10 Interesting Things That Happens To A Woman’s Vagina During Childbirth
Many physical changes accompany pregnancy and childbirth. Not surprisingly, many of them involve the vagina and other parts of the reproductive system. The amount of blood in a woman’s body increases by a staggering 50 percent, and most of that added blood ends up in the uterus. A woman’s body undergoes many other changes, and some may strike people as disgusting, alarming or both.
1. The vaginal discharge becomes thicker.
A woman’s vaginal discharge is typically thin, mild-smelling, and clear or milky white. An increase in the amount of vaginal discharge is an early indicator of pregnancy. As pregnancy progresses, the vagina produces more and more discharge, and it often becomes yellow and slimy. It becomes heaviest towards the end of the pregnancy. When the woman starts going into labor, the discharge contains streaks of blood and/or mucus called show.
2. The vagina will change color.
The vagina is typically pink, but it can turn blue or purple when a woman gets pregnant. The color change, which is called Chadwick’s sign, is one of the first indicators of pregnancy, for it can happen as early as six weeks into the pregnancy. The color change is triggered by an increased blood flow to the vagina and other reproductive organs.
3. The urine may start to smell.
During pregnancy, a woman’s body produces a hormone called human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) that can cause urine to develop a pungent smell. Another possible cause for the smell is dehydration. Pregnant women need to drink more water than they would normally. If they don’t, their urine will be dark and smelly.
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4. The vaginal area swells.
During pregnancy, more blood flows to the vagina. The increased blood flow makes the vagina and labia swell.
5. Some women develop vaginal varicose veins.
Twenty percent of the women who have varicose veins in their legs develop varicose veins in their vagina and/or vulva. Vaginal varicose veins are caused by a combination of hormones, increased blood flow and an enlarged uterus compressing veins in the pelvis. Fortunately, doctors can treat the condition. They can use a transvaginal duplex scan (TVS) that uses ultrasound to locate the problem veins. While the woman is under a local anesthetic, the doctor can use a catheter to close the veins and reroute the blood to healthy vessels.
6. The vagina stretches.
During the late second trimester and early third trimester, the woman’s body produces a hormone called relaxin. As the name suggests, it relaxes the ligaments and enables them to stretch. The relaxin also makes the cervix become wider and softer.
7. The vagina might tear.
Vaginal tearing is common, especially in first-time mothers. While the cervix does dilate, the vaginal outlet still may not get wide enough, and the vagina will tear. The doctor might perform an episiotomy, which is a small cut to the perineum. He will also stitch up any tears, and the stitches will eventually dissolve within six to eight weeks.
8. Blood blisters can form on the labia.
A blood blister is a dark red spot or lump. It doesn’t itch or cause pain. It can bleed if rubbed the wrong way, though. A blood blister will eventually go away on its own.
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9. The vagina can develop bruises.
Pregnancy and childbirth put a lot of stress on the body, and the vagina will be sore after delivering a baby. There will also be a lot of post-partum bleeding, and it will be comparable to a heavy period that lasts for several weeks.
10. Pregnant women are susceptible to urinary stress incontinence.
As the baby develops, it presses down on the pelvic floor muscles, urethra and bladder. As a result, the woman has to go to the bathroom more often and is more likely to leak urine if they sneeze, cough or laugh.
After childbirth, it will take several weeks for a woman’s body to revert to normal. The extra blood will be expelled, and postpartum bleeding is comparable to a heavy period that lasts for a few weeks. The uterus and other organs, which were all distended by the pregnancy and childbirth, will eventually revert to their original proportions.