Having a baby changes so many things, including your body. Celebrities make it look easy…but that is definitely not the real story!
If you had a vaginal birth, your perineum had to stretch so you will probably be swollen or sore after delivery. If you had a laceration or episiotomy, that will need to heal. It can be normal to feel numbness, tingling, or even occasional pain as this area heals.
Many women wonder if having a vaginal delivery permanently “damages” the vagina, and the short answer is no. Talk to your provider if you have ongoing concerns, but rest assured that symptomatic prolapse is rare in the childbearing population. Doing Kegel exercises can help prevent issues with prolapse later on and is beneficial for your overall pelvic floor health.
Doing Kegel exercises can help prevent issues with prolapse later on and is beneficial for your overall pelvic floor health.
You may also notice hemorrhoids or varicose veins in your vulva. It is important to avoid straining as this can make them worse, so be sure to use stool softeners if you are constipated. Medicated sprays and sitz baths can provide some relief, too. These tend to shrink or go away with time.
Leakage of urine can sometimes show up for the first time during or after pregnancy. Kegel exercises and the tincture of time can help with this too, but if this is very bothersome to you or doesn’t seem to be improving, be sure to check in with your doctor as treatments do exist.
Many women wonder about long-term breast changes after having a baby. A common question is “Will breastfeeding leave me with saggy breasts?” The good news is that breastfeeding is not to blame. The “bad” news: your breasts will be different, but it is because of the pregnancy itself (the hormones and growth). That is, avoiding breastfeeding won’t change the outcome.
Sex may be uncomfortable early on, and this is usually because of the normal healing process. Additionally, breastfeeding lowers estrogen levels in the body, so that can cause vaginal dryness. Topical lubricants and appropriate foreplay can help, but be sure to seek care if you are having persistent pain.
Keep in mind that it can be normal to have a diminished sex drive after having a baby. This can be chalked up to physical recovery as well as fatigue, fear of pain, and life with a newborn and lack of opportunities. Try to reconnect in different ways, and give yourself the freedom to take your time.
If you had a C-section and are worried that your scar is very dark, keep in mind that it will continue to heal over about a year’s time. Numbness or tingling around the scar can be normal for many months, but if you are in pain you should talk with your doctor.
Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, November 2018
- It is normal to feel different after having a baby.
- Kegel exercises can help prevent prolapse and help with urine leakage.
- Breastfeeding does not change your breasts – pregnancy does!
- It is normal for your sex drive to change after giving birth.
This is always a big concern for me but with how long it takes and everything I have had to go through, this will not matter to me in the end at this point having a child will be the biggest blessing ever.
I think that is the perfect outlook to have Katherine!
I think it will be worth every bit of change:)
I have friends who seem to bounce right back after a few months and some who just have a much harder time. Everyone’s different.
I noticed changes I didn’t expect in my body after having a baby – All worth the little guy that I have in my life now 🙂
Good to know about the saggy breasts! I definitely thought that breastfeeding would lead to that.
I had my first on July 23, 2013…I weigh more now than I did when I had her (she was 2 months premature so it was an emergency rather than the already planned, due to a complete previa, c-section) I’ve ALWAYS been on the small side. 110-115. I was 128 when I gave birth to my 3 lb baby girl but I blew up AFTER. (I think I was jinxed by everyone swearing I’d be back to my norm in no time) I can’t lose these extra 20 lbs to get back to my birth weight and honestly don’t think my body will ever go back to normal…however, I’d prefer this weight than not having her in my world! As for sex drive, 11 month and still non existent!
I am glad everything worked out well for your daughter. Despite all those changes, I agree you are probably so happy she is here and everything with her is OK!!
With my first I was just about to hit my weight b4 pregnancy but then I got on the depo shot and it blew my weight up. However my 2nd I already weighed more but thanks to bf I’m losing weight but not as much as b4 my 1st.
A great article came out about this very topic yesterday in the New York Times – it summarized a study that paints a MUCH more realistic picture of postpartum sex (or the lack thereof) – a good, quick read!
What a great read. One of the couples interviewed mentioned that it was a YEAR after they had their baby until things felt totally back to normal. That definitely gives me hope! I’m finally to the point where things aren’t really painful, so maybe from here we can take baby steps. Spot on.
I’m 4 months post-birth and I STILL have no interest in sex! I really do feel bad for my husband. I think this is normal, but does anyone have advice on how to get over the hump??
Just do it. Haha! I honestly didn’t get any sex drive back at all until around a year or so postpartum. Yeah, sorry guys. And my husband wanted me to have another one ASAP…I just reminded him of the almost year and half with literally no sex. 😉
Hahaha! Very true. 🙂
It is true that success begets success…so sometimes just taking the plunge the first time can get things going again. However, if you don’t want to – that’s OK too! There is nothing worse than feeling like you have to because you are X months postpartum and feel obligated. Starting off with taking time for yourself, then maybe a date night out, etc are ways to rekindle the bond that sometimes gets pushed to the side once baby arrives. Doing those sorts of things may help get you back in the mood!
I felt bad too because I wasn’t as up for doing the dirty deed but eventually I was so don’t worry it’ll happen. It might take awhile but hey better late then never…try a little foreplay or some sex mood lube that might help. Just make sure its a time baby is asleep and won’t interupt which is easier if baby is on a schedule. Good Luck!!
After having my first child, I feel like my body bounced back so quickly. Now after having my second c-section 5 months ago, I feel as though it is much harder to shed the pounds. I am also much busier now and can’t focus on exercising as much as I would like. Celebrities definitely make it look easy! If I had a personal trainer, chef, glam squad, and a live in nanny I’d look just as fabulous! 🙂