Mama Truths: Traumatic Birth – What Does it Look Like?

My name is Fi and I had a traumatic birth experience.

On the face of it I had a perfect home birth. I had prepared with a Daisy Birthing course and Couples Workshop.  I had read every research article, blog, opinion piece and watched all the positive birth videos my heart could handle!

I wrote affirmations and my birth plan with pride and fierce concern for mine and my baby’s well being. I coached my husband on what to do with the pool, interventions and such like.

My community midwife whom I had seen for every single antenatal appointment was on holiday when I went into labour……

“I can’t find a heartbeat”

I just didn’t want to be fussed or touched.  I had agreed to allow one heart rate monitor to be done when the midwife arrived and then I just wanted to get on with it.  It was so quick, 3 hours all in really.  Twinkly lights, soft music, my mum rubbing my back, my husband tending the pool and my emotional needs.  The baby was low, I was pushing, he was moving.  I was convinced he wouldn’t fit and we all had a laugh!  Then the midwife tried to get a heart beat.  My husband asked her not to.  Then he left the room.  She did it anyway.

I can’t find a heart beat

All those things I said before, aren’t really memories I don’t think.  I recorded the birth for posterity. I watched it back and I think I now recall the images from the video, if that makes sense.  But those words, the words the midwife spoke when she tried to find my baby’s heart beat and couldn’t, are seared into my memory like fire.  I ‘woke’ from my labouring state, that deep and wondrous birthing state that allows women to flow with the sensations and bring their babies earthside.  I woke and I heard her say,

I can’t find a heart beat.”

I honestly thought there and then that my baby had died and I was stricken.  This is seared into my memory and I replay it so often.

This is a traumatic birth and resulting birth trauma.

No one person can say how you will feel about what happens to you during your labour.

No one can look in from the outside and tell you that you should be feeling grateful for a healthy baby and ignore your emotions about how your baby was born.

Traumatic birth does not have to be an emergency or flashing blue lights or life or death.

Plan A, B and C

This Daisy mum’s story shows the importance of planning for every eventuality:

“I really, really wanted to avoid any medical intervention, mainly because the thought of epidurals, forceps or a c-section made me feel sick with fear!  A friend of mine, who had a wonderful birth experience (my ideal!) recommended Daisy to me as she had found it really helpful”

Having strong feelings about the type of birth you want is normal and natural, despite what people may try to persude you otherwise!  But it’s so important to think about what might happen.

“I was offered an epidural to help me cope.  This was something I was adamant I hadn’t wanted and I found myself almost immediately accepting once I understood that these tests would be taking place every hour and I was still only 5cms dilated.  My husband was so sweet in double checking with me that this was really what I wanted as I had made him promise to do so, even if I said I wanted one, as I really didn’t want to go down that route!  I remember explaining to him that all of my tools had been taken from me”

When things take a route you neither wanted nor hoped for it can be hard to carry on as your options are slowly taken away.  This mama had a great support team around her.

I remember saying that my birth plan must have seemed very naïve and silly, but they reassured me that it had actually been very realistic; I had laid out my plan A, B and even C (which is the one I ended up having!) and had always said they were only to be followed where possible and safe for my baby and me. I still find it funny that out of my whole birth plan, it was actually only a few lines that ended up being the most important and useful to the medical team.”

It’s never silly to plan, this team found the words regarding plan C helpful and it proved so useful to this mama’s experience.

Despite it being my worst-case scenario my actual caesarean was a very positive experience and is filled with very happy memories for me”

But emotions are real and birth grief is real, even with positive memories to cherish:

“I was also really disappointed with myself as I felt like I had not handled the pain well at all and had taken the easy option by accepting the epidural so early on. I also felt that I hadn’t given birth “properly” as I had ended up with a caesarean. On top of this I felt sad and angry that I had been denied the gentle and natural birth that I had so wanted”

Healing and Moving On from Traumatic Birth

It is possible to heal from traumatic birth. Surround yourself with people who will listen and respect what you are saying.  Seek help from online communities and tell your GP or Health Visitor.  Access the perinatal mental health team in your area.

If you can then therapies such a counselling, EMDR and hypnotherapy can help too.  Perhaps you might want to explore the idea of a rebirthing ceremony to help build new and better memories of when you first met your baby.

But above all, please know that you are not alone.

Love Fi x
birthtalk.org
http://www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk/

Mama Truths: Do You Enjoy Being Pregnant? If Not, It’s Ok!

