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Postpartum Intimacy {5 Tips} -Guest Blog!

Whether you welcome the idea of sex postpartum or you're all nerves, it's something people think about. Most couples are experiencing overwhelming feelings, add that to lack of sleep, feeding a baby around the clock, appointments, and perhaps taking care of a toddler and the idea of sex is quite possibly laughable to you. This is normal!

For many others the idea of having to wait 6 weeks to have sex can feel like a lifetime. This too is normal!

I've put together a list of 5 tips for postpartum sex for all of the Wilmington Coastal

Doulas blog readers! Don't be afraid to read this blog, add some things to your toolbox,

and share it with your friends and mommy groups because it's possible that many of

them are googling for answers and ideas too!

Six weeks is the time frame that your provider will tell you to wait, but why? After you give birth your body needs adequate time to heal. No matter the route of delivery (vaginal or cesarean birth); your uterus is considered an "open wound" for 6 weeks.

It takes 6 weeks for your uterus to fully heal and reproductive organs to return to their pre-pregnancy form before putting anything inside of your vagina. It's also important to reduce the amount of bacteria that's introduced inside or outside of your vagina and perineum. Your cervix needs to return to a firm and closed position to minimize risk of infection.

Tip #1 Safety 1st

When we feel safe we're better able to get out of our logical/rational minds and into our

instinctual minds; it's where the magic happens in birth and in during sex! So creating a

safe space can be helpful. That will look different for different people. Maybe a safe space means asking a family member to keep the kids for a couple hours or having a friend sit downstairs with the baby or babies so you are free from distractions. If you don't want to become pregnant take precautions so your mind is free and safe from that! It could feel like lights completely off and soft music or in the shower, lights on with your favorite rock music playing to keep down any background noise that may "pull you away" from your alone time.

Tip #2 Time

Give yourself enough time to be ready. For some people it's in the back seat on the way

home from your 6 week checkup appointment, for others its 13 weeks, and others nearly a year or more out. It's ok to be ready in your own time. Returning to sex is not a one size fits all thing. If sex has been off the table for a long time and you're feeling anxious, leave yourself enough time not to feel rushed. Allow yourself and your partner enough time to work through any unexpected or fully expected emotions that may show up. Also, take your time physically when "getting back in the saddle", slow and study, is

ok, there is no race!

Tip #3 Start Solo

Sometimes starting alone means less pressure. If it helps you feel more relaxed and

comfortable why not? You can look at your body and all of its changes, mourn the loss of your old body, and embrace yourself in your newest physical form. You can touch

yourself and see what feels right and what you may not be ready for. May you know your body, may you love your body! Starting alone means you can get to know your body again without putting expectations on yourself. It can mean it's a step towards acceptance of your new body and enjoying sex again!

Tip #4 Position Matters

Get in a position that is most comfortable for you! You may have practiced getting

creative during pregnancy, trying different positions after birth is good too! You may be

surprised to find a position that you like more now than you did before. Being on top of

your partner allows for more control of penetration and speed, so there's that.

Tip #5 Lubrication

You'll want sex postpartum to feel as good as possible, whether it's penetrative or non-

penetrative sex the right lubrication can make all the difference, be ready! Not everyone needs penetration for sex to be enjoyable and vice versa, keep that in your toolbox!

After healing from birth the vagina can be a dry place. Don't let it hinder you. Even a

adequate amount of vaginal moisture can feel better with the right lubrication. There are

several options out there like Astroglide, Durex, K-Y Intense, and a common one to use

without condoms (not safe for use with condoms) is coconut oil.

Bonus Tip: Be Patient & Remember Intimacy

For many couples sex postpartum, especially the very first time can be emotional. It can

feel anticlimactic. This is normal. Don't let it deter you from having another go at it. For

many, sex after having a baby can feel more enjoyable! It gets better! Sex is a complex

intimate act about connection and pleasure, trust and many times love! It can be beneficial to focus on the journey instead of the destination; it doesn't have to end in

orgasm every time.

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