Mother and Baby

10 women tell us how they really feel about their post-birth vaginas

post-birth vagina: How it really feels after birth

They don’t call it the miracle of childbirth for nothing; if a whole basketball-sized baby coming out of a hole the size of an olive isn’t a miracle, then what is? As amazing as it is, no one really discusses what your nether-regions truly look or feel like after the massacre that is vaginal birth. From immediately after the fact, to months and even years later, whatever becomes of your lady parts? 10 women bravely share the ugly naked truth about their post-birth vaginas.

10 women discuss their post-birth vagina:

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1) “My vagina fell out.”

“After 3 children who were all rather on the large side (the smallest was 8lb and the largest 10lb), I have what they call vaginal wall prolapse, which literally feels like your insides are falling out. Kegels weren’t a thing 30-odd years ago when I had my first, and no one told me that I needed to do vaginal exercises so, unfortunately, after years, I started feeling a kind of loosening in the vaginal opening and like a ball was coming out of it, pushing down. It would get worse if I was tired or worn out from work, or if I had been walking or standing all day, and it would get better if I rested. I’m now regular with my Kegels and vaginal exercises and have seen a massive difference, but you have to keep doing them forever otherwise it can prolapse again.
 
As far as what it looks like, I have no idea because I could never bring myself to take a mirror to it, but I’m sure it’s vastly different to what it was like before the births. With my youngest, I ripped all the way from my vagina to my anus (it took me a month to be able to even walk properly again). I had episiotomies with all of my children but the vagina would rip naturally even further on its own, like it was silk. I’ve had so many stitches down there, I’ve lost count. Having said all that, it does heal, and you do forget, and if I could go back, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
 
Dez, 56, mother of 3
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2) “It hasn’t affected my sex life at all.”

“I was worried about my pain in my vagina but they gave me some good painkillers at the hospital and I didn’t feel a thing. The stitches were uncomfortable for about a week afterwards but nothing I couldn’t handle, especially since I was still taking painkillers till it healed. We couldn’t have sex for a few months afterwards which is completely normal – I mean, you don’t even have the time or energy for that with a new-born anyway.
 
Now that the years have passed, the only down side I can think of is that my vagina might not be as tight as it used to be, but that hasn’t affected my sex life at all. To be honest, I can’t really tell if it looks different than pre-kids because I didn’t really notice how it looked before, but I’m perfectly happy with my post-birth vagina. I would definitely do it all over again.”
 
Phoebe, 38, mother of 2
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3) “I don’t know what happened down there, but I can now orgasm via penetration.” 

"I've had two children. For the first birth, my perineum was so tight the doctors were using their hands to attempt to physically stretch it so the baby's head could come out (I didn't have any drugs, either, because the labour was going too fast). Finally, to get my son out, they gave me an episiotomy. I had no idea what that was when they asked my permission to do it; I would have agreed to anything at that point. Post-birth, I began to worry. In the first few months, my muscles seemed gone. I couldn't hold my poo very well, and attempts at Kegel's seemed futile – nothing moved! Eventually, I healed, but where I used to be quite snug during sex, I was suddenly not. Even my period seemed to pour out of me. I then gave birth to my daughter in a 40-minute labour, and that didn't improve matters.
 
Now, two and a half years on, I can say my situation has definitely improved, but after examining my new vagina in a mirror once, I can't say I wasn't alarmed. A doctor told me it was scar tissue and normal, and since then I haven't gone back for another look. I have taken up Pilates and do Kegels whenever I remember, and while my vag will never be the same, there has been one thrilling by-product; with all that cutting open of my privates, for some reason I can now orgasm during actual penetration, which I never could before. So that's some fairly substantial consolation!"

Joan, 41, mother of 2
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4) “Not as tight as it was pre-kids.”

“A lot of changes happen to your vagina after a vaginal birth, and I find it hard to believe those who say it goes back to how it was before you had a baby. My bladder has dropped a little and I also now have a weak vaginal wall. My inner lips are not as bright and pretty as I think they were, as far as I can remember. I think I am not as ‘tight’ as I was in my years before kids. Sex is the same for me (maybe not for my husband, but he hasn’t complained, thankfully). The main noticeable change is to my bum; Haemorrhoids with a capital H!
 
I never really thought about it before but I guess my beat-up vagina was so worth it! If I stop and think about it, it is an amazing part of our body that surprisingly comes back to form (somewhat) after having a human come out of it. God works in mysterious ways! I do wish I didn't have haemorrhoids, though; that I could live without.”
 
Karen, 49, mother of 3
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5) “My vagina felt like a swimming pool.”

