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Thread: Anybody else have a stretched vagina after giving birth?

  1. #1

    Unhappy Anybody else have a stretched vagina after giving birth?

    I gave birth to a 9 pound baby 8 weeks ago. The labour was very long, I pushed for over two hours and she only emerged after vacuum extraction (which took approximately 15 minutes).

    I'm now freaking out a bit as after 2 months my vagina still doesn't seem to have recovered! The inside of my vagina seems to be sitting much lower than it was before I gave birth and the opening seems to be really stretched and maybe at least two times bigger than it was before. I can also feel a kind of downward pressure everytime I'm either standing or walking around.

    Although I didn't expect my vagina to be exactly as it was after giving birth to a 9 pound baby, I did think it would be better than it currently is. I went swimming recently and it filled up with water in a way that it never has before and felt horrible! And as for sex, I haven't even got to that yet!



    I've just come home from my 6 week check up (or 8 weeks as the case may be!) and the ob said that it was perfectly normal and that it can take up to 6 months to a year for it to recover and that it may "never" recover. He also said that if it never recovered there was nothing that could be done about it.

    I should also add that I've been doing my pelvic floor exercises religiously, ranging anywhere from 10-15 minutes a day to up to an hour or more.

    I've trawled through the internet as well as all of my pregnancy books and the general concesus seems to be that your vagina should go back to almost normal after about a month to 6 weeks. Mine is nowhere near it! I'm starting to feel really depressed about it and have been thinking that if I have any more babies I'd want to have a ceaser as I don't want to do even more damage to my vagina.

    Has anybody else experienced this? Does/did anybody else have a stretched vagina and did it ever go back to normal?

  2. #2

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    Perhaps it just *feels* different when in fact it has returned to normal?

    Dh told me he feels little to no difference nor looks any different....try not to worry to much.... we as women go thru these things and dont let it bother you. Give it some time, your vagina has just been thru the most amazing thing it probably ever will

  3. #3

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    That bulging feeling is similar to what I had, it wasn't apparent the first time I asked a DR about it, but later on after asking for a second and third opinion it turned out it was a prolapse.

    However, after time it did sort itself out. I'm talking several months. Keep going with the pelvic floor exercises, if necc book yourself into an incontinence clinic to make sure your technique is good (turns out what I thought was a pelvic floor lift was only half a pelvic floor lift).

    Even so, I was horrified 9 years later, after taking codeine (which I never normally do) and getting constipated as a result, the prolapse recurred. Only as long as I was constipated. Then it went back to normal after a couple of weeks again.

    HTH. Try not to worry, it takes time. BTW my sex life is better now than it ever was pre-baby (cos I think that's what you're really worried about) so it's not all bad news.

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    Bea, I had a forcep delivery and I can honestly say that things never went "back to normal" from my point of view and I had to go back to the Ob at 3 months post baby to have proud tissue dealt with. I had the shocking ache/pulling feeling everytime I stood or sat and only had relief lying down for at least 6 months. My hubby also said it was pretty much the same as before from his point of view.

    The good news is, after having No 2 vaginally my sex life with hubby was the best it has ever been and while there are days where it feels no where near "normal" compared to pre children, with better sex it is worth it!

  5. #5

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    i thought it sounded like a prolapse also. i think you should go to a different doctor for second opinion or even a gyno for peace of mind. having said that, i had my DD 9 months ago with vaccuum and it still hurts to DTD and it doesnt quite feel the same down there, so it is probably normal.

  6. #6

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    I was always under the impression that the sex wouldnt be as good anymore after having children as the vagina would definitely stretch BUT I am glad to notice that in most women, the sex is better!! Good on ya, ladies....

  7. #7

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    Thanks to all of you who replied and thank god for the internet! What did women do before it was invented? It's been a couple of months since I last logged on - have been a bit distracted with having a baby and all.

    I think that although my vagina has improved a little bit since my original post, am starting to get really really depressed about it now that over 4 months has passed.

    After doing a bit more research I'm convinced that i definately have a form of prolapse. I'm relatively lucky though in that although i have some of the symptoms, I don't have any issues with continence. I still have issues with water (I can't go swimming), can't get a tampon to sit right, and feel a strong downward pressure if I'm on my feet for anymore than about 30 minutes, so much so that i feel like i can't walk properly.

    I feel both depressed and a bit frustrated about it, as after giving it a bit more time to recover and doing my pelvic floor exercises everyday I figured I should ask my gp to check it for me. She said there was no point in looking as even if something was wrong she wouldn't be able to do anything about it until at least 6 months had passed and that she thought it would improve with time anyway.

    Have decided that I think I'm going to have to find a more supportive gp and get a referral to a gyno or something. Have also booked myself in to see a physio for next week. Think I'm going to need some counselling to go with the physio!

    Marydean, given that you say that it sorted itself out with time and exercises, was wondering if I could pick your brains about it a bit? If it's recovered does that mean that you can wear a tampon with no issues, can you go swimming without getting that horrible sensation of getting water in it and can you stand up without that terrible pressure?

