When expecting, the vagina and vulva can undergo some changes as pregnancy progresses. Increased blood flow and hormonal variations can alter the vagina’s physical appearance, color, and odor. Pressure from the baby’s growing weight often results in a feeling of heaviness in the vagina and some women experience a sense of vaginal looseness and urine leaks.
In this article, we’ll discuss what causes women to feel loose down there when pregnant and what you can do to tighten the vagina after childbirth.
Why Does the Vagina Change During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, hormone levels fluctuate to support the female body as it physically changes to accommodate the growth of the baby. Blood vessels, for example, typically dilate to allow as much as 20% more blood flow into the genitals and mucous membranes swell as pregnancy progresses - both of which result in a sense of vaginal engorgement during pregnancy.
The sensation of a loose vagina, on the other hand, is typically the result of the vaginal tissues becoming softer and more relaxed in the third trimester as they prepare to stretch for delivery.
Does the Vagina Loosen During Pregnancy?
While the vagina certainly experiences changes that can feel as if it is loosening during pregnancy, the size of the vagina does not typically change. Added pressure from the growing baby on the pudendal nerve and the displacement of the pelvic organs during the third trimester can result in urine leaks that might make women feel as if their vagina is looser.
And as delivery approaches, the highly pliable vaginal tissues begin to stretch to accommodate the baby’s birth. However, it is typically after childbirth that most women experience vaginal looseness.
Vaginal Looseness After Childbirth
Also known as vaginal laxity, vaginal looseness is perfectly normal after a vaginal birth or after initially pushing before a c-section delivery. This is mainly down to the fact that the vaginal tissues and pelvic floor muscles are flexible enough to stretch during childbirth and bounce back within a few months.
However, some women’s vaginas & pelvic muscles may not re-tighten or re-strengthen as much, or as quickly, as others.
Giving birth to more than one baby can mean a longer recovery from vaginal laxity, for example. Undergoing a forceps delivery or a particularly traumatic experience during vaginal birth can also affect how the vaginal tissues inevitably heal.
Genetics or excessive weight gain during pregnancy can also impact the amount of time it can take for the vaginal tissues and pelvic floor muscles to return to their pre-pregnancy tightness.
Symptoms of Vaginal Looseness After Childbirth
Vaginal looseness after childbirth can lead to a lack of bladder control and incontinence or temporary urine leaks. Due to hormonal changes after childbirth, women’s sexual arousal can also be affected, and a looser vagina tends to experience fewer sexual sensations during intercourse.
This can often lead to women experiencing a loss of intimacy with their partner, less intensity during orgasms, and consequently, a drop in self-confidence. During the 6–12-month recovery time for a loose vagina after childbirth, vaginal dryness can also become a factor due to a lack of natural lubrication, which often results in pain during sex.
The good news is, vaginal looseness after childbirth can be treated, and with the help of a simple exercise, associated symptoms can be successfully eliminated.
How to Tighten a Loose Vagina After Pregnancy & Childbirth
Despite many claims and promises from the manufacturers of vaginal tightening creams and at-home laser wands to re-tighten vaginal tissues, these products remain unapproved by the FDA and, according to female health experts, are doing more harm than good to women’s vaginas.
The sensation of a loose vagina after childbirth is essentially the result of hormonal fluctuations throughout pregnancy softening the vaginal tissues, as well as a weakening, or overstretching of the pelvic floor muscles during childbirth.
Given that the vaginal muscles and tissues are affected, it makes sense that the best way to treat vaginal looseness is to re-strengthen the tissues and muscles, like you would anywhere else in the body, with exercise. More specifically, Kegel exercises.
What Are Kegel Exercises?
Kegel exercises are the most effective way to tighten a loose vagina associated with pelvic floor weakness and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Performed in a repetitive pattern of contracting and relaxing the vaginal and pelvic muscles, new mothers are advised once their OB-GYN has given the go-ahead a few weeks after delivery to be seen by a pelvic floor physical therapist.
To regain vaginal tightness after childbirth, women are encouraged to practice Kegels 2-3 times per day. In recent years, most new mothers also add Kegel weights for increased resistance, more effective training, and more permanent results.
How Kegel Weights Help to Tighten the Vagina After Childbirth
Designed to fit in the vagina like a weighted tampon, Kegel weights are the ideal medical tools to help re-train the vaginal and pelvic floor muscles after childbirth. With a generous amount of lubrication, Kegel weights slip easily into the vagina and encourage the pelvic muscles to naturally wrap around them to hold them in place.
Once comfortably held in place, women contract and relax the vaginal and pelvic floor muscles as per a regular Kegel exercise. The added resistance of the Kegel weights not only ensures that Kegels are performed correctly but they also provide better strength training for the muscles and quicker results.
Made from smooth, BPA-free, non-porous, medical-grade silicone, our Kegel Weights here at Intimate Rose are one of the only sets of Kegel weights registered and approved by the FDA in today’s market.
Designed by our award-winning pelvic health rehabilitation specialist, Dr. Amanda Olson, Intimate Rose Kegel weights are sold in sets of incrementally increasing weights and are widely recommended by pelvic health physical therapists all over the world to re-tighten the vagina after childbirth, menopause, and pelvic injuries or surgeries.
Even though the size of the vagina does not alter much during pregnancy, various hormone variations begin to soften the vaginal tissues in preparation for delivery during the third trimester, which can feel like the vagina is looser.
Due to the excessive stretching of the vaginal and pelvic floor muscles during a vaginal delivery, however, the vagina is certainly looser after childbirth.
To re-tighten your vagina after childbirth, reduce urine leaks and improve sexual arousal, Kegel exercises, along with the help of Kegel weights, have been proven to be the most effective method.
What to Expect - Vaginal and Labia Changes During Pregnancy - https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/symptoms-and-solutions/labia-changes-during-pregnancy-and-childbirth/
Baby Center - What will my vagina be like after birth? - https://www.babycenter.com/baby/postpartum-health/will-my-vagina-stay-stretched-out-after-delivery_1156123
Physiopedia – Urinary Incontinence - https://www.physio-pedia.com/Urinary_Incontinence
National Association for Continence – Kegel Exercises - https://nafc.org/kegel-exercises/
American Pregnancy Association – Kegel Exercises After Childbirth - https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/labor-and-birth/kegel-exercises/