Sunday, February 16, 2014



It’s probably been on your mind since long before your baby bump arrived. Hell, even
 women who aren’t expecting get a shudder just thinking about it. How will your sex life
 change after you give birth? If this scary thought has you considering a cesarean section
 over a vaginal delivery, you’re not alone.  To be perfectly blunt, one of the main reasons
 women request C-sections is because they’re worried about their vaginas, says Mary
 Jane Minkin, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., clinical professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Yale 
University School of Medicine. While the limited research on this subject hasn’t been
conclusive, a new study in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology  
compared the post-baby sex lives of women who delivered vaginally and women who 
had C-sections. The researchers looked at 165 women who had given birth at least one year
ago and used a vaginal pressure monitor (essentially an artificial penis) to measure
differences in intra-vaginal pressure between the two groups of women. They did find
that women who delivered vaginally showed lower intra-vaginal pressure than women 
who delivered by C-section (meaning things weren't as snug down there). But that didn't
mean their sex lives were suffering. In fact, there was no difference in sexual 
satisfaction, foreplay time, or sexual function between the two groups.

Obviously, there are limitations to this study—they didn’t compare women who gave
birth to women who hadn’t; they didn’t look at how these results differ over time;
and they didn’t prove that lower vaginal pressure is even a thing we should be worried
 about in the first place. After all, it didn’t seem to affect their sexual satisfaction.
Previous research on the subject has been just as conflicting. One study from 2009 found
 that women who had a planned C-section were most likely to have sex within 8 weeks
of delivery and had the lowest rate of sexual dysfunction. Another small study in 2004 found 
that pelvic floor muscle strength was lower after a vaginal delivery compared to a
C-section delivery, though it still didn’t affect sexual function. However, Minkin notes 
that pregnancy in general can increase your chance of having pelvic floor problems, regardless 
of your mode of delivery.

So is it possible that your vagina will change drastically after giving birth? Maybe. “The 
vagina is an expanding organ anyway,” says Minkin. “So unless they had a 12-lb baby 
delivered vaginally, they should get back to normal shape eventually. You shouldn't panic 
right away, but it can take a few months.” Her best advice: Kegels…all the time. “It really can 
help increase pressure and pelvic tone,” says Minkin. It’s also important to stay as close to
your ideal body weight  as possible, since that can affect pelvic floor strength. Though 
it’s definitely easier said than done, you shouldn't stress about what sex will be like after a 
baby, says Minkin. Instead, focus on staying healthy, having the delivery method that is best 
for you and your baby, and yes, keeping up your Kegels.