So potentially another topic people will question how I can blog about this…
‘But Farah, you haven’t got any children?’
Fortunately for me, I meet, talk and connect with hundreds of different women every week to have both first hand information, stories and also done plenty of research on the topic, so I would hope it will be an informative one!
A client once said to me:
“My first time having sex post-partum was extremely painful. I felt a tight sharp and steady pain that lasted for hours afterwards. Thinking that was a temporary side effect from having a baby, I waited it out, but quickly realised I was avoiding having sex altogether. Going to the doctors was less than informative. They didn’t really help me, or give me an idea of how this pain would subside. Then one of my friends recommend to go and see a pelvic floor specialist. The first benefit to attending the class was knowing that other women were going through the same thing. What a relief, I could have cried! Why does no one openly talk about this?!
The first thing I was taught was how to get to know my pelvic floor. I had spent all this time keeping my muscles contracted constantly. Daily practise of releasing and relaxing my pelvic floor was critical. I learned how to control that part of my body. Secondly, manual massage of the scar tissue from my tear allowed it to loosen up. After several weeks I felt pretty confident in trying intercourse again. Knowing how to actively use your pelvic floor muscles for intercourse is something I highly recommend. Getting to know my pelvic floor has allowed me to enjoy sex once again and read my body on a whole new level”
After childbirth our bodies need time to repair and heal in the area which carries the heaviest load – our pelvic floor and pelvic girdle. It is normal for women to feel some discomfort after a vaginal birth for up to 3 months post delivery.
I mean, most of the post delivery is on the baby – not the mother. It is time women started to look after themselves and put themselves first, even just 5 minutes per day (without feeling guilty!)
Firstly, let’s not ignore that your sexual desire may take on a different path with the addition of a child. Let’s acknowledge that returning to sexual activity after having a baby is a challenge for many couples. It is an exhausting lifestyle trying to manage a newborn baby 24/7. Finding a new routine for you, your partner and baby is always going to be tricky. As your bond develops with your baby you may be less available emotionally for a healthy sex life or your it may intensify romantic feelings for your partner.
Other issues may also be if you’re having vaginal discomfort, or dryness. You may also suffer with emotional and fears about how your postpartum body works, how it performs and also how your partner sees your body. Postpartum depression can also affect your desires.
Most doctors or midwives will recommend to wait at least 6 weeks before having sexual intercourse again. Do remember it generally takes around 4 weeks for the tissues in the vagina to recover from a vaginal birth. In addition, many women have low estrogen levels after childbirth and especially whilst breastfeeding, which can cause the vaginal walls to become temporarily dry and delicate.
Women’s health pelvic physical therapists are trained to assess the body as a whole with the emphasis on the impact of the musculoskeletal system on bladder, bowel and sexual function.
For those based in Basingstoke or Hampshire, you may have heard of Lola Turvey who runs Hypo-Tone UK. She is a women’s health pelvic physical therapist and I can never recommend her enough. You can find her by clicking here. She is my go to, to refer all my ladies to and all my post natal ladies need to go to her before coming to see me.
Getting in tune with your bodies is so crucial, not only for your confidence but also to ensure your relationship with your partner continues to flourish.