Did you enjoy being pregnant – or if you are currently pregnant at the moment would you say that you are enjoying it?!  If not, it really is okay.  Here Daisy teacher Chloe talks about her own experiences of pregnancy and explains why for some women it may simply be a means to an end…

Honesty

I did not enjoy either of my pregnancies if I am being totally honest.  I had debilitating tiredness with my first, and awful sickness with my second.  I had antenatal depression with both (https://2018_beta/thedaisyfoundation.com/backup/antenatal-depression/) and once they started kicking, the feeling of having something move around inside me made me cringe.  I think I actually said to my husband at one point that it was like having an alien inside me.  How horrible does that sound?  It was not that I was unhappy to be pregnant, I wanted my babies very much, but I definitely didn’t enjoy the journey of growing them.

It is important that we, as women feel able to talk and be open about how we feel.  Yes being pregnant is such a magical time.  It is something only we get to experience and each pregnancy is magical.  However, for many women it is not the blooming, rosy cheeked, enjoying every second of the whole nine months thing.  I definitely don’t begrudge women for who this is the case and I know a few of my friends loved every minute of being pregnant.  Some even enjoyed the sickness as it meant baby was growing.  Good for them I say, but for me – I would give birth 100 times over but being pregnant? No thanks!

Guilt

Let that guilt go!  There is nothing to feel guilty about if you don’t love being pregnant.  It does not mean that you do not want your baby or that you will not love your baby.  I love my kids to the end of the world!  Yes, they drive me mad sometimes but I could never imagine my life without them.  Still didn’t like growing them though!  If you find that you are not enjoying it, try and do something for you, something you may not have chance to do very often.  Enjoy a spa day; pamper yourself; get your nails or hair done; wallow in a warm bath for hours with a good book.  Have a nap in the day!  Spend a whole morning treating yourself with some online shopping (because walking around the shops may be a bit too tiring when you’re feeling massive and bloated!).  Take up a hobby, something to take your mind of it, like crochet or knitting (babies need clothes don’t they?).  Write a diary or a blog to chronicle your journey.  Do a puzzle or play a board game.  Something – anything – to take your mind off how you feel for a bit.

It’s a journey

If you don’t like being pregnant, just think of it as a means to an end.  You get pregnant because you want a baby and pregnancy is the journey we go on to get one.  Being pragmatic about it, and just accepting what it is may help you on your way.  Think about what it is you don’t enjoy and try to do something to help…

Tiredness: can you sneak a nap in here and there?  Who doesn’t love the chance to relax and sleep in the day?  We rarely get chance as adults.

Sickness: it should pass when you’re into the second trimester but if not, do some deep breathing and maybe research some techniques that may help.

Feeling sluggish: find a suitable exercise class or an antenatal class (maybe Daisy Birthing – shameless plug!).  This will give you a focus each week and a time to bond with your baby as well as giving you the benefits of movement, breathing and relaxation.

Being proactive at finding ways to deal with being pregnant in a positive way may help you feel better in your mind about the whole pregnancy thing.

Highs and Lows

Pregnancy is a bit like a rollercoaster: full of highs and lows!  Emotions can be fraught: you may cry at television adverts one minute and feel on top of a rainbow the next.  Add in to the mix extreme tiredness, sickness, bloating, aches and pains.  And if you suffer from Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) or Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) it may be an even more difficult time.  Putting on weight and a growing belly can be a concern for some people and one which they find hard to come to terms with.  For these reasons and more it can be clear to see why some of us don’t savour every moment.

Love it or hate it – being pregnant is magical.  You are growing a new human being; a new life.  And while you may not enjoy aspects of it, just take a moment to look at yourself in the mirror in awe and admiration – you’ve got this!  You are totally awesome!  You are on your journey to becoming a mummy for the first, second, third, fourth or more time.  With each subsequent time being just as special because each pregnancy is different.  Just accept that it may not be all roses and chocolates for you personally and you’ll get through it.

In the grand scheme of things, nine months is not a long time.  It is not even a year!  You can do it for nine months.  At the end of the journey you will be a mummy and the last nine months will melt away into nothing.  I would do it again in a heartbeat if only I could get my husband to agree!

Love Daisy x

Mama Truths: The Postnatal Period – What to Expect and How to Survive It!

Sometimes we are so focused on preparing for our baby’s arrival that we forget to think about how we may feel after giving birth.  Here Daisy Teacher Meg Hill talks about the postnatal period and what it entails…..

What is the postnatal period?

The postnatal period is roughly those first 6 weeks following the birth of your baby during which you start to recover physically and emotionally from giving birth. And I say ‘start’ because although (as we’ll see), there’s an expectation that women heal quickly – if not immediately; research has been conducted which shows that women aren’t healed for up to a year – even with a straightforward, low-intervention birth.

What happens during the postnatal period?

