I don't know about you, but I didn't really hear much about how your body recovers and how a sex life can continue post-pregnancy.
First off, let's just talk logistics.
You have a newborn baby which likely means....
- You aren't getting very much sleep
- The sleep you do get is in short spurts
- You rarely have time to shower and take care of yourself
- Your breasts have now taken on a whole new purpose and are more sensitive than you ever thought they would be
- Your breasts will hurt. Breastfeeding is hard and takes a while to get used to.
- You will likely have a really heavy period that lasts 2-6 weeks
- Your crotch will be a mess. You may have torn or had an episiotomy.
- You will be terrified to squat on the pot and poop.
- Not only will you be terrified to use the restroom, you might be a wee bit scared to let anything in that general area as well
- You will still have pregnancy fat for a while. It took 9 months to put on and will probably take that long to get off.
- You will be on an emotional roller coaster. You thought pregnancy was bad? Just wait. You could end up being a constant fountain of tears.
- Birth control could be difficult to figure out after having a baby. There are a variety of options. Make sure you talk to your health care provider. And yes, you can become pregnant right after having a baby even if you're breastfeeding.
- Most health care providers suggest not having sex for 6 weeks after the birthing process
- You will be worried about your baby and find it difficult to have an entire conversation with your husband
- ..... and the list could go on and on.
Having a baby is just hard! It's hard emotionally, physically, mentally and relationally.
If you have any, some or most of the typical baby adjustments going on, it could be hard to even have time to think about sex or even some quiet romance between you and your husband.
Let me tell you this little secret... If you have a good relationship with your husband, parenting will be so much easier than if you don't. Nourish the relationship you have with your spouse. Get out on dates. Make time for each other. Don't neglect each other. Communicate. That is my best advice for sex during the fourth trimester. Make each other a priority. Don't make the baby the only focus of your life and push your husband to the back burner. He will help out more and having a baby will be more manageable as you remember to include him in your life.
Husbands have a tough role during the fourth trimester. They don't quite know what you're going through and are trying their best to adjust to fatherhood and continue being supportive of your role as a mother. Be kind to your spouse.
A few other tips I have for you...
- If your doctor strongly recommends you wait 6 weeks, wait 6 weeks. You don't want to risk a tear or infection. There are other ways to satisfy both you and him.
- Take it slow when you have sex again post-baby. Basically, it will be like it's your first time again. Relax. Use lube. It's common for there to be some dryness with all of the hormone changes. You may also notice you aren't as tight anymore. Do some kegels. Take control of your encounter. If you had a c-section, your abs will likely hurt a lot so just take it slow. You don't want to hurt yourself.
- You will be interrupted by a crying baby. It's just a matter of when. Men tend to react physically more to this than women at times. I heard some people that called their baby crying the "penis alarm" because they would inevitably be interrupted and the man would lose his erection. It just happens. Laugh it off and resume later.
- Visit a lactation specialist to get help breastfeeding. It should only hurt for a few weeks. If it's still hurting, just go get some feedback. Breastfeeding also helps you burn the baby fat faster than working out and helps your uterus shrink back. Once you get breastfeeding down, it will be easier for you to realize that breasts can be for fun and function. Lanolin works wonders.
- Shower, get dressed and take good care of yourself. You will be more in the mood when you are well taken care of. Find some lingerie that you feel good in. Lace does wonders for stretch marks...
- Don't get all caught up in your stretch marks, baggy skin, the fact you can't fit in your pre-pregnancy pants etc. You just birthed a baby! Your husband is likely thrilled that you carried that baby and happy to have the baby around. He doesn't care that your body is changed and neither should you.
- Track when the baby tends to sleep and plan a little bedroom retreat during a nap time. Your hormones will be a bit crazy and having sex usually tends to make you feel a bit better and like you can deal with life again or if you're highly anxious and having trouble sleeping, maybe it will make you sleepy.
- Accept other people's offers to help and watch the baby a bit- even if it's just for an hour nap for yourself or for a free meal. Don't feel like you have to do everything perfectly as a new mom. Nobody actually does everything on their Pinterest Board.
What helped get you through the fourth trimester?
What questions do you have about after delivery?