The After Childbirth Vagina Monologues & Maintaining A Tight And Healthy Pelvic Floor (Severe TMI Warning)
My vaginally born twins are 30 months, 3 weeks, and 4 days old
(If you aren’t one to be able to handle vagina talk, humor, and all things TMI with a woman’s body..step away from this page now. If not..enjoy and you just might learn something to put your mind at ease!)
1st time moms may fear it, growing up some women hear it. Young men might talk about it, and the buzz that secretly surrounds it. But what is the truth, the real truth about the vagina after childbirth? There is much ‘silent’ yet verbal controversy, and here you find one proud mommy who is not afraid to shout out about this ‘taboo’ topic.
Some will agree, some will disagree. Some will agree to disagree and that is all ok. However, should there be any expected changes in the lower half of a woman’s body after baby? Well, as a woman who has had 5 full term infants emerged from her own ‘love canal’.. might I add two breech by the way. I can speak from my experience and other moms I have put on the spot about it.
My thoughts and some factoids
1) The vagina is a muscle
It can stretch and be stretched and is meant for such purpose. God knew what he was doing. Muscles surround the entire pelvic floor (as shown above.)
2) The male adage of throwing a hot dog down a hall way is complete BS. Women come in all shapes and sizes. Yes, even down there!
Some are simply born with more elastic vaginas than others, just as some are born with more elastic skin in other aeras of the body. That does not have to do with childbirth. Perhaps, these men complaining are the ones with the shortcoming, but that’s just my own sentiment. Ok..we will get more serious further down below.
3) Not have an episiotomy or having one causes looseness (or whatever you have ‘heard’)
I was one who once believed this, and have found it to be untrue in my case and others I have questioned. Some hear it one way some hear it the other. I thought NOT having an episiotomy would lead to looseness. I remember quite clearly after my 1st born and then my second born not long after saying, ”Stitch it up nice and tight for him doc. And for me to.” (You bet-ya, I did say it.)
While it can be stitched up more so, I am assuming, everything eventually falls into place, much like how you lose that painful tightness after losing you virginity over time. In the beginning you have to ‘break the vagina in’ so to speak. It may be somewhat painful (if you try and remember back. I certainly can). But then I feel that the vagina eventually gets to it’s final size, much like your height does, and pretty much stops there. (Keep reading.)
With my 3rd, the doctor said I did not need to be cut and he could massage the area and I would be able to stretch. I was fearful. I’d rather be cut and repaired than to tear. I thought the cuts were the reason my vagina went back to where it was prior. I had my 3rd without a single abrasion. Man was that recovery ever smooth. I was scared that that time that the tightness would be compromised.
I had hub drink some wine one night when we made our first postpartum attempt. I had a couple of glasses myself in case I heard the worst. (And you know I was asking. More like hardcore grilling to be perfectly honest.) He was pleasantly surprised that after all of my whining starting to make him believe that my fears might have merit..my vagina was nice, tight, and outta sight! (That’s basically what he said…in some form.)
(I must add that in my mid-late last trimester I drank Red Raspberry Leaf Tea daily. I believed it helped aid in my smooth delivery, shorter pushing phase, I even had a FAR shorter labor. It supposedly helps tone the uterus, and I believe it. Make sure it says LEAF on the box as there are two kinds of such named tea.)
I thought with the twins a vaginal birth, especially with a breech would require the cut down under, and I was fine with that. I worried more so when I realized they were NOT going to wait for baby B to make her way head down and the doc said ‘HELLO’ up inside of my whoo-ha. I wasn’t thinking too much about the pain (no epidural there) but more about , ”My poor, poor uni.” It was unbelievable to me that I managed to birth both without so much as an abrasion. Granted they were smaller than my others by a bit, but that big man hand had me concerned.
(Again let me add…I had Red Raspberry Leaf Tea and Evening Primrose Oil in the 3rd trimester also. I did my kegels throughout the pregnancy and during the postpartum period. It was another super smooth labor and the shortest one ever, might I add.)
6 weeks later….despite my dark fears once more, hub was in and shed no tears. My husband assures me to this day, and I’ve had him on lie detector. (The Shelly kind. More accurate than any machine could ever be.) That my vagina is as tight as the day we met, and that his ex who had never once bore a child was loose as a goose. (His words, not mine.) This again proves that you don’t have to birth children to have a less taut vagina. (Hub is quite nicely endowed to.) I told you not to read this if you couldn’t handle it .
4) Kegels can work on all women to some degree no matter postpartum or childless
This is true. (In fact, I think most exercise that works out the lower body helps a bit on pelvic floor muscles as well, but do target those specific muscles most especially.)
Like any muscle that has been under worked..(or overworked in the case of the vagina), it helps the muscle get back to it’s best possible form by doing exercise. The only exercise for the vagina specifically are kegels. Though I have always wondered if orgasmic contractions also help tighten up the muscles to. If anyone knows this answer..do share.
