When pregnant, a woman's body begins to prepare gradually for childbirth. The body expands as the chest swells and the belly bulges. The female genitalia is also prepared to greet a healthy child. Vulva and vagina increase hormone secretion, which leads to changes that are different from usual.
This time, we will look at vaginal health for pregnant women. The effect of pregnancy and childbirth on quality and tips for health management have been compiled by the 'Inclear Editing Team.'
■ Changes in the intimate area
Changes in the body caused by pregnancy come from female hormones. As estrogen and progesterone (luteinizing hormone) increase, blood supply to the vulva and vagina increases. When this happens, the external genitalia such as the Soum-soon becomes reddish-purple and soft as the blood vessels expand.
Blood vessels distributed in the vagina also expand as blood increases. The vagina turns blue in early pregnancy and reddish purple in later stages. As the cell size of the vaginal mucosa increases, the number also increases. The vagina thickens and relaxes, preparing for its function as the birth canal for the child to exit the mother’s body.
Vaginal secretion also increases with increased blood flow, along with the concentration of secretions.
It is not an unpleasant odor, but it may smell more noticeable than before. If you are concerned about vaginal discharge, you can wear a panty liner or a menstrual pad.
■ Vaginal Infection Level UP ↑
Increased vaginal secretion can significantly increase the development of infection. Infectious diseases associated with women are common during pregnancy. This is a result of vaginal hormonal imbalance. Consider the following vaginal infections, an infection caused by fungi, that does not harm the fetus but causes discomfort. The symptoms include itching, vaginal discharge with a smell of cheese, and a slight burning sensation.
The next infection is bacterial vaginosis (BV); approximately 10-30% of pregnant women develop the infection. The typical symptom of the infection is a vaginal discharge, which is grayish and smelling fishy. Reports have indicated that BV is associated with preterm delivery, low birth weight, and miscarriage, so treatment is an alternative.
Vaginal trichomoniasis is also another infectious disease associated with pregnancy. The mode of transmission is through sexual intercourse with an infected partner. Cryomonosis can cause serious pregnancy complications, such as breaking the water balance and causing premature birth. The symptoms include odor, yellow-green discharge, vaginal itching, and pain while passing urine.
■ Increased vaginal edema
Blood circulation for nutrient supply is activated in the womb to facilitate fetus growth. The vagina may subsequently swell, resulting in high libido and excitement, though this is not a big concern.
Hormonal changes and increased blood flow can result in the vagina and labia turning black or blue. Infections can cause vaginal edema. If the vagina is swollen and reddish, with burning or itching sensation, a doctor visit is necessary.
During pregnancy, varicose veins (swollen blood vessels) form in the legs, in the vulva and vaginal openings.
Varicose veins may constrict the vulva and vagina, resulting in discomfort. In such cases, it is recommended to press these painful points with a cold towel, etc., and raise the hips when lying down. It is advisable to wear tight clothing to remedy these symptoms. Varicose veins usually disappear within a few weeks after giving birth.
■ Vaginal bleeding, requires observation
Vaginal bleeding during the first three months of pregnancy is normal. The implantation of a fertilized egg into the uterus or an increase in blood volume can cause this bleeding. The total blood volume of pregnant women before childbirth increases by about 25%. This is as a result of an increase in the number of red blood cells and an increase in the plasma volume.
However, sometimes vaginal bleeding can be an indication of miscarriage. A doctor's diagnosis is necessary, especially when severe menstrual cramps accompany the bleeding.
Emergency treatment is necessary in such cases, such as placental detachment, premature opening of the cervix by premature birth, preterm delivery, and uterine rupture.
When it comes to giving birth, when pain begins to subside, one may experience a vaginal discharge mixed with pink mucus. This is normal and not an indication of a problem.
■ After childbirth
After giving birth, the female genital organs will suffer after childbirth for a while. Slight swelling, bruising, and pain are involved. You may get sick more when you urinate or have a bowel movement. It may take a long time if the perineum is incised to allow the baby to come out comfortably, but if not, these symptoms will disappear after a few weeks.
Vaginal bleeding is a common condition 2 to 6 weeks after delivery. Hyper bleeding is red, and coagulated blood is also visible. Over time, the bleeding will gradually decrease.
After childbirth, the vagina is wide and stretched, but usually recovers most of its original elasticity within 6 weeks. Kegel exercises and pelvic exercises during and after pregnancy can help restore the tone or elasticity of the vagina.
Women who are breastfeeding are more likely to develop vaginal dryness due to low estrogen levels. Lubricants and moisturizers can help. These relieve a lot of vaginal dryness symptoms such as pain during sex, itching, and vaginal burning.