No one ever told me what to expect during and after a vaginal delivery. I only knew because I am a research junkie and a sexuality educator...otherwise, I would have had NO idea! People will give you all kinds of unwanted advice during and after childbirth, but what the never mentioned, was my vagina.
Do your kegels!
Why did NO ONE tell me this? Thankfully, I did them prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy, and post-baby, so I did not have any coughing accidents, but what the heck. Now don't get me wrong, it took a lot of work to strengthen my pelvic floor. This is a simple piece of information that can save lots of embarrassment. A strong pelvic floor is important for pushing out that tiny human, but also keeps you from wetting your pants on a daily basis. Ask your Dr. when you're allowed to resume Kegels. Check our my site for some great vaginal exercisers. If you are into technology, check out Elvie, the kegel exercise tracker!
The smell is normal!
The smell of blood in general is not very pleasant, but this is an even bigger beast. Immediately after deliver and up to about 10 days, you will have a heavy flow of blood and mucus, called lochia. You may even experience light spotting 4-6 weeks after delivery. But you just birthed a living being, so give yourself some credit...and be patient.
You are dryer than the Sahara!
You probably aren't allowed (and probably don't even care) to have sex for about 6 weeks after delivery. Your body needs some time to heal, especially if you had any tearing. Once the bleeding stops and you're allowed to get back to business, you may notice that you're extremely dry. Never mind the fact that you are a walking zombie, your hormones are all out of whack still, especially if you are nursing. Grab a bottle of Just Like Me (my absolute favorite), from my website and keep it handy. This also helps for the 5 minutes of uninterrupted sex you may get when the baby is napping.
The papers I signed told me that if I had a blood clot the size of a baseball to call. What they didn't tell me was that I would probably pass a blood clot the size of a golfball, so when I did...I had a nice little freak out session thinking I just passed an alien. Passing clots of blood is not uncommon during the first two weeks postpartum and clot size can range from the size of a pea to a golf ball – and can be quite shocking (as I experienced) if you’re not prepared. *please contact your doctor if you are concerned
Squirt bottles may be your toilet paper for a few days, especially if you had an episiotomy or vaginal tear. Postpartum-care is so important for quick healing. You may be sore for a couple of weeks, so use a squeeze bottle to pour warm water over your vulva, cool the wound with an ice pack, or place a chilled witch hazel pad between a sanitary napkin and the wound.
One of the amazing things about the vagina is that it has not only the elasticity to expand but also the capacity to recoil. We have all kinds of superpowers I didn't know about until I became a mom. You may not be able to feel or see a difference. Depending on how much it was stretched, the vaginal opening may return to a point very close to how it was before, with enough time and pelvic floor exercises. As far as your partner noticing, unless you experience a major birth trauma (such as a third- or fourth-degree tear to the outer vagina), your partner shouldn't notice much of a difference.
As with anything, you know your body best. If something doesn't seem right, please contact your doctor.