Your Vagina Before Conception
Although many people wrongly call a woman’s genitalia ‘the vagina’, in fact the vagina is just one part of the female reproductive system. The vagina is the passageway that connects the uterus with the outside of the body. As with any other body opening, the vagina is a mucose that secretes its own discharge to keep bacteria or other pathogens outside.
Let’s learn some facts about your vagina before conception.
#1. What is a normal vagina?
Don’t we love the word ‘normal’? We usually use it to refer to something average or similar to most others.
When it comes to vaginas, all of them are normal.
There are vaginal changes that happen during pregnancy, before and after conception. Depending on the stage of our menstrual cycle, even hormonal changes will modify the vaginal area.
There will be changes in the vaginal tissue and also in vaginal discharges, frequently depending on vaginal bacteria. Cervical mucus changes frequently during the menstrual cycle and also goes through subtle changes during pregnancy.
During early pregnancy, there’s an increased blood flow to the vaginal area and the mucus plug forms. As pregnancy progresses, subtle changes will take place up to the end of the third trimester. All of these are completely normal.
Throughout a woman’s life, there will be changes to the uterine lining, the cervical canal and the vaginal discharge. All of these changes are completely normal and part of a healthy woman’s life.
What is a big vagina?
Every vagina has the capacity to become a ‘big vagina’.
The pelvic floor muscles will make sure that your vagina stretches and adapts to the different vaginal changes that will occur.
You might have heard of terrible vaginal tears during childbirth and this might worry you and create doubts about your vagina’s capacity to stretch.
Let me reassure you that, given the right circumstances, most vaginas will be able to stretch as much as necessary. A respectful healthcare provider, who allows birth to happen and allows pregnant women to take the lead during birth, will be your best ally in letting the vagina do what it’s meant to do and reduce any damage.
Read more about this in How To Push During Labor – What You Need To Know.
If you’re reading this because you’re worried about your muscle tone and how it might interfere with your sexual activity, you should know that every vagina also has the capacity to recover its original muscle tone. Look for a physical therapist in your area who specializes in ob-gyn or women’s pelvic floor and get your vaginal walls nice and fit.
What is a small vagina?
There’s no reason for a woman to think her vagina is too small. As we’ve already mentioned, a healthy vagina adapts, stretches and shrinks, according to what’s happening.
First-time mothers have given birth to big babies without problems or tears.
If you’re reading this because you’re having difficulties with sexual intercourse, there might be other problems that are keeping your vagina tight and closed.
Most of the time there’s absolutely no physical problem in the pelvic area and the blockage is at an emotional level.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re having difficulty with this.
#2. Where is a normal vaginal opening?
The vagina opening connects the vulva with the cervix, which is located in the lowest part of the uterus.
The vulva is the area of the female body that contains the women’s genitalia.
In many cases, people wrongly say ‘vagina’ when they mean ‘vulva’.
The vulva includes the labia minora and majora, the clitoris, the urethral opening and the vaginal opening.
Many women are concerned about their vaginal opening and the appearance of their vulva. Women’s labia come in different sizes, sometimes one labium is bigger than the other. All of these variations are normal vulvas. The problem usually arises because the vulva changes quite a bit from childhood to adulthood.
The outer labia (labia majora) usually cover most of the inner labia (minora) during childhood. When puberty hits, the labia minora start to grow and protrude outside the labia majora.
This is the most common way female genitals develop.
Apart from midwives or beauticians, most women don’t see other women’s genitals, even if they frequently see other women naked. Just seeing another woman without her clothes isn’t enough to see the vaginal opening.
Women usually only see other women’s vaginal openings in porn films. Porn does society and especially women a lot of harm, in terms of creating unrealistic images.
In his book, The Naked Woman, anthropologist Desmond Morris explains how men feel more attracted to younger women because their reproductive capacity is at its highest. For thousands of years, women have modified their bodies to look younger, therefore more attractive to the opposite sex.
The porn industry isn’t the most feminist culture. Most porn actresses have had genital surgery to reduce their labia minora, so as to appear younger.
What is a ‘normal vaginal opening’, then? It is yours, mine and the vast majority of others. In fact, you could say porn actresses have ‘abnormal’ vaginal openings.