If you’ve discussed your postnatal period with your midwives, it’s likely that you’ll have focussed on those first few days following the birth of your baby.
This conversation will probably focus on the care you’ll receive in those first couple of weeks.  In the immediate days following birth you will be monitored for bleeding, bowel and bladder function.  Midwives will also ensure that feeding is established and make sure that you know how to care for your baby.  If you give birth in a hospital the average stay for a vaginal birth is 1-2 days, and for a caesarean section 3-4 days.  However, if you’re well following a vaginal delivery and choose to leave, you could potentially leave hospital within a couple of hours.

For most women, therefore, a lot of that initial monitoring will be carried out in hospital.  Midwives will then visit you at home following an individualised care plan, and then your care will be transferred over to the Health Visiting team.  This may be at around day 10 but it varies across different Trusts and might also be later if there’s a need for you to stay under the midwifery team.  As your baby gets a little older you will start to see your health care professionals less frequently – this doesn’t mean that they aren’t still there for you though, you can contact them at any time if you have concerns.

Why is it so important? All that matters is a healthy baby!

So what’s so important about the postnatal period?  Well even with a straightforward delivery your body has been through some really big changes: growing in size, making new organs, increasing blood volume then releasing baby during delivery, getting rid of the placenta, the extra fluid, lactating…it takes a lot of hard work from your body.  And that’s not to mention any other related discomforts such as Pelvic Girdle Pain or gestational diabetes!

But a healing body isn’t the only thing.  You will have heard many people say ‘all that matters is a healthy baby’ when talking about birth but is this true?  Does this diminish what a mother goes through in having a baby, and all that comes afterwards?  Mothers matter too and mental health during the postnatal period is particularly important: there’s a transition time between not being a mother and being a mother.  The postnatal period immediately following birth – that first month and a half – is the time when a woman is particularly vulnerable to developing post-natal depression.  So it’s especially important that a woman is supported both by healthcare professionals and other people in her life.  This can ensure that if she starts developing signs and symptoms of it, she’s well looked after in the most appropriate way.

Around 10% of mothers (and 4% of fathers) will develop PND and it’s thought to be a number of factors coming together rather than there being just one cause. These include having previous mental health issues: feeling unsupported by partner, family and friends: having a birth they feel was traumatic: struggling to breastfeed and being exhausted.  If you think that 25% of women suffer mental health issues in their lifetime, 40% would describe their birth as traumatic, and 59% don’t breastfeed for as long as they would initially hope to – highlighting a lack of support to help them breastfeed successfully – you can see that the postnatal period is a really important time to be supporting a mother.

What do women do during the postnatal period?

Having seen the importance of the postnatal period to ensure that mums are physically and mentally looked after and healing, what do we as a society think or expect mothers to be doing in the postnatal period?

When baby is born, how quickly are you asked if people can come and have a cuddle?  Pretty quickly, right?  And how comfortable do you feel if someone walks into your house asking them to make a brew, or push a hoover round?  You don’t, do you?  I certainly didn’t!  So you end up making tea, and pottering about when you should be resting.  And I know some of you are thinking that you’re not the type to be lazing on the sofa while people work around you but factor in soreness, tiredness and blood loss potentially increasing if you’re too active…

If you’ve been in hospital for a few days and not seen the outside of those walls, and you need to get something from Tesco (and admit it, you want to show off your tiny baby!), you pop to the shops which always takes longer than you think it will.  And maybe you have other children who need taking to school…  Or your grandma can’t drive so you offer to travel the hour it takes to go and see her…  And your workplace want to meet the new baby…  It all starts adding up, doesn’t it?  And very quickly instead of resting and allowing your body to heal, you’re trying to carry on at exactly the same speed as you were before you got pregnant!

And that’s not to mention the physical things that you need to learn as well! How to care for baby when they’re here; how to recognise their feeding cues, sleeping cues, if they’re over-stimulated; if they need their nappy changing…  Parenthood is a learning curve and a steep one for you, dad and baby!  It’s like walking into a CEO job of a Fortune 500 company knowing you’ve lied on your CV about your A levels – you know you can do it but you’re scared of being found out anyway!

You can see then, that when a mother is in a vulnerable state anyway, any anxiety she has over how she’s parenting (the so-called mummy wars!) could overwhelm her and link into her emotional state possibly contributing to her PND.  Part of this comes from the expectations she has of how life with a newborn is.  Perhaps she’ll feel like she’ll ‘bounce back’ like magazines insist on celebrity mothers doing – or carry on her life exactly as before because it looks to her like everyone else is.  Perhaps she doesn’t expect the constant feeding, or short bursts of sleep to continue for more than a week or so.  Perhaps she doesn’t fully understand the sheer relentlessness of looking after another person who relies on you for everything.  It’s easy to look at a snapshot of other people’s lives and think they’ve got it together while you’re in 2 day old clothes and haven’t washed your hair for a week and feel like you’re failing.  But if we can change your expectation that you have of a newborn and the way your new life is going to be, then it’s a great way to help stop that feeling of helplessness that you’re not doing things ‘right’.  One of the overwhelming things we hear from new mothers is ‘I didn’t know it would be like this’ and this is what we’re here to help you with.

