How Does Your Vaginal Health Change After Pregnancy?

If you’re pregnant, it’s only natural to wonder what your vagina will be like after pregnancy. After all, if you’re having a vaginal birth, it’s going to stretch a lot during delivery — and even if you’re planning on having a cesarean section, your vagina can still change as a result of hormonal fluctuations.

A lot of those changes subside (at least to some degree) in the weeks and months following delivery, of course. But for those changes that don’t fully resolve, several treatment options can help.

At Women's Pavilion of the Palm Beaches, Leroy Charles, MD, FACOG, helps women in Greenacres, Florida, feel confident and comfortable with vaginal changes after childbirth. 

Regular well-woman visits and targeted treatment options like vaginal rejuvenation can help restore vaginal health, even if you’ve given birth multiple times. Here’s a quick review of some of the changes you can expect in your vagina after your bundle of joy arrives.

Vaginal changes after pregnancy

Your vagina is — literally — designed for childbirth, so even though there will probably be some changes afterward, know that these changes are typically part of the normal process of birth and postnatal health. 

In other words, don’t spend a lot of time worrying about how your vagina will be after pregnancy — instead, focus on enjoying your pregnancy and doing all you can to relax and stay healthy.

This list provides a quick overview of some of the most common changes you might experience after pregnancy. 

Vaginal dryness

Vaginal dryness is one of the most common aftereffects of pregnancy, occurring when your estrogen level drops off after pregnancy. Estrogen helps your vagina produce natural lubricants to keep it moist and elastic.

Until your estrogen levels return to normal, you can experience symptoms of dryness, itching, or irritation. Dr. Charles can recommend over-the-counter and prescription lubricants that can help.

Loss of tonicity

Your vagina is naturally elastic, and it’s that tone that provides much of the sexual pleasure for you and for your partner. Vaginal delivery stretches your vagina, and it can take some time for your vagina to regain its natural elastic qualities. 

While your vagina will regain some of its tone, it’s not unusual for it to be a little more lax than it was prior to pregnancy. Often, though, this change is so subtle, neither you nor your partner will notice it.

Scar tissue

If your vagina isn’t able to stretch enough to accommodate the baby’s head and shoulders, you might need to have an episiotomy, a simple incision that helps the baby pass through the vaginal opening. Afterward, you might have a little scar tissue in the area. 

Typically, scar tissue causes no noticeable changes. But in the rare case that it winds up causing discomfort, it can be removed.

Urinary incontinence

Being pregnant puts a lot of pressure on your pelvic floor, a group of muscles and ligaments that support your uterus, bladder, and other structures. After pregnancy, you might find that you leak a little urine when you laugh or sneeze, or during exercise. 

In many women, this type of urinary incontinence lessens over time, especially with pelvic floor exercises, like Kegels.

Vaginal rejuvenation: A little help for your vagina

While your vagina will regain much of its pre-pregnancy tone and lubrication, some women find that issues like vaginal dryness, loss of tone, and urinary incontinence persist. That’s when vaginal rejuvenation can help. 

In this outpatient, nonsurgical treatment, Dr. Charles inserts a wand-shaped device into your vagina. The device emits steady pulses of radiofrequency energy to gently heat the vaginal tissue, stimulating blood flow and prompting the development of collagen, which helps keep your vagina firm and elastic.

Many women ignore vaginal symptoms because they feel embarrassed or because they mistakenly believe these are natural changes they just need to “live with.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. 

There are plenty of treatment options to keep your vagina healthy and reduce uncomfortable symptoms. To learn more, call our office or book an appointment online today.

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