“After I had my Irish twins (born 11 months apart), I felt my vagina was like a swimming pool; large and wet. It was like I had been extremely stretched. When my husband and I would have sex, I felt like I was too wide and that his penis was not enough to satisfy me. It took me a long time to go back to normal, approximately 1-2 years after the second baby. I think that having two babies, one after the other, without letting enough time go by between the births, meant that I stretched double-time! Even though 8 years have passed, I still remember the stinging of the vaginal stitches post-birth. Other than the stretching, I didn’t have any other major issues.
 
The experience of natural birth is such an amazing one that I don’t care about how my vagina has changed, especially since I still have awesome sex with my husband. I view my new vagina like a tattoo with a beautiful meaning. In conclusion, I like my vajayjay just as it is after my two babies.”
 
Gemma, 33, mother of 2
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6) “There are bumps on my episiotomy scar.”

“My doctor performed an episiotomy even though my son was quite a small baby. The epidural had worn off completely at the end so I felt every single prod, prick and pull of the needle that was stitching me up. I don’t know how many stitches I had but they felt never-ending. The stitches were painful for at least 20 days post birth, extremely uncomfortable, and sitting was always a bother. It felt really heavy down there at all times.
 
When I visited my gynae 6 weeks later, she said that I have granulomas on the episiotomy scar, which are like small bumps. She said that this was perhaps due to the scar not healing properly. These need to be cauterized (burnt off with a laser) but I’m waiting till I’ve finished breastfeeding before I do that. Apart from that, and the extra discharge, especially around ovulation, I can honestly say that my vagina is as it was before the birth.”
 
Kate, 39, mother of 1
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7) “I have a lot more discharge.”

“I didn’t really feel any discomfort from my episiotomy and stitches beyond the first couple of days. I think I must have only had a couple of stitches because I could hardly feel them. The midwife massaged the perineum with oil before the birth and maybe that helped. What I did feel, however, from the first day onwards was a feeling of a great weight in my vaginal region. It felt like all the insides of my vagina were about to just shoot out at any given moment. It was so bad that I called my gynae to tell her something must be wrong but she calmed me down and said it’s normal. That feeling subsided after a couple of months, but it was scary; I thought it was going to be permanent.
 
Looks wise, it’s the same as before I would say, but for some reason I have a lot more discharge.”
 
Portia, 38, mother of 1
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8) “I regularly pee myself.”

“Even though my baby was a big boy, weighing in at over 9lb, I can’t say that I had any particular vaginal pain or discomfort post-birth. I bled for what felt like forever, but I hear that’s normal. Unfortunately, even though it’s been almost two years, incontinence is a problem. I still pee myself a little bit on a daily basis upon the slightest exertion.”
 
Anna, 40, mother of 1
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9) “One of my flaps is now detached like an earlobe.”

“One of the things that in my twenties I would have literally tied my tubes over would be the thought of my vagina being ruined, but you know what? After having my baby, my vagina is marred and scarred, and I couldn’t care less. That gene of self-consciousness is gone! It must have left with the placenta. It just so happens that the location of the birth tear (I didn’t have an episiotomy, my doctor let me tear naturally) is right at the bottom of one of my vagina flaps, which means that it’s now unattached at the bottom and looks somewhat like an earlobe.
 
Thankfully, I have the most understanding partner who says he doesn’t care and never makes me feel bad about any of it. My husband said that at the time of birth, my vagina was stretched beyond recognition and he couldn’t tell what any of the vaginal parts were ­– you couldn’t even tell it was a vagina, he said it was just a ‘skin tube.’ If after seeing that he still loves me and is attracted to me, I think it’s meant to be.”
 
Trina, 36, mother of 1
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10) “It got bigger and uglier.” 

“I’m in my sixties and I have two boys in their thirties. They were born 17 months apart, and my vagina most certainly changed after I had them. It got bigger and uglier. It looked like a slipper! Being a nurse, I was more prepared than some other young girls as to what to expect, so all these changes felt pretty natural to me, and I can’t say that I cared much about the state of my lady parts.
 
Back then, epidurals weren’t really used so I felt everything. I felt the entire process of the episiotomy but the labour pains were so strong that the pain of my vagina tearing just paled in comparison. I do remember the stitches hurting for about a month afterwards, though. My second baby practically slipped out of me without the need for an episiotomy, which just goes to show how stretched my vagina still was. I remember it taking a good 6 months after each birth to feel fairly ‘normal’ again down there.”
 
Angie, 62, mother of 2

*Some names have been changed

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  • Author: Kat de Naoum Kat de Naoum
  • Job Title: Freelance Writer

Kat is a freelance writer based in the UK and Greece. She has written for many publications, and, as an advocate for female empowerment, loves to write about women’s issues, and helping fellow mothers feel supported and less alone.

She has birthed one child and written two books. She can read and write and tends to spend most of her (non-parenting) time doing that, as well as taking care of her several pets.

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