Despite what many people may think, it’s not just hair and skin “down there.” Vaginas are made up of an intricate system of muscles that support women throughout the many activities and experiences they have in their lives. While pregnancy and childbirth are not the only things that strain those muscles, they are definitely among the most taxing. That’s why we want to discuss what happens to the vagina before and after childbirth.
Surprise, It’s Not Just Your Vagina! Introducing...the Pelvic Floor Muscles
Before we get into the specifics, it’s important to understand the relationship between the vagina and the pelvic floor and what happens during pregnancy and birth. The belly, uterus, vagina, and vulva will be swollen and sore and will heal over six weeks. You will notice it getting a little bit better every day and the blood and discharge will start to lessen slowly over two to six weeks. If anything becomes worse over time instead of better, be it more swollen, more painful, or with even more blood and discharge, then you will want to check with your doctor.
Most of the concerns that women have after the first six weeks of healing stem from the pelvic floor muscles, which is a set of muscles underneath the bladder, uterus and anus. These muscles are what help control things like laxity, incontinence and prolapse.
3 Common Changes in the Vagina Before and After Birth
One of the most common changes that women report after birth is feeling like things are looser down there. In fact, 48% of women worry about laxity before they even get pregnant, and it’s a top concern regarding the vagina before and after birth.
Some women go as far as considering having a cesarean section to avoid it when, in reality, it’s a fixable problem, just like rebuilding any other muscle in the body. The good news is that laxity is normal, and there are steps you can take to minimize it.
Before Pregnancy: The pelvic floor muscles are at a woman’s baseline amount of strength, which provides the squeeze and strength she’s used to.
After Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the excess weight from the baby and pressure giving birth causes the muscles to expand, creating a sense of laxity when that additional stretch is no longer needed.
Solution: By doing pelvic floor strengthening exercises post-pregnancy, women can get back to the squeeze they’re used to, and strengthening before pregnancy can speed up the process even faster!
Incontinence (urine, fecal, gas)
Bladder leakage is a problem that you may face after birth. Considering the fact that 66% of women experience some amount of bladder leakage, it’s clear that this is not just a little old lady problem.
Women of all ages experience urine, fecal and gas incontinence as a result of weak pelvic floor muscles. Pregnancy is one of the main culprits that can play a factor.
Before Pregnancy: The bladder and anus are both supported by the pelvic floor muscles, which will be at their normal amount of strength before pregnancy. This strength deteriorates over time without proper strengthening routines, so for some, this “normal amount” may already be weakened.
After Pregnancy: The pelvic floor muscles have been stretched and put to work holding the baby throughout pregnancy and then while giving birth. Post-pregnancy, this results in laxity and weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, which means less strength to support the organs that are there. This can result in difficulty holding back urine, gas and fecal matter.
Solution: The pelvic floor muscle is just like any other muscle in the body in that it can be strengthened and rehabilitated. By doing pelvic floor exercises before and after pregnancy, women can prevent and recover their pelvic floor strength, reducing or eliminating incontinence entirely.
If you’re experiencing a heavy feeling in your vaginal area, there’s a good chance you’re experiencing pelvic organ prolapse. 75% of women have some degree of pelvic organ prolapse, also referred to as POP. POP occurs when the organs normally supported by the pelvic floor start to descend due to a weakening of the muscles.
Pushing is a big part of giving birth, and the weight over an extended period on the body can stress the pelvic floor and cause descent.
Psst. Take our pelvic floor quiz to find out if you’re dealing with a weak pelvic floor!
Before Pregnancy: A large portion of women are already living with some degree of pelvic organ prolapse. Most don’t realize it until they get to more serious stages in the diagnosis, sometimes when the organs have started to leave the body.
After Pregnancy: Through pregnancy, more strain is put on the body and the pelvic floor muscles specifically. This can accelerate any potential POP that may already be occurring, causing more discomfort and a feeling of heaviness for the woman.
Solution: During the earlier stages of POP, effective pelvic floor training can address and reverse POP. More severe stages of POP may need to be addressed through other surgical alternatives. The best way to prevent POP is by doing effective pelvic floor strengthening before pregnancy and prioritizing it once you’re cleared for exercise post-baby.
How You Can Strengthen Your Vagina Before Birth
Kegels are scientifically proven to address pelvic floor weakness and the large number of symptoms that occur as a result.
In the past, women were limited to traditional kegels, which doctors prescribe for 100+ minutes a week just to maintain the pelvic floor strength. If they looked for other options to address the vagina before and after birth, they mostly found expensive, unsafe or ineffective alternatives.
Fortunately, Kegelbell was created as a solution for those women. It’s the first externally weighted pelvic floor training device and the heaviest option on the market. Since the weight is held outside the body, women can lift more weight comfortably. This translates to more muscle strength in less time.
Plus, the time commitment required to see results with Kegelbell is surprisingly slim. Women only need to use Kegelbell for five minutes three times a week in muscle-building mode or once a week in maintenance mode. The best part is that it can be done in the comfort and privacy of your own home or shower. Also, with 16 levels, the muscle-building journey can be personalized for each woman.
Don’t Ignore the Important Muscles “Down There.” Try Kegelbell Today
Whether you’ll be delivering soon or have already experienced childbirth, you can minimize uncomfortable vaginal symptoms from the comfort of your home. For the best way to strengthen your pelvic floor and vagina before and after birth, look no further than Kegelbell. Shop Kegelbell today to learn what moms (and future moms) are raving about.