7 Unexpected Ways Your Vagina Changes During Pregnancy
Pregnancy changes your body. That's a fact. From your growing stomach to ever-increasing shoe size, there are a lot of alterations that can (and do) occur. But did you know your vagina can change during pregnancy, too? It's true. A lot can happen "down below." Here are seven strange and unexpected ways pregnancy can change your vagina.
Pregnancy Can Turn Your Vagina Blue
Does your vagina change color during pregnancy? As it turns out, the answer might be yes. Your vagina may take on a blue or purple hue during pregnancy. (It's called Chadwick's sign). In fact, the color change may be one of the first signs that you're pregnant. "As early as six weeks into your pregnancy, your vagina, labia, and cervix may take on a blue or purple color, thanks to the increase of blood flow," says Brett Worly, M.D., an OB-GYN at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio.
You May Have Spotting During Pregnancy
Pregnancy means a temporary end to your period, but spotting in the first trimester is common—and it's usually no big deal. In fact, up to 50 percent of all expectant parents have some bleeding or spotting during pregnancy, according to the March of Dimes. That said, "anytime there's bleeding, even if it stops, you should let your doctor know," says Mary L. Rosser, M.D, Ph.D., an OB-GYN at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York. "It's the most efficient and accurate way to figure out if it's something to be concerned about."
Usually, a little blood results from implantation of the embryo in the uterine lining and the formation of the placenta. In some cases, however, spotting can indicate something else, such as a yeast infection. "If spotting is associated with pain—including cramps—call your healthcare provider right away," says Dr. Rosser.
Your Vagina Can Get Varicose Veins
Your legs aren't the only body part vulnerable to bulging, painful, purple varicose veins. Indeed, your pregnant vagina can experience them too, thanks to the combination of increased blood flow, an enlarged uterus (which compresses veins in the pelvis), and pregnancy hormones.
About 10 percent of pregnant people wind up with vulvar varicose veins, generally during month five of a second pregnancy, and the risk increases with the number of pregnancies, according to the journal Phlebolymphology. "They look just like regular varicose veins, but on the labia and sometimes on the upper inner thigh," says Katie Bolt, M.D., an OB-GYN at Partners in Ob/GYN Care at Texas Children's Pavilion for Women. They can, however, occur in first pregnancies, too.
The good news is that the issue usually resolves within six weeks of delivery. But you don't have to wait that long for relief if vaginal varicose veins are bothersome. "Try warm baths, lying on your left side, and elevating feet when possible," says Dr. Bolt. "Also, exercise and avoid long periods of sitting or standing."
You May Experience a Swollen Vagina During Pregnancy
That extra blood flowing through your vaginal area can make you feel full and heavy, says Dr. Bolt. Your vagina (usually) won't actually appear swollen, but it might feel that way—though that's not always a bad thing. "For some, the extra blood supply increases sensation," says Dr. Rosser. In other words, a swollen vaginal area during pregnancy may improve sensitivity and increase your rate of orgasms.
Pregnancy Can Cause Vaginal Flatulence
Vaginal flatulence, also know as queefing or vaginal flatus, occurs when a pocket of air gets trapped inside the vagina. When it is released, a fart-like sound is omitted. This is a queef. "It's not a sign of anything bad," says Dr. Bolt. It is normal. Natural. Vaginal flatulence can (and does) occur. And though it's unclear why pregnancy can cause this to happen more frequently, it's likely a combination of your growing belly, different intercourse positions, exercise, and over-worked pelvic floor muscles.
You Might Have an Itchy Vagina While Pregnant
Pregnancy hormones can cause an overgrowth of naturally occurring vaginal bacteria or fungus, resulting in bacterial vaginosis (BV) or yeast infections, respectively. Both are common during pregnancy and offer up either grayish-white (BV) or yellowish-white (yeast infection) discharge. They also itch like crazy. Luckily, they're highly treatable by a doctor. Don't go the home or over-the-counter route here.
If your vagina is expelling odor-free, clear, or white egg-like discharge, relax: It's totally normal. "The cervix and vagina undergo hormonal changes in pregnancy that cause an increase of cervical mucus and vaginal discharge," says Dr. Bolt. This mucus-y goo changes throughout pregnancy from thick and sticky in the beginning to thin and watery toward the end.
Your Vagina's Aroma (And Taste!) May Change During Pregnancy
"The pH of the vagina changes during pregnancy and could cause subtle changes in vaginal odor, making it a bit more acidic," says Dr. Bolt. "Some pregnant people are more sensitive to the smell, but unless there's vaginal itching or burning, there's nothing to worry about." And then there's the change in taste, also related to pH changes. According to the Journal of Perinatal Education, during pregnancy, vaginal excretions tend to taste more metallic or salty. Interestingly enough, researchers also note that the flavor usually disappears once you have an orgasm.
Actually this is my first pregnancy n am experiencing swollen Virgina. I was worried at first but thanks for this article.my mind is calm nowRead More
So glad this article was written these are things that should be forementioned prior to pregnancy--as all of these things happened to me ( and I was grossly swollen visually as well-not only feeling as so) I felt repulsed and odd-not at all feminine or sexy--and I do think it is important to maintain feeling both of those throughout---I took great care of myself -did not utilize pregnancy as an excuse to let myself go but that art of me betrayed me entirely..thus I am glad it is out there--nobody discusses this and I felt incredibly embarrassed and consequently avoided intimacy -My significant other was perplexed as well.Read More