Pregnancy FRQs

I can't have intercourse and my biological clock is ticking. Any advice?

Understanding these pressures, we fully sympathize with those whose clocks are ticking loudly and support them in their efforts to conceive. Where possible, however, we encourage women to continue to work at overcoming vaginismus while they pursue pregnancy options. As vaginismus is usually treated successfully within a reasonable time, couples are often able to resolve their vaginismus prior to conception and childbirth.
 
Beyond obviously assisting with conception, eliminating the vaginismus problem contributes to a more relaxed pregnancy and a healthier couple relationship in which to parent children. The desire to become pregnant can actually be a major motivator for a woman to complete a vaginismus program more rapidly.
 

Will vaginismus have complications or impede vaginal delivery of a baby?  Will the pelvic floor muscles spasm or cause problems?

Unresolved vaginismus may present some challenges during pregnancy, but will not normally impede the actual vaginal delivery process. Although childbirth is typically experienced naturally, just as it occurs for women without vaginismus, there may be difficulties with pelvic exams and other pre/post-natal procedures or with medical interventions during complications of delivery. Thus, women would be advised to consider resolving their vaginismus prior to delivery.
 
Please note that a consultation with a physician is necessary to confirm the applicability of treatment options and to ensure that there are no risks posed by any treatment methods.
 

Can childbirth cause vaginismus?  Can it be prevented?

Fortunately, vaginismus is not a normal outcome of natural childbirth. However, if a woman has experienced trauma, physical or emotional, during the birth process the vaginismus condition may be triggered.
 
Intercourse following childbirth may be uncomfortable or painful due to temporary vaginal bruising, procedures such as episiotomies, tearing of the perineum, attempting to have intercourse before healing is complete, and/or vaginal dryness due to hormonal changes/breastfeeding.
 
It is normal to have some vaginal tenderness upon commencing intercourse. However, ongoing penetration difficulties benefit from further investigation and may be due to vaginismus.
 

Can natural childbirth help relieve pre-existing conditions by stretching the vaginal opening?

Some women may experience minor improvement as a result of the birthing process, but others may see their condition worsen as a result of additional trauma or recovery pain. Usually without treatment the vaginismus remains, although each case is different and it is difficult to determine what a woman’s experience will be.
 

If I am unable to have pelvic exams due to vaginismus, how will I handle my prenatal care? Untreated vaginismus may present some challenges during pregnancy.

Some, but not all women with vaginismus, will experience pelvic tightness or spasms during even simple routine pelvic exams. For this reason, vaginismus may present problems during prenatal care visits, vaginal ultrasounds, pre/post-delivery pelvic exams, and other procedures. The best solution for these tightness problems is for women to treat the vaginismus so they can eliminate the limbic system response and make both intercourse and pelvic exams possible without pain or difficulty.