    I see that sex has improved for both Relle and Marydean and I was wondering if i could ask if it's not too rude or personal, in what way has it improved? Do you mean on a physical level, or on an emotional leval? Am just having trouble imaging having a good sex life at present!

    Any advice would be much appreciated as I'm feeling quite depressed about the whole thing (hence the 1.30am ramblings)!

    Now that I know what it is I might also create a post asking whether anyone else has has any experience with prolapse.

  8. #8
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    I never had a prolapse, but my vagina sure felt different after DD was born!

    I too had that "half the bathwater disappearing inside" thing at first- i didn't even TRY swimming at that point!

    Because i had no prolapse i didn't have the feeling of pressure, but i did find that the water thing stopped being an issue after about 4 months. I'd already had sex again then (tried it at 8 weeks) and all i can say is that with XP, 8 weeks post partum, it didn't hurt. A tampon stayed in place from about 4 months too (though i only tried one once, 6 weeks PP and it slid out so i didn't try again). That's all, it didn't hurt. NO fireworks though. I then didn't have sex again until i'd left XP and started seeing DP (who i've been friends with for 5 years) and it was incredible. Multiple orgasm, extraordinarily sensitive and pleasurable type incredible. I had a lubricant as i was breastfeeding and it can make you dry, but we didn't need it in the end. Emotionally it was good too but DP is not DD's father so i don't think it's relevant to me. XP said i felt "the same" to him, and DP has no comparison but is a happy man

    To look at my vagina still isn't back to normal, but i think the way it is is the way it's going to be. It's still about 30-40% longer than it was before birth and there seems to be more flesh than there was before, more visible inside my inner lips, and my inner lips are bigger (used to barely exist...). I guess because it works fine i don't mind this too much, but i understand that if you're still having issues it really must be depressing.

    As an aside, i was really religious at first with my pelvic floor exercises, up until about 12 weeks PP, when i was single and sad and struggling to cope and stopped caring, and i actually felt that around the 5th month after birth things suddenly improved despite me not bothering, and so i began doing them more religiously again and things improved even more. SO maybe there is a certain amount of time for each person when things start to get better and until then you're limited in what you can do?

    Seeing the physio sounds like a great idea. I also think a more supportive GP might be a good idea, because even if the GP thinks everything will sort itself out in the next month or two, it's hardly inspiring for you to be told to go away without even an exam and some advice!

    I really think that the vast majority of these things DO sort themselves out with pelvic floor exercises and time, but getting more support on the journey can only be a good thing.

    B

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    **TMI post** for Bea's benefit.

    Bea, it was probably fully 12-18 mths before I felt completely recovered (but i also had some nasty scar tissue involved), but I had a very reassuring GP at the time so I just sort of stuck with it until I noticed an improvement. Having said that, I had said to myself that if it was still bothering me around the 12 mths mark, I was preparing to see both the incontinence clinic (I had a few issues there...!) and ask for a gynae referral.

    I can actually wear a tampon now more easily than before DD was born. The pressure discomfort has well and truly gone away (that was the main thing that bothered me actually, so uncomfortable). TBH i haven't really ever noticed any weird water things going on but I am prone to the occasional 'fanny fart' these days that I'm sure weren't there before.

    The sex has definitely improved in terms of physical comfort and enjoyment. Once I stopped bfing and all the good lubrication got started again, anyway. I used to worry about things bulging out during sex but I asked my DH about it and while he commented that it 'looked different' it didn't bother him at all and he figured after he'd seen a baby's head (and arm) come out of there it wasn't going to snap back into place straight away. Did I mention my GP put me on vaginal oestrogen for a bit and that helped a lot with general tissue comfort (and I'm sure repair) as well.

    I really think if this is still bothering you, get the gynae referral anyway. By the time you get an appt with a good gynae it will be 6 mths anyway and you can formulate an action plan. Quite aside from the physical issue this is clearly bothering you and you need to seek some extra support for that reason alone.

    BTW, I'm now pg with my second child, and when I was requesting a CS (I developed PTSD due to horrendous first birth) the reasons cited in my paperwork refer to tearing and prolapse, more than the PTSD. So that makes me think it's considered an acceptable medical reason to request a CS (in the public system anyway) for these reasons. Just a little chunk of info to store away for the time when you're getting ready to make this decision...

    Good luck. x

  10. #10

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    Thanks Marydean and Hoobly for your replies! Once again I find that I only have time to log on late at night - it seems to be the only uninterupted time that i get to myself these days!

    Your replies have both cheered me up and encouraged me.

