Is My Vagina Normal?

While we all love a cute baby, there’s a lot of unpleasant side affects from pushing one out of your vagina. Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) -- when your organs (bladder, uterus, or rectum) shift in position and then bulge into (or out of) your vaginal canal -- can be one of them. In fact, vaginal birth is one of leading causes of POP.

Say what? I read the part about organs bulging out but what does that really mean? Between the bladder, the uterus, and the rectum lies connective tissue. Think of this connective tissue as bookends, helping to keep the organs in their position. When the connective tissue becomes weak, the bookends fall behind on their job and the books (or organs) begin to collapse into onto another.

Who gets POP?

The truth is, POP Is way more common than you think. In fact, either you or your best friend probably has it (especially if you’ve gone though childbirth or menapause) because 50 percent of women have some degree of POP. Yup, half of us women have experienced this. How do you know if you’re one of them?

Many women don't have any symptoms of POP. And many others suffer silently with symptoms they don't understand. Those who do have symptoms may feel vaginal fullness or pressure or as if a tampon is falling out. This pressure often gets more pronounced later in the day. Some women complain of not being able to fully void their bladder or bowels or of uncomfortable sex. And of course, when you don’t recognize the cause of symptoms, your minds can be your worst enemy, imagining the most negative scenario.

So why does it happen?

One of the jobs of the pelvic floor/core is to balance the pressures above it, namely intraabdominal pressure. Anything that increases the pressure in our abdomen (straining in the bathroom, heavy lifting or over challenging exercise, prolonged coughing) can overwhelm the pelvic floor muscles when they lack coordination and the ability to counter the pressures above it. And your pelvic floor is particularly vulnerable postpartum.

The pelvic floor fatigues long before the heart or lungs during exercise. Pelvic floor damage can happen when the pelvic floor fatigues in a workout. Repeated rises of intra-abdominal pressure or even one sudden, heavy episode may result in POP in some women.

When it comes to postpartum, returning to high impact exercise or lifting heavy weights before regaining pelvic floor muscle strength and postural alignment postpartum results in more strain and damage to pre-weakened muscles, supporting ligaments and connective tissue.

Is there hope for me?

There are both conservative and surgical options for correcting prolapse. Pelvic floor therapy can help balance the muscular support against the internal pressure system above it and also help you learn strategies for protecting yourself during daily habits that can exacerbate the pressure (lifting up baby, going from sit to stand, etc). Pessaries are another conservative option made of medical-grade silicone that you insert into your vagina. It provides support to the connective tissue compromised “bookend.” There are also numerous surgical options can help POP such as abdominal repair, transvaginal repairs, robotic repairs, laparoscopic repairs, etc.

But the most positive approach we can take is to increase awareness to enable women to recognize POP symptoms when they first occur or better yet, ways to decrease the likelihood of it happening. When POP becomes common knowledge, it will become more readily identifiable and women will be able to seek earlier, less aggressive treatment. Knowledge is power; share this information with your girlfriends, sisters, colleagues and family.

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Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.


Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.


Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.


Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.


Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.


Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


For all the sweating and swimming I do in the summer, it seems illogical for my skin to be as parched as ever. But your mid-thirties (and 2020 in general) don't really seem to follow any rule book, so here we are.

A couple of months ago, I was on the lookout for a moisturizer that would not only keep my legs from looking like an ashy mess, but also truly nourish and benefit my skin. I've developed a deep interest in skin care for my face over the past few years and decided it's high time to extend that degree of consideration to the rest of my body. (After all, there's more of it, right?)

It's not that I'm too concerned with aging, but let's be real. If there's something that can be done to slow the Wrinkle Express, I'm going to give it a go. I also wanted to find something natural that wouldn't turn into a goopy mess the second I started sweating.

Enter: Esker's Firming Body Oil.

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Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.

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