PREGNANCY AND VAGINISMUS:
Some TRUE and FALSE beliefs
ē You canít get pregnant with vaginismus: FALSE
Surprisingly as it may seem to some, women who cannot have penetrative sex can still get pregnant without a penis ever having entered them. These are called "splash pregnancies"!
When trying intercourse, if the man ejaculates near the opening, sperm can still sneak into the vaginal opening and down through the vaginal canal and tubes, to fertilize a womanís egg if sheís in her fertile days.
So yes, there can be a pregnant virgin. The immaculate conception story probably hid a case of vaginismus...! It's not an absurdity. So girls, you are warned. Make sure you're protected if there's any chance of semen getting near your vagina.
Anyway, for more information about splash pregnancies or support and information on how to get pregnant with the syringe or other methods not requiring penile penetration, you can join an anonymous online support group for women trying to conceive with vaginismus, which you can find here: health.groups.yahoo.com/group/ttcwithvag
ē After a vaginal delivery, your vaginismus will be cured. FALSE
Although it is possible of course that delivering a baby may make vaginismus go away, the proof that it often doesnít is in the number of women with vaginismus who told us they still experienced excruciating postpartum exams and still needed the smallest speculum too, with the amazement of doctors who thought that after delivering a 10 lb. baby, there really shouldnít have been any more problems inserting something smaller!
They were wrong.
What happens in these cases is that vaginas have stretched to their maximum in order to allow the baby to go out and then have gone back to their original size.
Although we just wrote above how a vaginal delivery is totally possible, stretching is usually extremely painful (to say the least) unless pain-killers or anaesthetics like an Epidural are injected, and the delivery itself can be quite traumatic with need for an extra incision (episiotomy) or there can be tearing and pain lasting for a while after the baby is out.
All this pain certainly doesnít help a vagina believe that things can get in and out of her painlessly, quite the opposite in fact. It can only reinforce that belief and not only make a woman afraid of sex but terrified of the thought of getting pregnant again and having to go through such pain again, so it is very understandable that the muscles will tense at every new attempt of penetration after birth.
It's common for women after having a baby with a traumatic birth, not to want to have sex anymore or for a while. Vaginismus acts as an understandable defense mechanism here too.
There shouldnít be any rush to try and fix vaginismus right after having a baby. We would suggest you to let your vagina recover first, focus on your baby and take YOUR timeÖ
Read also our:
Giving birth will make vaginismus go away.
ē You canít have a natural, vaginal delivery with vaginismus: FALSE
Although you may want to prepare yourself for a different outcome, such as needing a C-section, or you may ask for one if you donít think you could deal with the pain associated with the delivery (and itís fair enough), there is no other reason why a woman with vaginismus could not have a regular vaginal delivery.
Vaginismus is about muscles contracting not to let something in, but when a baby is inside you and needs to come out, itís a totally different matter and your body will follow the flow and your vagina will dilate as much as it has to!
If you are worried about having an intact hymen, unless your hymen is imperforate (but itís a one in a million chance and they should find that out when you donít menstruate), that won't be an obstacle for your baby!
So, be assured that if you want to and nothing else gets in the way, the muscles and the hymen which can cause problems with intercourse and tampons, wonít be able to prevent your baby from coming outside of your vagina.
Although we use the brick wall metaphor for vag, you donít have an actual one down there.
Although itís a sad comparison, it has to be said that if a woman with vaginismus is raped, the clamping muscles or a rigid hymen will unlikely save her from the attack and the penetration.
The resistance they cause is not as strong that violence or something as powerful as a baby coming out will not be able to overpower them.
That said, it doesnít mean the delivery will be pain free of course. But no woman is guaranteed that, with or without vaginismus...
ē Vaginal Delivery may have caused your Vaginismus: TRUE
Some women with secondary vaginismus often find they develop it after giving birth vaginally. It makes total sense given the pain they can go through... Once again, your body will be sending you the clear message "You're not getting me into that situation again!!" and you may just need to take it seriously rather than fixing it.
Painful intercourse after pregnancy may be caused by a whole range of other factors such as hormonal changes in the body, a very painful even traumatizing birth-experience, vaginal tearing etc, but some other factors seem totally avoidable, unnecessary, unjustified and harmful for women.
One of these potentially harmful practices is:
EPISIOTOMYA.K.A. among bad doctors as: "Adding that extra stitch for him"
The operation in itself is often really needed to fix vaginal tearing, but the extra stitch that male doctors are quite famous to add to make a womanís vagina tighter and more pleasing for the man is INEXCUSABLE and can cause painful sex to women, which then can cause vaginismus.
