Hey Tranquility Tribe! This week, we are digging deep into all things down there - yup, vaginas! There’s no one better to guide us through this topic than the vagina aficionado herself, April Davis. April is the mastermind behind The Vagina Blog, an incredible blog and social media presence dedicated to our lady bits. In our society, most of us with vaginas are unfortunately not educated about our own anatomy and are quite frankly scared of poking around down there. As a doula, birth photographer, and birth assistant to a midwife, April has been up close and personal with too many vaginas to count, and she’s excited to share all she’s learned with you!
Caring for your vagina
The vagina is a self-cleaning, independent woman, but what do you do if you’re experiencing some stank down there? April is always waking down the feminine hygiene aisle and taken aback by all the special soaps, perfumes, and deodorants for sale that your vagina really doesn’t need. If you start shoving those things up or around here, you will mess with the natural flora of your vagina - and you really don’t want to mess with that pH! Water is truly the best for keeping your lady bits clean, but if you do want to use a wash, April recommends Good Clean Love’s natural moisturizing wash or even just plain, old school pine tar soap, which April uses for whole body - including her vagina.
When it comes to lube, you should be mindful of the synthetic chemicals that are found in many products, as the vaginal mucous membrane is super absorbent. Coconut oil works best for April, but she suggests doing your research and figuring out what’s best for you!
Of course, one of the biggest and overwhelming aspects of caring for our vaginas is managing our periods! There is so much out there these days and April goes very in-depth about all kinds of products on the blog, but she emphasizes that everyone is different and what works for her personally may not necessarily work best for others. From sea sponges to menstrual cups to cloth pads, there are so many things out there to try. April’s personal favorite is a menstrual disc, which sits up in the fornix rather than in the canal and is easy to both put in and put out. Hehe and April both love Thinx underwear - and April recommends them for postpartum bleeding too!
The vagina in pregnancy and childbirth
The vagina is the most stretchy part of our bodies, but it’s hard to believe that since we can’t really see it. Take the case of a freezing cold flaccid penis and compare that to a fully erect one. While we can’t get that same visual because the vagina is external, we should still keep in mind that our bodies were biologically made for handling the extreme stretch of childbirth!
The vagina heals itself very well, from minor cuts and scrapes to childbirth. While extreme tears require some extra help, when it comes to 1st and 2nd degree tears the vagina can heal quickly and significantly when you take the time to rest and stay down like you’re supposed to. Tears or not, it’s so important to take good care of your vagina after birth. One of April’s favorite postpartum products is Earth Mama Angel Baby’s perineal spray, which is super soothing on a sore vagina and also promotes healing. Ibuprofen and tumeric are great for inflammation along with ice packs on and off to keep swelling down.
After the initial six week postpartum period, kegels are great for bringing strength back into your vaginal muscles. But if things don’t quite feel like they’ve put themselves back together, you may be suffering from prolapse of one of your pelvic organs. Culturally, we tend to think our bodies are ruined after childbirth and that pain is just a part of post birth life - that’s not okay! Unfortunately, most OBs only check the cervix at the postpartum exam and don’t assess for prolapse, so you need to advocate for yourself in the office if you feel that something is off.
April has had three kids and each postpartum experience was completely different. For her first pregnancy she didn’t even consider the idea of sex before her six weeks appointment and with her second she was back to having sex within two weeks of giving birth. The key to postpartum sex is patience for all parties involved! April is sympathetic to partners supporting women who just had babies and who are eager to get back into things. Remember that you can always do other things to be intimate that don’t necessarily have to be intercourse - after all, orgasms are fantastic for healing!
If you’re interested in keeping up with April and all her vaginal musings, you can find her on Instagram @thevaginablog and of course, at http://thevaginablog.com/. She has a book club to help people on their educational journey when it comes to their lady bits - this month, they’ve been talking about The Guide to Getting it On, which talks about from everything to Barbie’s impact on women’s sexuality to how to give good head.
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