    Have been to see a physio since my last post and it is as I suspected. My cervix has dropped and is sitting lower than it should be and things are generally pretty stretched. It's good to have confirmation that I'm not imagining it, although I wasn't that impressed with the physio. Saw the council physio and I get the impression that she mostly sees people re: more general physio issues. Although I confirmed that I do seem to have a prolapse/problem I couldn't seem to get any sort of an answer out of her regarding my possible prognosis or any concrete suggestions for dealing with it (other than what I'm already doing), except that I should come back in three weeks time.

    Came home and booked myself into see a physio who only deals with post natal issues and vaginas in general. Have also started going to a pilates/pelivic floor class as often as I can (3 times last week) as well as incorporating the new exercises that I've learned into my routine at home, and can't believe the difference already. The improvement has been immediate, and although I've still got a long way to go, there are now some periods of the day - usually first thing in the morning or after I've been sitting down for a while - where I can actually get up and walk around without feeling like everything is going to fall out. It doesn't last, but at least it's an improvement on what it was before.

    Had sex recently, which hurt so much it made my cry! DP was lovely about it which made me cry all the more! The physio said that she thought my scar tissue was more sensitive than it should be at this stage and that I should try massaging it. Thought I might try using cold pressed almond oil. Has anybody got any other suggestions for stuff I could use for massage or a strategy for dealing with scar tissue? (Although I'm sure if I trawl through the forums I'll find a thread re: sex after tearing).

    Have decided that if things don't return to "normal" after going to pelvic floor classes, continuing to do my exercises at home, seeing a new physio, and finishing breastfeeding will see if I can get a referral to a gynie.

    So anyway, just really wanted to say thanks for your advice. It really is very helpful - especially when it's not the general thing you can talk about in public!
    Last edited by Bea06; September 2nd, 2007 at 10:39 PM.

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    Bea, so good to hear you are getting results from your classes already, I'm sure you'll go from strength to strength. Wow I'm impressed you've found a physio who specialises in post natal and VuhJayJays (I never knew that was possible), and I'm sure you'll get good results there.

    Re the scarring, I got such an immediate improvement in comfort levels with the vaginal oestrogen, I really think it's worth having a chat to your Dr/GYN about it. Once the tissue has enough oestrogen it helps with the blood supply and general healing in the area.

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    Kelly xx

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    I am also seeing a physio who specialises in PN care, and she is wonderful. I had a four hour second stage,and although I don't have a prolapse, I do have issues with a weak pelvic floor. So it's great to have someone help me out, I could never have figured it out on my own!

    I would recommend a specialist physio to anyone who is having issues post-birth.

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    Kristen Manallack from the BB Centre is an Osteo who did her masters in the pelvic floor, I find Osteo to be more effective than physio. I dont have pelvic floor issues but it's always worth getting it treated if you do. With assisted deliveries you are more likely to have problems. More reasons to avoid interventions where possible
    Last edited by BellyBelly; August 20th, 2008 at 06:50 PM.
    Kelly xx

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    Thanks Bea for posting about this issue! I was logging on to ask pretty much what you just asked and was astounded that it is quite common.

    Some days it feels like my vagina is going to fall out especially when I go out walking or have been on my feet for a while!! It sometimes also fills up with water which DH thinks is a great party trick. He said everything feels normal for him while DTD.

    I didnt notice the prolapse until I was 4 weeks pregnant with baby #2 and now I'm worried about giving birth naturally. I mentioned it to my Ob (who is also a gynaecologist) when I had the dating scan for this baby and he didnt seem too concerned, he just said not to hold my breath when lifting or exerting as well as to continue with my pelvic floor exercises. I didnt even ask him about giving birth naturally this time around but will at my next appointment.

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    Tonydayl I asked about possible prolapse issues before I fell pg with DD2. My GP indicated that it shouldn't present a problem during pregnancy or birth, and to keep up the pelvic floor exercises, allow time for recovery after the pregnancy. She seemed to think that any further intervention (ie specialised physio and/or surgical repair) was usually left until women have finished having all their babies - and often not until you're properly menopausal which is when it usually becomes a problem (even for women who've never had kids). Obviously if you're experiencing discomfort or it's affecting your life before then then seek help, but in general it's not considered an issue in pregnancy.

    HTH - I know how worrying it can be!

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    I had a similar birth to yours - long, 2 hours pushing, vac extraction (bub wasn't as big as yours though). I also had stitching (not sure if you had that). I felt completely back to normal by 3 weeks post delivery. My DF commented when we first DTD that things actually felt tighter (perhaps from the stitching, don't know). I did have quite a bit of the downwards pressure you mentioned but it was gone by the 3 week mark.

    If I were you I'd definately be seeking a second opinion.

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    I would seek a second opinion for sure.

    I pushed for an hour and a half with my labor.Although I didn't have forceps or the Vac, I did have a nasty Episiotomy.

    I was still in a heap of pain 2 months later so I went to the Doc and found out that the had stitched me up incorrectly.They had to restitch all over again.

    Probably not the same problem you have but I would still go to see a different Doctor.

    Oh....And the hospital originally told me it was all fine 3 weeks after birth.

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