves after they have a baby, and part of that is the return of their sex drive. It may take a while to heal, but it will happen.
3 Scar Tissue
Once things do get going again, some women can become all too aware of the things that got broken down there during childbirth. For many, things may feel different, but the stitches are gone and eventually so is the trauma. For others, though, there will always be a scar to remind them of the birth of their baby. While a C-section scar may not be so attractive in a swimsuit, a scar in the vagina can really make a woman feel less attractive if she lets it.
Scar tissue doesn't necessarily pose a problem with sex, but sometimes both partners can feel it. Some women feel self-conscious about it, which only makes it harder to feel sexy. And some experience pain along the scar for years afterward. Scars may never go away, but they do fade over time. The vagina may never completely heal, but the pain usually lessens later on.
2 Loose Ends
Everyone knows that a vagina has to get quite stretched out for a baby to make his way through. It's the nightmare that every mom-to-be imagines. And as they anticipate labor and delivery, they still worry about what will happen to their vagina and what it will look like in the end. They worry if their body will snap back, and they can be scared to death that their vagina won't either.
The truth is that childbirth usually leaves the vagina pretty roomy. That's especially true right after the delivery, when a mom can feel like she can get a bowling ball out after the baby. Things do get better in the weeks after the birth, but usually the muscles remain a little looser, no matter how many kegels a mom does. Some men joke about getting an extra stitch put in when the obstetrician is fixing up the tear, but that doesn't always do the trick, unfortunately.
1 Birth Control
There is a lot to figure out after the birth of a baby, and the body can certainly throw a new mom for a curve ball as well. In fact, avoiding baby number two can be interesting because of the changes that happen along the way. First of all, let us warn women that they can get pregnant at any point after birth. It's hard to know when a woman's period will return, and the possibility of getting pregnant starts two weeks before that. Birth control needs to be a priority as soon as possible.
Many doctors recommend that moms use intrauterine devices or IUDs. Those can be hard for women before birth, but afterward, that extra space in the vagina can serve a purpose that may mean her period is lighter or even stops (which is good since, as we've mentioned, they can be painful).
Some women have to try out several different types of birth control to find what is right after birth, and it can make her feel like her body is broken. But most women figure it out eventually, even if that means the old fashioned condoms or other methods.
Even though it may not seem like it, the vagina will eventually heal from childbirth. You might not be as good as new, but that is the sacrifice that a mom has to make.
Sources: Mayo Clinic, FitPregnancy