From bigger breasts to a burgeoning belly, your body changes in many ways when you’re pregnant. But did you know that pregnancy also impacts your body in less obvious ways? While it’s less noticeable than a baby bump, your vagina changes during pregnancy, too.
At Alpenglow Gynecology, experienced women’s health expert, Rickie Guida, WHNP-BC, and our care providers understand the importance of knowing how pregnancy affects your vaginal health — during and after your baby’s birth. We offer comprehensive gynecological services to women in the Littleton, Colorado, area. Here’s what you need to know about pregnancy and vaginal health.
Vaginal health during pregnancy
When you’re expecting, your body has forty weeks to prepare for the arrival of your baby. Here are some of the changes to vaginal health you may notice during your pregnancy:
Changes in color
Increased blood flow and changes in estrogen levels may cause your vulva to appear darker or even blue. You can rest easy knowing these colorful changes are normal and don’t affect the health of your vagina.
As your pregnancy progresses, you may notice your vaginal area feels swollen or engorged. Increased blood flow coupled with the increased size of your uterus are usually behind this type of swelling, but if you also notice itching, burning, redness, or unusual discharge, you may have a vaginal infection.
Increased risk of infections
One of the most noticeable vaginal changes you experience when pregnant is an increase in vaginal discharge. Pregnancy-related discharge is usually white or clear, thin, and does not smell bad. It may increase or get thicker as you approach your due date.
Sometimes, however, vaginal discharge indicates an infection. During pregnancy, the hormone changes your body undergoes can upset the pH-balance in your vagina, increasing your risk of infections. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common infections experienced during pregnancy:
- Yeast infections
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Group B strep
When in doubt, it’s better to talk to Rickie about any concerns you have over vaginal discharge to ensure prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Vaginal health after pregnancy
No matter what type of delivery you end up having, you should expect vaginal swelling, pain, and even bruising. It may burn or hurt when you urinate or have a bowel movement. You’ll also experience post-delivery bleeding for up to 6 weeks.
These symptoms are all normal and typically resolve within a few weeks; however, for women whose skin tore or who needed stitches after delivery, it may take more time to recover.
Many women report a “loose” or “stretched out” feeling in the weeks after delivery. You may also experience vaginal dryness as a result of a drop in estrogen levels. Some women also struggle with incontinence after pregnancy.
Sometimes these post-pregnancy changes resolve in the weeks and months following delivery. But other times these changes last long after your baby is born, especially if you have multiple pregnancies or are a mature mother.
In this case, Rickie may recommend vaginal rejuvenation treatments. Using the latest in laser technology, these treatments can help resolve many post-pregnancy vaginal health issues, including:
- Vaginal dryness
- Vaginal atrophy
- Mild urinary incontinence
- Painful intercourse
Vaginal rejuvenation treatments take less than 10 minutes per session, and most women need about three treatments for optimal results.
You can learn more about how pregnancy impacts your vaginal health by contacting Alpenglow Gynecology in Littleton, Colorado. Call the office to schedule an appointment or book online now!