Let’s talk about sex baby… (I know it’s in your head now isn’t it? Sorry ?) When we are in the process of making the babies sex can become repetitive, a bit clinical and a means to an end. Then we get pregnant and have to deal with the morning sickness, the swollen ankles and all the other fun things that go with pregnancy none of which make us feel up to jumping in the sack and have a raunchy night. Now don’t get me wrong there are some women who feel amazing during pregnancy and feel that their libido is heightened but this is often not the case.
Added to this many men can feel uncomfortable about having sex with their partners once they are pregnant for fear of harming the baby (don’t get me started…) but this can also lead to a lack of bedroom activity.
And then the baby comes and even the thought of getting naked is enough to have you running for the hills.
Sadly, more marriages break up in the first 18 months after childbirth than at any other time and lack of sex is often cited as a contributing factor. And this can be from both sides. A lot of men struggle to see their partners in a sexual light after they have seen them give birth and become a mother. Dis interest in sex can translate to either partner as a dis interest in them. It can take work on both sides to get your mojo back.
But there are things we can do.
Here are the common reasons your sex drive might be non-existent and what you can try and do about it.
Did you know that 34% of women experience some sort of trauma in childbirth? This could be everything from a few stitches through to a fourth-degree tear. Understandably this can lead to all kinds of anxious feelings about the vaginal area and anything going with in its vicinity.
Taking Arnica can help with healing along with allowing fresh air to get to the area. Now I’m not suggesting you go for wander round Sainsburys starkers but when you get out of the bath try sitting on the bed and let yourself air dry for a little while. It’s important to listen to your midwife and health visitor in regard to healing and when it’s safe to even think about having sex again. This is an area that a lot of dads need educating on so try and take your partner with you to your check-up post birth so they can ask the mid wife any questions.
Another thing a new baby brings is a massive case of sleep deprivation and fatigue for the parents. And we all know that when we are tired, we are more prone to arguing and irritability which in turn leads to less sex. One thing that might help here if you can be to take a night away. If you are happy leaving your little one with perhaps a grandparent/Aunt/Uncle etc then a night away in a hotel just to get a full nights uninterrupted sleep can do the world of good. Don’t make the trip away about having sex though. Make it more about rejuvenation and rest. If the sex happens then great but don’t pile on the pressure. And make this clear before you go between the two of you so there are no mixed signals!
Ok here comes the science bit…
If you are breastfeeding that can lead to a dip in your libido. When we breast feed, we release prolactin which reduces our sexual desire. Plus cuddling a baby all day releases oxytocin which fulfils your natural need for closeness and means you don’t need to seek that closeness elsewhere. Educate your partner around this and explain that once you begin to wean your baby your libido will naturally increase.
When we experience insomnia and low mood that sometimes comes hand in hand our serotonin levels dip which leads to a decrease in feelings of desire. If your low mood is continuing and you feel its becoming a problem then please go and talk to your GP. It may be the case that course of anti-depressants is needed to help balance your serotonin levels along with some talking therapy to give you tools to move forward.
As a mum all of our energies go into looking after the new arrival and this can lead partners to feel left out and then resentful. Taking some time out to talk to your partner about how you are feeling and planning some simple activities to do together such as going for a walk or a lunch together will help to regenerate feelings of closeness.
Lower your expectations and find other ways to be intimate. Short achievable goals are the best way to start. Sitting together on the sofa to watch a movie, taking a bath or shower together, a nice back or foot rub will all start to increase the levels of closeness. Try and set quality time aside each week even for an hour when you both know this is time for you as a couple not as mummy and daddy.
When we give birth, we can be left with a negative body image and don’t feel sexy or attractive. I for one was four stone over weight after I gave birth and it took time before I felt attractive again. If you are breastfeeding, then you can buy pretty nursing under wear from sites like www.hotmilklingerie.com which can help you to feel more like your old self. Taking some time out each week for some pampering of yourself will help to make you feel more like your old self. Try agreeing that one night each week you are going to have an hour for yourself to have a long bath. Self care is important after give birth so dont put yourself at the bottom of the list.
Most important of all is to communicate with your partner. Have lines of communication open and be honest.
Take your time. It takes 9 months to grow a baby so give yourself the same amount of time the other side to recover and get back to being a hot mama.