Image: Amy Poehler’s pregnant character in Baby Mama.
It’s the question that’s crossed every woman’s mind at some point in her life… at least before she becomes a mother:
After birth, does it all go back to how it was before?
Pregnancy and childbirth are serious business for your body. Carrying a child can affect everything from hormones to eating habits to foot size (really). So it’s only natural that things might be a little different after your body has squeezed out a small human.
For anyone who hasn’t given birth before, the mere thought of what happens down there post-delivery can be a little daunting. And it doesn’t help when terms like “shredded vagina” are tossed around in conversations about birth (thanks for that one, Mila Kunis).
Watch: The truth about baby bladder. (Post continues after video.)
An inquisitive Redditer called Disney-Roo took one for the womanhood team and posted the above question online last night. And no, the answers to this post – and other Reddit threads on the same topic – aren’t as ‘horror film’ as you-that-are-yet-to-go-there might think.
Here are 13 mothers’ stories:
1. “Back to normal within a few weeks, and better than ever thanks to my dear friend Dr. Kegel.” – Helen_A_Handbasket
2. “I had a horrible third-degree tear and it looks perfectly normal again. No scarring, no unevenness, no stretched-out feeling.” – PancakesForTurtles
3. “Tears can be internal (mine were entirely internal, so no visible scars). Externally DH [Dear Husband] says that I look the same. Internally: “tighter and more textured”. – mynamewaslola
4. “I haven’t dared look but my S.O. says it’s tighter than before. I had an episiotomy and stitches though. We’ve had sex alot recently and it’s way better than pre-pregnancy.” – notsostupidessexgirl
5. “My vagina is noticeably larger than it was before I had child #1. I only know this because I can comfortably use a larger menstrual cup than I did before I had kids. However, the change is not so drastic that my husband can notice during penetration. It feels just as good to him. And delivering vaginally made no visible change to my vulva, so things look just as nice as they did before.” – redlagoon (Post continues after gallery.)
6. “I am [pregnant] with #5. I think the differences over time are:
Slightly wrinkly outer labia – likely because they have been swollen while pregnant.
Whole pelvic floor is lower – like I can see the two inner walls of my vagina in certain positions – couldn’t do this before kids.
Feel – same or better. Can’t tell if it is because of having kids or getting more experience, but I can come much easier and in more positions.” – hbgbz
7. “It goes back to normal after a few weeks. Some women are even tighter than before. Though it might change the shape of the vaginal canal. I never had a vaginal orgasm until after I had a child.” – aerynmoo
8. “It varies per individual. I can say that, after delivering a 9lb 14oz baby 19 months ago, I am totally back to normal. For a while, it just seemed a little loose. My husband has zero complaints; when I asked him about it specifically, he says that he can’t tell. My mama friends and I have discussed at length. We all had vaginal deliveries (all first-timers), and all went back to as normal as possible. After childbirth, nothing is really the same anyway, right? For the better I’d say.” – MsDirtDigger
9. “My vagina is also pretty much how it was, except I have a little bump from the scar where they stitched me up. The thing that is way different, though, is my cervix. It used to be so high up I couldn’t reach it with a finger, but since having the baby it has dropped way down. First time I felt it, I was all “WTF is this thing in my vagina?” Took a while to figure out that it wasn’t something that had somehow gotten left behind!” – someenglishrose
10. "I gave birth vaginally 2 years ago with only a slight inner labia laceration, just a couple stitches. It didn't heal entirely back together so it is a little split. However that's entirely cosmetic and for me and my man, no big deal. My vagina is the same as pre-pregnancy. No complaints!" - enfermerista
11. "The vagina changes during pregnancy, too, so some women may feel that the difference is greater than it really is. I remember my cervix being not very far from the entrance when I was pregnant whereas now it's waaaay back there. And there are also big changes in fluid production. Some women even notice a permanent change in colour." - wasH2SO4
12. "For me- cosmetically different, and functionally better. It was always too tight before, but after childbirth it has been just right. Yay! Also, the scar tissue made it hurt at first (12 stitches!) but once we stretched out the scar tissue all was well." - alpacathecamel
13. "It has been 3 months since I gave birth vaginally to my 8 lb 14 oz baby boy and I had no tearing or episiotomy. As far as I or my husband can tell, my vagina and surrounding areas are essentially exactly the same as before birth. If there is any difference I can't tell. Remember that your body is built to birth babies, the process is usually quite lengthy which gives your vagina plenty of time to stretch." - sewsweet
There was also this particularly colourful input:
"I have been with a woman who had 2 children and I can confirm her vagina did become an endless pit of teeth and lava. Kidding, it looked fine. If anything it was tighter than before. Your vagina will not be wrecked, it won't look exactly the same but it won't look like uncooked oatmeal with raisins in it either. It will just look like a vagina." - InkZombie
So there you have it. Maybe someone should send this list to Mila Kunis?
What was the most surprising change you noticed in your body before/after pregnancy?
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