Your Body After Baby
By: Dr. Sarah de la Torre
So, you’re a new mom—that’s wonderful! Lots of changes come with motherhood and for many women, their sex life changes as well. You may feel that your sex life has never really gotten back on track, and to be honest, both you and your husband may feel like your vagina is a little, well, loose.
First, is that normal, you wonder, and second, can anything be done about it?
The answers: Yes and yes.
The pelvic floor—the core layer of muscles that is slung like a hammock from your pubic bone to your tailbone and which holds up your uterus, bladder, and bowel—goes through a lot during childbirth and pregnancy. In addition, your vaginal canal is stretched to the limits as your baby comes out of your womb and into the world.
So yes, relaxation or weakening of the vaginal muscles after childbirth can definitely produce a “loose vagina.” The lack of muscle tone and lessened friction between the penis and vagina lead to reduced sensation. And that means less pleasure for both you and your partner when you’re being intimate.
Besides stretching the vagina, a vaginal delivery can damage the pelvic floor and surrounding muscles, ligaments, organs, and nerves. A larger baby, a longer labor and delivery, the baby in an awkward position in the birth canal, and the use of episiotomy or forceps to help get the baby out all increase the risk of damage to the pelvic floor. This can lead to a leaky bladder or bowel (urinary incontinence, bowel incontinence) soon after birth or later in life. Quite naturally, if you’re experiencing incontinence, you don’t feel good about your postpartum body, or if you’re breastfeeding, you may not feel like getting horizontal with your partner except to sleep. (Sleep? What’s that, you say!)
The usual advice for vaginal laxity and weakened pelvic floor is to do a series of Kegel exercises several times a day: Contract the pelvic muscles as if you’re stopping your urine stream for 10 seconds, relax them for 10 seconds, and repeat. Kegel’s are helpful exercises but often most moms don’t have the time or inclination to clench their pelvic muscles several times a day—even if they remember they’re supposed to be doing Kegels! Your OB/GYN can prescribe pelvic floor physical therapy but it can be time consuming and finding child care can be challenging for many moms and many women aren’t comfortable seeing a PT for these private issues.
Your OB/GYN might also recommend laser treatment or even surgery, which is costly and can be painful. But there is another new option that’s safe, effective, and noninvasive. It’s also very discreet, since you use it in the privacy of your home. It’s a new device called vSculpt that combines low-level-light therapy, gentle heat, vibration, and a lubricating gel to rejuvenate your vagina. The result: toning and tightening of the vagina and pelvic floor, improved sexual confidence and pleasure, and better bladder control.
Dr. Sarah de la Torre is a board-certified OB/GYN and one of the renowned women’s health experts on Joylux’s medical advisory board. Learn more about Dr. de la Torre here.