The kegels are effective for women who feel like they have poor muscle tone, want to have a quicker and easier delivery, (do them during your pregnancy), may have urinary incontinence issues, or want to experience more pleasure during sex.
The only friend I know who has a small issue with urinary incontinence, and has noticed slight less muscle tone in her vagina, had a 4th degree tear that was very poorly repaired. My mother had a minimal problem with this because she had a full tear to the rectum that was not stitched up at all. So as it seems….(MOVE ON TO #5)
5) Poorly or non-repaired tears may lead to some loosening and possibly urinary incontinence.
(Other unexpected trauma during the birthing process may also cause this. Most of the time tone is regained over time.)
However, my 1st son was a very traumatic birth. Numerous fetal scalp tests, internal monitoring, also including a very scary shoulder dystocia and vacuum extraction after a 23 hour labor, and hours of pushing, and all was well ‘down under’. (It should have been a section, but the doctor dropped the ball.) He was 7 and 1/2 lbs. I have not had any 9 or 10 lb. babies. He was my largest. (Just adding to be honest and fair.)
Anyway, this is why I always said ‘cut me please’ because I’d rather that than a bad tear. Again, if this happens to you do your kegels. Don’t fall for gimmicks like the Kegelmaster 2000 and such products which I myself bought after my 1st two kids just out of fear, being single again and all. It was a huge device that made me scared it could do more damage than good. I don’t know that to be true, but doing kegels helps. You can even use your partner’s penis to practice on. See if he feels you tightening and releasing. If so, you are doing well. Keep up the good work! The harder you work, the tighter your grip will be.
Hmmm….Does genetics play a factor in vaginal size and elasticity? The world may never know. I mean who among us could ever ask our moms that question? (Or our dads for that matter 😆 .) That one we leave up to science, but so many other things are hereditary..anything is possible.
How to do your kegels and maintain a healthy pelvic floor?
Find the Pelvic Floor Muscles: In order to strengthen weakness in the pelvic floor we must first find the right muscles! This can be difficult for some women but there are various ways to figure out which muscles are involved in the pelvic floor. Try some of the following:
In any position that is comfortable, try to squeeze and lift the muscles around your vagina and anus up and in. A helpful hint is to imagine you’re trying to hold in gas. You should not feel belly, butt or thighs tighten when you try to contract your pelvic floor.
You may also want to try to visualize bringing your tail bone and pubic bone together. Though this will not actually happen, it may help you start a pelvic floor contraction.
Insert one or two fingers into the vagina and try to squeeze around them – the muscles you’re feeling coming in and around your fingers are part of your pelvic floor and this inner squeeze should feel the opposite of bearing down for a bowel movement.
If the contraction is done right, the muscles that encircle the urethra (bladder tube), vagina, and rectum should feel closed as if stopping the flow of urine or passing of stool.
No outward sign of effort should be apparent with a pelvic floor muscle contraction. In other words, doing them should be invisible to others. (You can do them ANYWHERE!)
Try using a hand-held mirror when you contract your pelvic floor muscles. You may see some minor up and in movement in and around the vagina.
Try to stop your flow of urine then let it flow again. This shouldn’t be done as an exercise (very frequently anyhow), but can help identify the pelvic floor muscles. If you can’t stop the flow of urine, your pelvic floor muscles are especially weak.
(However..I find if you have to go REALLY bad, and the stream is long and hard..you may find it very hard to stop the flow completely. You should be able to slow it though. I find this to be completely normal for pretty much any woman. Regular urinations should be able to be halted.)
You should feel your pelvic floor muscles squeezing up and in while abdominal muscles sink inward. You should not feel your belly bulge outward.
The suggestions above can help you to find and exercise your pelvic floor muscles. Exercising these muscles is critical and should be started immediately after childbirth. They will help your recovery from your pregnancy and delivery and can help for a lifetime by avoiding problems in the future.
A good plan: When you squeeze and hold your pelvic floor muscles, try to hold for a count of 5 and try counting out loud or maintaining a conversation so that you continue to breathe while doing them. Work up to holding for 10 seconds with a 5-10 second relaxation of the muscles in between. Letting go to let the muscles relax between contractions is also very important. Try to repeat this exercise at least 5 times a day.
In a nutshell..PLEASE, don’t fear so much. Relax, enjoy your pregnancy and your baby or babies to be. Your vagina will be just fine. You can throw a little bit of effort into it and assure a proper healing that both you and your partner will appreciate. In most all cases, these muscles heal and will go back to the way they once were. Give them time. Childbirth IS a trauma, but it does not mean the death of your vagina or bad sex in your future.
Sorry, I just couldn’t resist this cartoon.
(We’ll all aim towards that goal. No wait! That actually might be painful.)