#3. How deep is a vagina?
This depends on several factors. On average, when a woman isn’t aroused, her vaginal length is between 5 and 10 cm. When the woman is sexually aroused, her vaginal canal can double in length and measure between 10 and 20 cm.
#4. How far is the cervix from the opening?
The cervix measures between 2 and 4 cm. It usually lies at the end of the vagina, in contact with the back wall. It’s quite unlikely that a cervix lies with all its length along the vaginal canal. Depending on the position of the cervix and the stage of life a woman has reached (stage of her menstrual cycle, pregnancy) most women might be able to reach their cervix. Familiarizing yourself with your own cervix will give you a deeper knowledge about how a woman’s body works and, above all, about your own.
#5. Does size matter?
You tell me. The only reason you wouldn’t know what I’m going to say next is if you didn’t read the rest of the article and are starting here.
No, size doesn’t matter. I’ve never measured a vagina. Even when they perform a vaginal exam, midwives don’t check the length of the vagina.
Your vagina is perfect for you, no matter how long or short it might be. It will perform well during sex, during birth and during life – just as your arms or your kidneys do.
#6. Vaginal tissue
US midwife Ina May Gaskin says the uterus is so amazing that if men had one they wouldn’t stop bragging about it all the time.
I agree with Ina May, of course, but I want to bring the vagina up there to the podium with the mighty uterus.
If the uterus is such an incredible and powerful vessel that will provide everything for a baby’s best possible development, then the vagina acts as its faithful guardian.
The vaginal tissue adapts to whatever it is needed to do and will do everything possible to keep nasties at bay.
#7. Vaginal discharge
Throughout your menstrual cycle, or the different stages of womanhood, such as pregnancy or menopause, your vaginal discharge will be different. It will depend on what’s happening – your hormone levels, your sexual activity and so on.
These changes are completely normal. When your vaginal discharge stops being normal, however, you will most likely know. Vulvar varicose veins, a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis or any other kind of unwanted visitor to your vagina will present itself as something that shouldn’t be there.
You might not know exactly what it is but you will see some abnormal discharge behavior. Talk to your healthcare provider if you experience any discomfort in your vulvar area.
What is early pregnancy discharge?
One of the early changes during pregnancy is an increased discharge during the first trimester. This is because the blood flow to the area is increased and also because your body is doing everything possible to protect your pregnancy and prevent infections.
What is cervical mucus?
Your cervical mucus changes during your fertile window. The increased blood flow to your genital area helps to make the environment as welcoming as possible to the sperm. The cervical mucus takes on consistency of egg white. When your vaginal discharge has this consistency, it means you’re in your fertile days. It’s a completely normal discharge. It’s simply different, as it needs to help the sperm up through the cervix and into the uterus as high as the fallopian tubes.
This increased discharge is one of the common symptoms of early pregnancy.
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#8. The vagina: a very important gate keeper
We’ve seen how your cervical mucus plays an important role in conception. So does your vagina.
The vaginal canal has a very important part to play in reproduction. The vagina welcomes the penis during intercourse and makes the environment welcoming – but only for the sperm; the vaginal pH levels keep most other threats at bay.
The vaginal canal is also the gate, of course, through which babies are meant to emerge into the world.
How do you feel before conceiving?
Most women feel at their best during their fertile window. There are increases in estrogen levels right before the time of greatest fertility.
Your oxytocin, the love hormone, is usually quite high during ovulation. This peak in your hormone levels makes you feel happier, sexier and more sexually receptive. There’s also an increased blood flow to your genital and reproductive area to aid with conception. There will also be some changes to your vaginal discharge as your cervical mucus gets ready to asist with conception.
Does conception happen immediately?
You’ve seen the efforts males make, everywhere on the planet, to conquer the female? Something similar happens with the sperm and the egg.
Research has shown, though, it is the egg that chooses which sperm fertilizes it. Sometimes, sperm are already there when ovulation takes place and the egg is released. At other times, when the sperm gets near the egg the egg might have been waiting in solitude for a few hours. Even when the sperm arrive, the egg might not choose for a few hours until the right match comes.
Read more about this in: