how to prepare your vagina for childbirth

How to prepare your vagina for birth

You’re nearing that time when your baby might possibly be arriving.

Ya, that entire 6-week stretch when you constantly have people saying ignorant comments to your ginormous belly like “Oh, you STILL haven’t had your baby?”. (No judgement from me on how you respond to this one, by the way.)

You’ve done all the things to prepare for the arrival of this tiny human:

-premade meals and stuck them in the freezer

hired your postpartum doula

-washed the baby clothes

got yourself a lovely wrap (this is the one thing I will highly recommend to all new parents, FYI)

-figured out where baby will sleep

-decided if you’re breastfeeding, formula feeding, or bottle feeding and set up accordingly

-made sweet, yet to the point signs for the front door directing people to “Kindly fuck off. I just had a baby and you shouldn’t be just showing up like this.”

-done vagina yoga

Yep. I said “vagina yoga”.

Let’s face it. Your vagina plays a pretty significant role in this whole childbirth thing and you should probably prepare her for what’s about to come (’cause it ain’t nothing like the cum she clearly already knows!!)

Your house may be ready, the clothes may be ready...but is your vagina ready? Here are some tips from a doula and mom of 4 on how to prepare your vagina for childbirth!

How to prepare your vagina for childbirth

Become acquainted with your bod

Your body is capable of some pretty freakin’ incredible things, namely growing and expelling another human from it. Get to know your anatomy so that you are aware of everything that’s going on throughout your pregnancy and during labour. When the midwife tells you that your cervix looks great you’re going to want to know what they’re talking about (also, having a cervix that “looks great” when you’re in labour is a really good thing.)

Having an understanding of what’s going on and when will give you an opportunity to prepare for what the next phase might be in your labour.

Kegels, kegels, kegels

Unfortunately, between your kiddo living in your pelvis for the last 3 million months of pregnancy and the extreme pressure of childbirth your pelvic floor can become damaged.

Often times, when this pelvic floor is damaged the result can be incontinence, which is actually a lot less fun than it sounds.

Talk to your midwife or doctor about how to properly do a kegel. Building these pelvic muscles during pregnancy can prevent you from embarrassing situations such as peeing when you’re laughing, sneezing, running, coughing, walking, sitting, breathing….you get my drift.

(On that last note, if urinary incontinence is becoming an issue and impacting your daily life make sure to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist. Those peeps know what’s up and can help you immensely.)

Embrace that your vagina will never be the same again

That said, it won’t be all that different. It’s a safe assumption that after a ginormous baby passes through your perfectly sized vagina (yes, I said that to reassure everyone that they have a perfectly sized vagina) that your vagina will resemble a gaping black hole.

Not the case.

Assure your partner(s) that your vagina will go back to normal (or at least pretty darn close to it) and they won’t be throwing a hot dog down a hallway *insert eye roll here*

You will notice a physical difference if you’ve had tearing and/or an episiotomy. The scars will fade considerably, but you may have some tenderness for quite some time. If you’re planning on some sexy time just make sure you’re using lots of lube and going slow (especially in the first while after giving birth.)

**Pro Tip*

Check out your vagina with a mirror. Yep, I’m talking prop up a leg or lay in the bed with a handheld mirror between those divine legs of yours. Check out what you look like before and after (take a photo, if you’re so inclined). Mostly, this is helpful when you’re checking on your stitches so you can make sure that everything is A-ok down there. If it’s not and something is visibly or physically “off”, make sure you get checked out ASAP.

*Yeah, I’m a Pro. I’ve done this 4 times, people. My vagina has tales to tell.

Speak kindly to your vagina

For real. Your vagina is able to do this. Childbirth seems obscene. Like, ‘Are you freakin’ kidding me that’s going to come out of there?’ obscene, but you’re going to be fine.

Our brains listen to the things we tell it. Keep telling your vagina that things will be okay. Visualize your vagina opening up to allow for your baby to come into the world. This is some real hippy-dippy shit, but true story…it’s legit.

Do vagina yoga

Yes. This is the one that everyone’s been waiting for.

Vagina yoga.

Well, vagina yoga isn’t actually a thing-it’s a phrase I made up, but Perineum Massage is most definitely a thing.

Basically, you’re going to be slooooooooooooowly stretching the perineum (the area between your vagina and anus) over time so that the skin is a little more soft and “stretchy”. This can be done on your own or with a partner.

Here’s a little video explaining exactly what you need to do.

How prepared is your vagina for birth?

Do you have to ORGASM to get pregnant?! You may be surprised to learn which wives tales are true and which are less than accurate!

9 Hilarious Old Wives Tales About Pregnancy

Old wives tales are, for the most part, ridiculous. While some may prove to be true, most aren’t. In fact, most are so off the wall that you can’t help but laugh. 

Be warned though, there are some firm believers in old wives tales. You will get your pregnant ass reamed for the silliest things. 

These are the funniest and most off-the-wall old wives tales about pregnancy that are sure to give you a good laugh!


Do you have to ORGASM to get pregnant?! You may be surprised to learn which wives tales are true and which are less than accurate!

You can’t get pregnant while on top. 

If you want to get it on but not get pregnant, all you have to do is climb on top! Sorry gals, that’s just not true. You definitely CAN get pregnant while on top. Go ahead and avoid using this method of birth control. If you are trying to conceive, then go ahead and get on top and go for it!

You will have a girl if you get pregnant while on top.

Ok, wait? I thought you couldn’t get pregnant while on top? But if you do you will be giving birth to a bouncing baby girl? It would seem someone got their wires crossed while making up this ridiculous shit. The position you conceive in will NOT influence whether you are having a boy or girl. Sorry to burst your bubble if you are trying for a little girl. Hey, you can go ahead and try anyway right?

Women have to orgasm to conceive.

Ok, if this were true there would be a lot fewer people in this would. Seriously, who comes up with this? Sperm can do its job without you having a mind-blowing orgasm. Obviously you should want to have an orgasm every single time you have sex. But, don’t stress if you just didn’t get there. You can absolutely still conceive. Also, do not use this method as a form of birth control. 

Taking a bath can drown your fetus.

This one has many different versions. You can’t take a bath because you will drown your unborn child. Or you will taint your amniotic fluid and your baby will come out looking like Frankenstein. Either way, it’s not true. Your baby already has fluid in their lungs. They get oxygen from your placenta. You can safely take a bath while pregnant, as long as your water temperature isn’t too hot! Keep that water temperature under 98 degrees and you are good to go.

You can’t put your hands above your head. 

The tale is that if you put your hands above your head the umbilical cord will wrap around your unborn baby’s neck. That is not true. Not only is it not true, it’s just pure bull shit. Rest assured you can put your hands up or down and your baby will be just fine. 

A pregnant woman must eat whatever she craves. 

I remember while being pregnant with my first baby. I worked with very superstitious women who believed this was true. Normally the tale says if you don’t eat what you crave they baby will be born with a sty in their eye. Or the baby could have a birthmark of the food you craved. 

Their beliefs went beyond that and thought that I would be risking my baby’s life. This is very untrue. The only thing that will happen if you do not eat everything you crave while pregnant, is a bad mood. 

Don’t look at anything ugly.

If you look at ANYTHING ugly while pregnant your baby will be U-G-L-Y. Wait, what? No. Just no. 

Wearing high heels will make your baby cross-eyed.

My best guess is that some pregnant lady was supposed to wear heels to work and didn’t want to. So she came up with this insane story to get out of wearing heels! This is 100% untrue. If you feel the need to use this excuse to wear whatever shoes you want, go ahead. 

Baby girls steal your beauty. 

Feeling extra ugly this pregnancy? That’s because you are having a girl! It is said that a baby girl will straight suck that glow right from your face. You will have dry hair and ugly skin. Your baby girl will come out stunning and radiant leaving you looking like Medusa. Not true. If you are looking like a swamp thing this pregnancy you still could be having a baby boy. 

Which old wives tale is your favorite? Are you a firm believer in any of these?

Written by Sirri McNeil for Modern Day Hippie Mama

nips

Should you rub your nipples with sandpaper?

There’s a whole world of crazy stuff that pregnant women are told to do, and rubbing their nipples with sandpaper is high on that list.

The idea behind doing this is to toughen up your nipples for breastfeeding.

I get it.

The minds of the (I’m assuming) men that decided this was a necessary thing do to while pregnant probably had good intentions. I mean, realistically your tender nipples that were once tenderly caressed during passionate lovemaking (yeah, remember pre-kid sex??) will be continually suckled on by a ravenous baby.

Your breasts won’t have any idea what’s coming to them, but guess what? They’ll learn.

There are many things that pregnant women are told to do to prepare for baby. Is rubbing your nipples with sandpaper one of the things you should be doing?

The human body is pretty fascinating. There’s this whole blog post that I wrote about nipples, but I did forget to mention in there that they will toughen as your breastfeeding journey continues on. There will be some initial discomfort as your body adjusts, but it should be minor. If your nipples are super sore it’s not because they’re weak, it’s because you probably need to get some help with your latch. Contact your Midwife, OBGYN, or pop down to your local Health Unit to see a Lactation Consultant. Breastfeeding isn’t always super enjoyable, but it shouldn’t be painful- at least not until your kiddo has those front four dagger-like teeth that chomp down on your nipple when you’re least expecting it and you say words that you didn’t even say during childbirth.

(*I haven’t breastfed for years, but even thinking about this occurrence makes me shiver.*)

So, how do you get tough titties for breastfeeding? You don’t.

What you do is enjoy them while they’re yours and not attached to a small child. If enjoying them to you means rubbing them with sandpaper (you kinky vixen, you) then, by all means, do that, but don’t do it because Great-Aunt Mildred did it back in her day (you know, before women’s rights and extensive medical research).

Have you ever considered going to pelvic floor physiotherapy? You'll be surprised to find out who can benefit from going!

Do you need pelvic floor physiotherapy?

There are a few things that don’t get talked about enough when it comes to birth and motherhood:

hemherroids

– -fundal massage

postpartum mood disorders

-isolation

-pooping while giving birth

-post-breastfeeding breasts

-the feeling of a bowling ball coming out of your vagina as a result of your child destroying your body during pregnancy and birth

That last one, though.

If your pelvic floor was weakened during your childbearing process you know exactly what I’m talking about. If your pelvic floor stayed entirely intact throughout the whole thing you may not be able to sympathize, however, you still need to be aware for future reference and to pass along the following information to fellow mamas.

Who needs pelvic floor physiotherapy?

In short, the answer to this question is: EVERYONE!

Regardless of if you have a vagina or not, you can benefit from pelvic floor physiotherapy. Just as we keep our biceps and quads toned and defined we need to do the same for our pelvic muscles.

I’ve been pretty open about the impact that birth has had on my pelvic floor. I’m not shy about admitting that I’ve peed my pants a time or two when I haven’t been able to cross my legs in time before a sneeze, or when I try to do a physical activity like run or jump on a trampoline.

While it’s fun to make jokes about it it can actually be a lot more detrimental than one would think. Not only was I unable to do….a lot….without my two-year-old pointing out that I had an accident, but as time went on the pressure in my pelvis was causing pain on a daily basis.

I saw my doctor who told me that my high activity level was actually keeping my pelvic floor stronger, but if it got much worse I would need surgery. I decided then that the trip to the pelvic floor physiotherapist that I’d been procrastinating needed to happen NOW!

What is an appointment like?

I went to my first pelvic floor physiotherapy appointment at Kinetic Physiotherapy with Erin in Maple Ridge.

The appointment started with some questions-a lot of super personal ones that I love talking about!

After the fun questions, she did an internal exam to see where my level of pelvic floor dysfunction was. Without getting into nitty-gritty details about things that I don’t understand enough to pretend to be an authority on, she told me a lot about the vagina and co. that I had no idea about (like bladder placement and sensitive points in the vaginal opening).

Once she was done the exam, Erin gave me some super simple exercises (yep, including PROPER kegels-which she explained) as homework to do every day until our next appointment.

I’m certain that many of you reading this are experiencing some symptom/s of pelvic floor issues (frequent urination, pressure in the pelvis, incontinence, bowel issues). I’ve felt that even just from making my first appointment for pelvic floor physiotherapy that my quality of life has improved. Simply knowing that I’m getting some professional help and am on way to having a pee free run or bounce on the trampoline has encouraged me immensely.

I urge you to do the same so that you can get your life back to normal, as well!

mastitis tips

The truth about breastfeeding: Mastitis

Mastitis.

Yep, it is as nasty as it sounds. Alongside things like blocked ducts, cracks, and blisters, Mastitis is a potential medical condition that can occur while breastfeeding.

Mastitis is inflammation in the breast tissue or milk ducts, in all or a portion of the breast. It can be caused by a variety of things, one of the most common being reducing the amount you’re breastfeeding. Yep-you can thank your baby and the massive growth spurt they just came down from (just kidding, you can’t blame your baby, obviously. Blame your partner. )

If you’re reading this you probably have symptoms of mastitis (flu-like symptoms, hard breast, redness in breast tissue, swollen breast) or have been diagnosed with mastitis and are waiting for me to get to the part on how the heck to deal with it. Okay, here goes:

How to deal with Mastitis

If you're experiencing symptoms of Mastitis you can find some relief with these tips, but always be sure to consult with your doctor!

(First thing first, my friend: I’m not a doctor. However, I’m a Mama who’s breastfed 4 babies and has had mastitis. I’m also a Postpartum Doula and have helped other Mamas with mastitis.

The information that I’m about to share with you is based on my personal experience of what’s worked, which is information based on research that I’ve done from reputable sources.)

Get rest

Your body is fighting an infection. You’re going to be run down. You’re going to be sore.

Give yourself some time to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and be kind to your body. Bring your baby into bed and grab a good book! Find someone to take care of any other children you have-right now you need to take care of you!

Feed that baby

You are going to want to continually drain the breast that has been affected by Mastitis. Put baby on that breast as often as possible-start with this breast every time you feed. Try different positions to see which one encourages baby to take the most milk. If your baby isn’t super into feeding as much as you need try some gentle hand expression or a pump.

Heat, heat, heat

Use a hot compress or warmed washcloth and apply it to the affected breast. The best tip, though? Get in the shower (lock the door to the bathroom, eh?), let the warm water do it’s magic, and very gently massage your breast to relieve some of the swelling. (This is a double positive- you get some relief and some time to yourself.

Do one or the other before every feeding to encourage milk flow. Make sure you don’t make your heat source excessively hot, however. You could cause damage to the skin.

See your doctor

Don’t hesitate to see your doctor right away if you have symptoms of Mastitis. Mastitis can get worse quickly and can build into even nastier things, like an abscess.

If you notice that you’re not getting relief within a few hours of the onset of symptoms be sure to book an appointment as soon as possible. Sometimes, antibiotics are necessary to get rid of the infection.

What are the main differences between a cesarean birth and a vaginal birth? There are some but they're more similar than you'd think!

What’s the difference between a Cesarean birth and Vaginal birth?

There are a couple of differences when it comes to cesarean birth vs vaginal birth but they’re more similar than you think!

Some folks feel like they could be pregnant forever. They love their changing bodies, the sensation of their growing baby in their belly, and the fact that most rules don’t apply to pregnant people:)

Other folks, however, are planning an exit strategy for their small tenant for months before they finally make their arrival.

No matter how you feel about your pregnancy the fact of the matter is that your baby will have to come out eventually!

What are the main differences between a cesarean birth and a vaginal birth? There are some but they're more similar than you'd think!

There are two ways that your baby is going to be welcomed into the earth:

Cesarean birth:

An incision is made into the birthing person’s womb and the baby either makes its way out or is pulled out by a surgeon. This type of birth must take place at a hospital.

Vaginal birth:

The baby makes its way down the birth canal and is born out of the vagina. This type of birth can take place at a hospital or at home.

That’s it! Those are your options. Do you know what the coolest thing about both options is? THEY’RE BOTH BIRTH. One is not better than or lesser than the other.

They both require preparation. They both require knowledge and information. They’re both physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. They both are painful. They’re both accomplishments.

They both make you a parent.

I’ve never personally had a cesarean birth. I had two vaginal hospital births and two vaginal home births. For those of you who have experienced both types of birth, I would love to hear your take on the difference between the two!

Birth is birth is birth, my friends. Regardless of how you welcomed your little person into the world your body has done something absolutely incredibly amazingly awe-inspiring. You are an absolute wonder.