Do I Need a New Menstrual Cup After Giving Birth?

Some people are fortunate enough that it doesn’t matter what shape or design of a menstrual cup that they use.  For others, they may experience difficulties reaching their cup to remove it, or finding it uncomfortable while wearing.

 

Wider

  • The vagina might look and feel wider than before. It can also feel looser and softer. Your body went through a lot to deliver your baby (or babies)! Even if you didn’t give birth vaginally, your body still went through a lot of changes to prepare for it. Your vagina will probably never return to its original shape, but it will start to reduce a few days after giving birth.
  • The difference might be more noticeable for someone who had a baby that was large or had a large head, experienced complications during delivery, or have had several vaginal deliveries.
  • Pelvic floor exercises such as Kegel exercises may help get some tone back.
  • People who experience this may find that a larger or wider menstrual cup stays in place better.

Dryness

  • Estrogen helps keep vaginal tissue lubricated. When you’re pregnant, certain hormones, including estrogen, are elevated. However, estrogen levels drop after delivery and may cause the vaginal tissue to dry out. The lack of estrogen can also cause vaginal tissue to shrink and become thinner. Breastfeeding may also contribute to loss of estrogen.
  • This will happen no matter what type of delivery is performed, whether it is a vaginal delivery or a caesarean section (c-section).
  • People who experience dryness may find that using a narrower menstrual cup might be more comfortable to use along with a lubricant. If you are using a lubricant, make sure that it is water-based so it does not ruin the cup.
  • You should speak with your doctor if you experience extreme dryness.

Pain 

  • If you gave birth vaginally, your perineum can feel sore, especially if the skin was torn or cut and stitches were put in place to repair the area.
  • For those who had a c-section, the incision site will be tender. Pressure or muscle contractions may be uncomfortable at this time.
  • You may resume using your menstrual cup after your doctor gives you the OK to use internal protection and/or to have penetrative sex; however, you may still feel some discomfort. Don’t rush it. Everyone heals at different speeds.
  • People who experience slight pain may find that a narrower or softer cup is more comfortable to insert and wear.

Change in flow

  • As mentioned previously, pregnancy causes the hormones to be unbalanced. It will take time for your body to get back on track. During this time, the menstrual flow may be lighter or heavier than you had experienced prior to pregnancy.
  • People who experience a change in flow may find that a menstrual cup that is smaller or has less capacity is sufficient, while others may need a cup that is larger or that has higher capacity.

Incontinence

  • Childbirth can damage your pelvic floor. These are the muscles and other tissues that stretch like a hammock to help support the uterus, bladder and bowel. The pelvic floor also keeps them in the correct position so that they function properly. Pregnancy and childbirth can affect these muscles and nerves, which can cause issues. Common complaints include urine leaks while walking, jumping, laughing, sneezing, coughing, heavy lifting, etc.
  • Kegel exercises may help tone the pelvic floor muscles and keep leaks at bay. However, if the issue does not improve or they are extreme, you may want to speak with your doctor to go over your options.
  • Someone who experiences stress incontinence as described above may find that a firmer cup will apply slight pressure to the urethra, which can help stop small leaks. However, it is important to push out as much urine as you can when urinating so that a urinary tract infection (UTI) does not develop.
  • While not everyone notices a difference from before pregnancy, others can feel a definite change in their body. Therefore, if you need to change your menstrual cup, you may need a softer or a firmer cup, a shorter or longer cup, or a narrower or wider cup depending on each personal circumstance.

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