Your vagina may dry out for a bit.
When you’re pregnant, elevated levels of certain hormones, including estrogen, are coursing through your body. Then, after you give birth, your estrogen drops, which can cause trouble for your vagina.
In the meantime, using lube can help relieve discomfort during sex. This soreness can also rear its head when you’re not having sex, though. If you’re dealing with intense, painful postpartum vaginal dryness, ask your doctor about vaginal lubricants or moisturizers made specifically to address this issue. Depending on your situation, they may have OTC recommendations. They may also prescribe estrogen (it comes in various forms, including some you put directly into the vagina) to help increase your vaginal moisture, says the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Your vagina (and possibly perineum) will be sore as hell.
- Your perineum is the area between your vagina and anus. Though it’s not specifically a part of your vagina, it can also tear during a vaginal delivery.
- First-degree tears only involve the skin around the vaginal opening or the perineal skin, according to the Mayo Clinic, and they may or may not need stitches. These typically heal within four weeks, Dr. Shepherd says.
- Second-degree tears involve damage to the perineal muscles, which help support the uterus, bladder, and rectum, and usually require stitches, Mayo Clinic. Dr. Shepherd notes that these also tend to heal within four weeks.
- Third-degree tears are lacerations of the perineal muscles and the muscle around the anus. Unlike the less serious tears, these may require surgical repair in an operating room, not the delivery room. These can take up to 12 weeks to heal.
- Fourth-degree tears, which affect the perineal muscles, muscles around the anus, and the tissue lining the rectum, are the most serious.
You could have some scar tissue that could make sex uncomfortable for a bit.
If you had a tear or episiotomy after a vaginal delivery, you’re probably going to have some scar tissue in your vagina and on your perineum afterwards. Unfortunately, even the thought of having sex after this might make you wince.
Your period may get heavier—or lighter.
Being pregnant throws your hormones out of whack, and your body has to reset after your baby has vacated the premises. This even applies to your uterine lining, which builds up before you get your period.
Your body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy: your vagina, abdomen, breasts, skin, and hair can all look and feel different during and after pregnancy and birth. Growing an entire human being isn’t always easy, and your body will change as a result.
Post-Pregnancy Vagina Concerns
Your vagina is a structure that is inside your body. Anything that you see on the outside, including your labia (the folds or “lips”), clitoris, and mons pubis (the mound where pubic hair grows) are parts of the vulva, not the vagina. The vaginal opening is where menstrual blood passes and the baby comes out during delivery.
One study found that 91.3% of women reported some kind of sexual problem after having a baby. The reasons can range from sleep disruptions from the baby to how a woman feels about her vagina to penis. The nerves in the pelvis can also be damaged or changed during the pregnancy and delivery process.