Is sex part of the healing process

Mom blog -

Suddenly you are a family: Children can change a lot - including couple sexuality. Image: Raisa Durandi

How does a couple find fulfilling sexuality again after giving birth?

On average, doctors recommend waiting between four to six weeks after the birth before intercourse until the so-called weekly flow (occurs during the healing of the uterus) has stopped and the birth wounds have healed as a result of a perineal or caesarean section. After that, nothing stands in the way of resuming sexual activity, provided that both are ready for it. Accordingly, some couples revive their sex life directly in the first month after giving birth, while for others it sometimes takes up to a year. Here, too, there is no such thing as a norm that you have to adhere to.

When a couple becomes sexually active again depends not only on the pace of the physical healing process, but also on other circumstances. A lot can change after the birth, which in some cases leads to the fact that the sex life, as it took place before the birth, undergoes noticeable changes. Sleep deprivation often steals energy, 24-hour infant care leads to exhaustion, the protective instinct towards the baby can cause a shift in attention and the partner and his or her needs are suddenly no longer the focus. In addition, breastfeeding can make breasts irritated and heavy, and the hormonal changes can lead to vaginal dryness and consequent pain during intercourse. Often the genital area also feels wide and "worn out". It is perfectly normal for sex to be the last thing you think about in a situation like this. From a practical point of view, it can make sense to use a lubricant in the postpartum period to reduce friction. Try new positions, which also reduce the pressure on the painful areas.

Pelvic floor exercises or sports courses for young mothers also help to train the muscles around the vagina. The most important thing, however, is to talk about the pain and physical discomfort and clearly communicate to your partner what feels good and what hurts.

In addition to these problems, there are often a number of fears that add to the burden on women. For example, the worry that you will no longer be able to satisfy your partner or that you will no longer please him due to the physical changes that take place in all women during pregnancy and childbirth. But childbirth not only burdens women, many men are initially self-conscious and inhibited for fear of hurting the woman. That is why it is important to get to know sexuality anew in this changed situation and to get closer again. Maintaining intimacy can not only happen through sex, but also by taking time for each other, even if it is only a few minutes a day, cuddling a lot and exchanging tenderness so that the physical rapprochement is slowly resumed.

After studying clinical psychology at the University of Zurich, Andrea Burri conducted research in England at King’s College and in Turku, Finland. Since July she has been an assistant professor at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand.