If you haven't had chance to visit Janet's blog yet, here is a little about her:
And now for Janet's post, I hope you all enjoy it!Janet Cooper is a graduate of English and Creative Writing BA (Hons) and is currently studying an MA in English Studies. She currently runs her own business as a freelance and online Tutor/Assessor, but hopes to become an English Lecturer or work in a role that utilises the creative element of her degree. She is a published writer and has other publications currently on the horizon. She is a keen blogger and social networker, and was appointed as the Copywriting Team Leader for Spectral Visions Press in January 2015.
Let’s Talk About Sex… After (natural) Childbirth
The thought of sex after the birth of your first child can be a very daunting, even scary, prospect. There are a lot of worries surrounding this delicate topic, for instance you might be concerned that you are not the same down below, or that it will feel different for your partner (not as good for instance), or that it will be uncomfortable. The fact that this isn’t an ideal topic of conversation also makes it a very isolating issue. Some are comfortable discussing their concerns or trying to find out what is ‘normal’ – if there is a normal that is, but others are private and don’t feel this is something they can discuss. I am here to share my own experience after giving birth on three occasions – let’s break the stigma, let’s talk about sex AFTER childbirth.
The truth is, you don’t need to worry and you are not alone!
I imagine that it is different for everyone and obviously I am only able to discuss this from my own personal experience and view point. After a natural childbirth bleeding for several weeks is common and for me, one of the main issues was that I didn’t feel fully clean and fresh. When you choose to have sex for the first time, it should be a personal choice and decisions often relate to the heaviness of the bleed, whether you feel up-to-it, and whether the birth was traumatising too. I always made sure that I felt ready, that I was prepared, especially after my first child. Don’t forget that there are other ways of being close to your partner, and your partner will want you to be comfortable – the chances are they will not want to make you uncomfortable.
My partner and I are really close, we are good friends and it’s simple, we talk about everything. We have a mutual respect for one another and can talk about anything. Talking through my worries helped and we agreed to try when I was ready and he said ‘tell me to stop if it’s uncomfortable’. He completely put my mind at ease by being gentle, and asking if ‘it’ was OK. Knowing that he took my feelings into account and cared enough to put me in control was reassuring. After my first child, it was strange using a condom whilst the contraceptive pill kicked in but to be honest, that was the only thing I found strange – there was no pain and I had worried over nothing!
Don’t put pressure on yourself – give yourself a break!
I have heard others say that they lost their sex drive after childbirth, and this can also be perfectly normal. We are all different and some need more time than others. You have squeezed a baby out of a tiny hole – I mean jeez, if you don’t feel like sex for a while just give yourself time. You are also adapting to parenthood and it’s hard work! Give yourself a break and don’t worry about it. If you do find it becomes a problem then seek medical advice. A lower sex drive can happen due to worrying and tiredness so don’t give yourself a hard time. Make time to resume intimacy – kiss and cuddle with your partner, and relax. Everything doesn’t have to be about sex and it may just be that you feel distant due to this new addition in your life, so get the closeness back and spend time together and it might just happen – you don’t need to plan it (although you may get disturbed now you have a child lol).
This is all strange for your partner too, so talking can really help. Remember to consider your partner’s feelings too, and they could be just as nervous as you are!
Just to put the ‘hurting’ theory to rest, my first try at sex after all three of my children – it did not hurt. I’ve never needed stitches so it may be different for those who have, they might need longer to heal. I do think that I personally worried with my first child as I tore slightly, not enough to need stitches but after childbirth urinating can sting, and anything else feels like your insides are falling out and I think that these being uncomfortable experiences is the foundation for this worrying ‘if it hurts when I go to the toiler initially, how the hell is sex going to feel?’ If you have had a traumatic time during childbirth, this could also contribute to the angst too but again, move at your own pace.
If you do find it uncomfortable I would seriously suggest talking to your doctor or nurse. Obviously, you feel different down there and you must keep up with your pelvic floor exercises to strengthen your bladder but most of us return to almost our previous selves pretty quickly. Again if you are experiencing issues you should certainly talk to your doctor or nurse.
Remember contraception can change the way sex feels too, so it may not be down to the effects of giving birth after all – condoms, if you aren’t used to using it as you have been trying for a baby, can make sex seem not as pleasant as it isn’t skin-to-skin contact.
My Top Five Tips for Having Sex after Childbirth for the First Time
1. Only attempt sex when you are ready – don’t feel pressured into it!
2. Try to relax – take a bath before and after and create a relaxing atmosphere (candles, music, whatever is needed)
3. Talk through your worries with your partner – what’s a relationship without honesty? Talk to your partner – they love and respect you, and you show trust by confiding in them. It’s a mutual thing!
4. Start off slow, spend time together snuggling, and then see what happens. Have plenty of foreplay, and only continue if YOU are comfortable. Remember to allow yourself plenty of time to ease into it.
5. Don’t be afraid to consult a health professional about any concerns – that’s what they’re there for.
You may have had totally different experiences to me, and if you are brave enough to share then please comment below. Tell us, was it painful for you? What did you do? Did you worry? How did you overcome your fears? Maybe you had a caesarean section – what did that mean for sex after child birth for you? My three births were all natural, and pretty straight forward so it would be great to have a different perspective, so don’t be shy!
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