Nurture Article | The Portland Hospital Parenting Magazine
Spring Issue 2012 | Elizabeth Jeffries
Q I have just had my first child. How soon can I have sex again?
A Sex after childbirth does happen. Honestly. But exactly when you resume your sex life, will depend on a range of medical, psychological and emotional factors.
Soreness after childbirth, exhaustion from the delivery and the early days of motherhood, and getting to grips with looking after your newborn all take their toll. Some women are in the mood for sex within days of having a baby while for others it is the last thing on their mind. The key is to set your own timeline, based on your own circumstances and feelings. There is no right or wrong answer - but here are a few things you should know.
Following childbirth – whether it is a vaginal or caesarean delivery – the body needs time to heal. The cervix needs to close, post-delivery bleeding stop and any tears, cuts, or c-section incision heal. The general medical advice is that it is safe to resume having sex after your six-week post-natal check. However, the type of birth and interventions a woman has during childbirth can impact on how quickly she resumes her sex life. For example, if a woman has had a vaginal birth without any tears or need of stitches, then a couple can resume making love within a couple of weeks of the birth once a woman has stopped bleeding. On the other hand, if the woman feels sore from stitches or from an episiotomy cut, then sex may be delayed for six weeks or longer.
Recovering physically from the ordeal of childbirth, however, is not the only consideration. The sheer exhaustion of looking after a newborn, baby blues and changes in how you feel about your body after childbirth mean that, for many women, sex is the last thing on their minds.
Sexual relationships do change after having children – there’s no doubt about it, so don’t expect everything will instantly return to normal. The good news, though, is that for most couples any problems soon resolve themselves. Supporting each other as new parents – whether it is giving each other a break, making a nice dinner once in a while or unexpectedly bringing home flowers or a nice bottle of wine – will go a long way towards adjusting your relationship to being parents. And who knows what that might lead on to? However, unless you are hoping to become pregnant right away, don’t forget birth control – even if you are breastfeeding!
Q Are complementary therapies safe to use on babies and children?
A The short answer is yes. However, the key is to use a therapist who is experienced in treating children. Homeopathy – a form of holistic medicine where the treatment is tailored to the individual - is often very successful at treating children’s problems and improving babies’ sleep and wellbeing. Many parents find massage a wonderful way to communicate with their baby and it can also help alleviate colic or snuffles.
Cranial osteopathy can be used to treat the strains and tensions a baby experiences during childbirth which can cause difficulties sucking, digesting, sleeping and crying. Osteopaths use a very gentle touch or hold on different parts of the body to treat these strains. Babies can be treated straight after birth and experts recommend that the mother has a treatment as well, as the effects of pregnancy and labour can have a profound effect on the mother’s nervous system. The Portland Hospital specialises in complementary therapies. For more information go to www.theportlandhospital.com