Women who were able to have sex no problem, find that after giving birth they can no longer have sex without being in pain. Not all associate the episiotomy to the extra stiches and it could take a long time before they find out what they have and what it was caused by.
This habit must come to an end. We would suggest you to openly complain to the doctor who performed the episiotomy or be vocal before giving birth about how if the need should arise for an episiotomy, you donít want them to stitch your vagina an extra bit to make it tight.. This would make it harder for them to get away with it.
If your vaginismus stems from a bad episiotomy with too many stiches, you may just need to retrain your vagina by using smaller dilators than your partnerís penis until they can be inserted without pain or discomfort or you may want to try to dilate a bit right before having intercourse. Also, we know that some doctors will prescribe numbing creams or even injections so that you wonít feel the pain and be able to have intercourse.
Of course youíre free to decide for yourself if thatís a method you want to pursue, but we believe it is terrible and certainly all in favour of maleís pleasure only, that a vagina should be numbed in order to be penetrated, especially since there is no need for the two partners to rush things up after a pregnancy or have intercourse instead of other less invasive form of sexual activities.
ē During pregnancy, you can ask not to have some or even all internal exams and pap-smears: TRUE
Pregnancy is not an illness.
Exams during pregnancy can be helpful but remember that they are not absolutely necessary for a healthy childbirth. There are women we know who didn't have internal exams during pregnancy, and they did just fine anyway. Some understanding doctors have treated them all the way through delivery without one internal exam. So our advice is to find an understanding gynaecologist who knows about vaginismus and to talk about your problems with them, and ask to be informed about your rights.
Remember that not being stressed out while carrying your future baby is a much better form of prevention than many of those internal exams.
What can you tell those busybody who asks you what are you waiting for before having a baby?
That's a problematic one. That is, if you want to be politically correct. We've heard women who replied to a
"When are you going to have a baby?"
with a "When are you going to die?"
:) Slightly harsh, but hey, they have a point. You can't really predict certain things, can you? And don't people know about infertility ?? It's hard to believe some insensitive people will still ask this question as if they were asking where are you going to go on new year's eve...
Truth is, insensitive people are around and women with vaginismus may be particularly sensitive to such questions, so here is what we can just suggest you to do. And mind you, the reply above is not too bad if you're daring and they asked once too many. It does get the message through!
So if you don't want to openly reveal that you have vaginismus or a sexual problem causing you problems conceiving, you can tell her/him that having a baby is a very important decision to make and you're not making it lightly.
You could tell them that's a very private question to ask and look them in the eye for a bit, like, how dare you?
You could tell them that not all married women HAVE to have a child or not necessarily one within the first year of their marriage. This may be tough to express in countries where ALL women are supposed to want a child and to get pregnant as soon as they get married. It's very hard.. but the pressure on women to get pregnant is just too much and unfair, so if you feel you can start raising awareness by replying to these people saying that, you know what?, you're not feeling that pressure, it would be great of course.
If they are religious, you could tell them that children are God's gift and that you're leaving it up to Him/Her/Them and maybe to pray for you instead of asking.
Hey, you don't have to reply just because someone asks you a question, you know? You may be a people's pleaser and think you owe them a reply but honestly, we would cheer you if you decided to just give them a cold look and turned your back to them and left. That would send a message too.
The biological clock and setting yourself free from its pressure
Having vaginismus in your 30's or 40's can mean an additional burden for a woman: the thought that she knows she won't have too much time to try and get rid of it, cause she may lose her last chances to get pregnant forever.
Many of us felt that sort of pressure and anguish.. It can lead women to try all sorts of things and feel extremely stressed and depressed too.
Now, the following point of view is just some food for thought for those of you who feel under that pressure but who feel that things shouldn't be that way and who are eager to try and see things differently to end that stress and finally feel better about themselves. Though it's really a simple thought, it may not be everyone's cup of tea and it may take some time to sink in, but it could be liberating so we thought it's worth sharing it here from those who may benefit from seeing 'motherhood' from a perspective which is not the main biological one.
Please click on MOTHERHOOD = PREGNANCY ? if you want to keep reading. Thank you.
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|DISCLAIMER: This site is not designed to provide medical advice. All material is gathered from the experience of hundreds of women who experienced vaginismus but it is for information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional or medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Please review the information contained on vaginismus-awareness-network.org carefully and confer with a health care professional specialized in vaginismus, as needed.|