There are a lot of changes your body goes through during pregnancy and all of them will shoot down and come back to normal during postpartum. The month following postpartum will bring you immense joy for sure but there will be certain bumps which you should know about.
During childbirth, a hormone called relaxin is produced in higher quantities which stretch out the muscles especially the ones of your vaginal area. This continuous stretching by progesterone (during pregnancy) and relaxin (during labor) loosen the vaginal muscles. Therefore, the vaginal muscles feel wider than before.
Hormones are also leveling out during postpartum, which along with shrinking of the uterus can cause your vaginal health to move away from what it normally used to be:
Dryness And Itching:
Estrogen and Progesterone are responsible for smooth functioning of your menstrual cycle. Discharge during ovulation and after periods is controlled by estrogen. Estrogen is responsible for increasing blood circulation around the pelvic area, which in turn increases our sexual energy. This is highest at the time of ovulation when the vaginal wetness is also at the highest and so is estrogen.
After Childbirth, estrogen levels drop so as to level them down to pre-pregnancy level. If you are breastfeeding this will happen faster in your body, than the mothers who are not exclusively breastfeeding. This also causes a decrease in sexual energy for a few weeks after birth. Decreased estrogen levels are also responsible for hair fall.
Vaginal Dryness might not go away until you get your periods back. You can use lubricants till then.
Vaginal Itchiness is a counter effect of dryness. It can also be due to Lochia, using same pad for a long time and not wiping and cleaning the vaginal area properly. Remember that you are prone to infections a LOT, so it’s better that you keep the area clean and change the pad as needed. Don’t use tampons as they can increase the chances of infection, which can, in turn, lead to itching and irritation.
If you are experiencing a burning sensation while peeing, it’s time to see the doctor.
Different Odor & Discharge:
Hormonal changes during pregnancy make the secretions out of your vagina less acidic and disrupt mucus production too, which can change the odor of your discharge. Another reason for this smell is Lochia. By the end, the Lochia itself is often confused by women as vaginal discharge. Lochia by the end is just the mucus which comes out as the cervix heals. This mucus will smell different and weird. Don’t forget to discuss it with your doctor. He will check you for infections even though the complaint about smelly Lochia might sound normal to him too.
If you start experiencing brownish or pinkish discharge after lochia is over then it’s okay some people experience it even if the periods are far away. You are still ovulating so this discharge is just normal.
Soreness and Stitches:
All the women have to go through discomfort and pain in the immediate days of childbirth. And even though you feel that this can’t be normal and your vagina will never ever look the same after having gone through so much, you will see a considerable improvement in just 2 weeks (doesn’t matter if you have even gone through third-degree stitches). The stitches dissolve soon and it just feels like nothing came out of there.
Your doctor would recommend painkillers as needed. The pain will reduce after a week.
Try these few things to help reduce the pressure and pain during first few weeks:
- Apply chilled Witch Hazel Pads. Or sit in a Cold bath for 5-10 minutes. Cool temperature reduces the swelling and tightens the muscles.
- Make sure that you press the stitches with a pad before pooping to reduce the pressure on the stitches.
- Eat Probiotic food like Curd, Cocoa Powder which will help in promoting healthy bacteria down there and hence, prevent infections and speed up the healing process.
The changes mentioned above depends a lot on the type of childbirth you had, if you are exclusively breastfeeding or not, if your menses are back or not etc. So don’t worry if you read about women who are perfectly fine after 4 weeks of childbirth. But do try to talk to your partner and your closed ones about how it’s going. Emotional Health is also important and your hormones are not so much with you again.
Keep moving, walk a little, get massages, go in for some free time. Happy people heal faster. And don’t forget to tell us your secret trick, which you used to get past your postpartum bumps like a pro.