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Sensations and Symptoms

Urinary Urgency/Frequency      Bladder Control     Bowel Control

Constipation    Vaginal Bulge      Vaginal Changes      Pain

Urinary Urgency/Frequency   

During and after pregnancy, you may feel you are going to the bathroom to empty your bladder more often. This may also be associated with urge to urinate and possibly even urinary leakage.

In a study of women following childbirth, about 50% saw improvement of urinary urgency  at 1 year following childbirth. 

In a study of women following childbirth, 60% saw improvement of urinary frequency  at 1 year following childbirth. 

More information.

Bladder Control

Urinary incontinence is the leaking of urine that you cannot control. This can happen with physical activities, with coughing or sneezing and/or with feeling an urgent need to urinate.

Leaking of urine with physical activities can occur in up to 25-30% of women following childbirth. This can improve over time, but if it is still present at your postpartum visit, you should discuss this with your clinician.

More information.

Bowel Control

Control of gas and stool can change after delivery. Accidental bowel leakage is the leaking of stool or gas that you cannot control.

More information. 


Constipation, or hard stools, can happen for many reasons. Some women can experience bothersome  feelings of incomplete emptying of stool or a sensation of stool being stuck. Improving stool consistency, or making it softer, can help. 

Constipation improves in over 50% of women at 1 year following childbirth.

More information. 

Vaginal Bulge 

Pelvic organ prolapse is when the bladder, bowel, or uterus drop down in the vaginal canal. Symptoms of prolapse vary for each woman and treatment options depend on the level of bother. New sensations of prolapse following a delivery may improve within the first year.

In a study of women following childbirth, 75% of women who feel a bulge improved by 1 year following childbirth.

More information.

Vaginal Changes

After delivery, the pelvic floor can experience many changes. The pelvic muscles and nerves have stretched to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal.  Most of the time, the muscles recover without any symptoms. Unfortunately, some women have described a sense of looseness and decreased overall sensation. Pelvic floor physical therapy can be helpful to engage and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

More information.


After childbirth, pain in the vagina or pelvis can occur. Pain may be related to healing of vaginal tissue/muscles following a tear during delivery.

More information on vaginal tears.

Pain during sex may occur after delivery. This can be due to healing vaginal tissue, thinning of the vaginal tissue due to hormonal changes, or changes in the vaginal canal.  Talk with your clinician if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

Pain that persists can be due to many reasons and should be checked by your clinician.