No, Pregnancy Will Not Ruin You “Down There”

Have you ever heard of the “husband stitch?” Or heard a joke being cracked about a woman whose had a lot of kids as being “stretched out” down there? Or how about the ones where after a certain amount of kids, the babies just start “walking out” on their own?

Yeah, hilarious, right? Except for one problem: They are promoting the myth that pregnancy somehow ruins and/or stretches a woman's vagina out. And that's actually not accurate at all. 

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A woman's vagina can do some amazing things in its lifetime, including, of course, accommodating bringing an entire human or two into the world. And it's really not that unimaginable to think that passing a person through could stretch things out a bit. But does it really happen that way?

Image via Flickr/ NG

The short answer is nope. A vagina can actually increase in length during sex when all that increased blood flow can help the vaginal muscles grow and accommodate penises of all lengths, but during delivery, it's not really necessary for the vagina to increase in length, so it doesn't happen. 

What does happen is that all the hormones of pregnancy, specifically estrogen and relaxin, all play a role in helping the vagina majorly stretch to allow a baby to pass through. But the stretching out that happens is not permanent. The vagina is able to stretch, but the hormones and elasticity allow the vagina to return back to its “normal” position. You have to remember too, that the vagina is an internal structure. So what you see on the outside can't tell you anything about what's happened inside the birth canal. 

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For example, some women might experience a change in their labia (the external “lips” of your vulva) during and after their pregnancies, which is normal. But this will not affect having sex or what your vagina looks like. If you tear or had an episiotomy and stitching, your perineum (the space between the anus and the vagina) might also shorten or look a little different while healing. But again, those external structures are totally different from your vagina. 

Although the vagina will resume its shape after giving birth, pregnancy can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, which can affect your vagina and the muscles in your vagina's walls as well. If the pelvic floor muscles are weak, you may find sex less satisfying, because the vaginal muscles can't contract as well. And you may have other complications, such as urinary incontinence. 

Luckily, you can help keep your pelvic floor strong during pregnancy by regular exercise and core strengthening moves. And if you're experiencing any problems (such as leaking urine) after birth, talk to your doctor. Bottom line? Pregnancy should never ruin you “down there” so don't accept that it will. Speak up and get help if you're having problems. 

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No, Pregnancy Will Not Ruin You “Down There”

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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