How does your vagina change after giving birth?
Your body may feel and look different after giving birth to a baby…
When you give birth, things change very quickly. You have a new addition (or additions) to the family – a baby to love, take care of and nurture. It can feel wonderful, bewildering, amazing and terrifying all at once. On top of the biggest change (the whole new person that can’t even hold their own head up yet) there is also yourself to think about and take care of.
The changes to your body when you become a parent are internal and external, physical as well as mental. Your body won’t look or feel the same as it did before you got pregnant, and that’s ok! Your vagina might be different, but it’s a completely natural part of growing and experiencing having children. There might be a few new stretch marks for you to love and appreciate, and your boobs might have more jiggle too. Let’s learn more about how your whole V-Zone (the vagina, vulva and V-shaped front you can see) may change after giving birth, so you know what to expect after you’re done expecting.
So, what happens to your V-Zone and vagina after birth?
It’s natural for your V-Zone and especially your vagina to change after you’ve given birth. That’s because for a baby to travel through the cervix and vagina (also known as the birth canal), the entrance to the vagina needs to stretch. The sides of your vagina also separate and widen, almost like opening an umbrella. Sometimes, the bit of skin between the vaginal entrance and anus (known as the perinieum) may tear, or even be cut by a doctor or midwife to allow the baby to come out, which is called an episiotomy. The idea of an episiotomy can be daunting, just remember that you will be asked for your consent, offered pain relief (usually local anaesthetic to numb the area) and will be given stitches afterwards. 
Up to 9 in every 10 first time mothers who have a vaginal birth will experience some sort of tear, graze or episiotomy,  so it’s an extremely common occurrence that the majority of women have experienced as part of delivery. Though the idea of tearing, cutting and bruising can be scary, it can help to talk to women around you who have given birth and gone through it all before, to help comfort you. You can also discuss this at any medical appointments leading up to the birth to get reassurance on what might happen, and how you will recover from it.
Your vagina may feel a little wider
Your vagina might feel drier
Your vulva might be sore
Your vulva will have been through a lot, especially if your perineum needed stitches after tearing or getting an episiotomy while giving birth. It will probably feel quite sore, but this usually improves within 6 to 12 weeks after giving birth. Painkillers might be able to help, but always check with your midwife, doctor or pharmacist if you are breastfeeding. Hang in there, and just know it will improve every day and you’ll get through it eventually.
While you are healing, it’s important to keep the area clean while coping with after birth discharge. You can do this by washing your hands before changing your towels, changing them often and regularly having a bath or shower. After some time everything should settle down.
Practising self-care as a new mum is very important, especially remembering to take care of both your physical and mental health. It can be nice to ask for support from your partner or family so you can take a little time for yourself, even when things may seem manic, to put on some relaxing tunes, light a few candles and have a break in the bath.
What will your postpartum belly and body look like?
It’s not just your V-Zone (the vagina, vulva and V-shaped front you can see) that changes after giving birth. Your entire body has to transition from growing new life to nurturing it outside of your body. Here’s a couple of completely natural changes you might notice in the mirror:
Your stomach after birth
A few stretch marks after pregnancy
Stretch marks appear when the skin is stretching and the middle layer of your skin becomes broken in places. They can be pink, red, brown, black, silver or even purple, depending on your skin type, and appear on your belly, upper thighs and breasts. It happens to 8 in 10 pregnant women , so you’re not alone. They may gradually fade to become paler, and become less noticeable as time goes on. Think of stretch marks as beautiful reminders of you of how strong and worthy you are.
Your body is capable of so much – it can change, grow, and repair itself to give new life. It will look different and a little strange at first after you’ve given birth, but that’s completely natural. Be proud of what your body has gone through, look after it by taking the time to check in with yourself, and don’t neglect your health and wellbeing. Even if your beautiful bundle of joy is screaming like the kraken, you’ve got this – and when you haven’t quite got everything together, your partner, friends and family are there to help along the way.
If you’d like to learn more about what can happen after giving birth, read our articles on discharge after giving birth, and when to expect your first period after pregnancy.
The medical information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your doctor for guidance about a specific medical condition.