What did women used to do?

It’s no surprise that as life generally has got faster-paced and more demands placed on us, that the demands placed on a new mother have increased.  There has been a shift in what she would be expected to do and how others would support her.

Historically, in a practice called ‘churching’, a woman in the UK would be set apart from their community for 5-6 weeks (or 40 days) while they tended to their new baby and healed.  During this time they would receive help from other close women – usually family or neighbours.  The timings differed slightly depending on which variant of Christianity they were but at the 40 day or 6 week point they would be reintroduced to their community with a blessing at their church. Although this was primarily a religious ceremony, the 40 day timing linked closely with the time it takes for a mother’s body to have that physical healing process, and this time frame is seen over and over across different cultures.
This tradition has fallen by the wayside in the UK due to a number of factors: the decline of Christianity, the medicalisation and masculinisation of birth and the birth world, migration of labour creating more fragmented communities, changes to the working patterns of women…many things.  But increasingly women are trying to carve back this time for themselves to be looked after.

What happens around the world?

I’m willing to bet that you’ve either said or heard about a woman in a different culture giving birth in a field then getting right back to the work they were doing, right? It’s a tale trotted out frequently but actually it doesn’t have much basis in truth.  Most pre-industrial or traditional cultures all honour the 40 day period after a woman has given birth, with additional support being given to her and her family.  Nobody is compelled to feel like they have to get right back into the swing of things, and they’re honoured and celebrated for bringing new life into the world.

Consider these practises from across the world:

• China – zuo yuezi – sitting the month – a big focus on the warm, nourishing food for the new mother to eat and replenish herself with, as well as practical support.

• Korea – no cold or hard foods, and no going out into cold weather. New mums are looked after for 21 days but sometimes this increases all the way up to 100!

• Latin America – la cuarentena (quarantine) – Approved food, no sex, no hair washing, lots of rest!

Now it’s clear that times have moved on and there’s very few women who would consent to following the full confinement to the full extreme – I definitely couldn’t go without washing my hair for more than a couple of days!  But it’s interesting that universally there is an acceptance that time cherishing the mother after a baby is born is really, really important for so many reasons.  The way in which we look after the mother and allow her the space she needs to recuperate and to learn how to be a mother shows how we understand and appreciate the newborn baby.  In some respects, having that protected time without having to worry about too much of the outside world can make the intensity of life with a newborn seem easier as your focus is on them and not a hundred other things.

Make a plan for the postnatal period

When you’re pregnant and planning for life with a baby, think about creating a postnatal plan. After all, we spend time planning our births, planning what car seat and pram we’ll use, what nursery they’ll attend – isn’t planning to protect your wellbeing equally as important?  Think about who can help you in the early days, and what they can do that’s practical and will mother the mother.  Think about what external support you might need and where you could go for that. Think about if things aren’t going so well and you need help urgently – what might that look like and have you got people who know what to look for?

Most of all – take care of yourself, and enjoy that lovely new baby.

Love Daisy x

Mama Truths: Piles and How to Deal with Them

Piles…haemorrhoids…bum grapes (yes, really)…whatever you want to call them, affect 1 in 10 women during pregnancy and around 25% of women who get piles during birth, still have them 6 months later.  Talk about adding insult to injury right?!  In today’s Mama Truths Daisy teacher Ceri gets to the bottom of piles (sorry) and how to deal with them.

What are piles?

In simple terms, piles are swollen veins in the bum.  They may be inside the anus or stick out externally and can be as small as a raisin (bet you’ll never look at one of those the same way again after reading this…) or as big as a grape.

Will I know if I have piles?

Um, yes.  If you are ‘lucky’ they will just be a bit itchy and uncomfortable.  They can cause sharp pain and bleeding when you go to the toilet, and in some cases (and unfortunately, I speak from bitter experience here) they can be debilitatingly painful.  They can make it difficult to sit down properly and make each bowel movement an excruciating experience that will require your Daisy Out breath just to get through it (and no, I am not exaggerating but not all cases are this bad).

Sounds terrible – how can I avoid them?

Unfortunately, for some women, pregnancy alone can just make you more prone to piles because of the pressure your growing uterus puts on the pelvic blood vessels.  Also the hormones Relaxin and Progesterone seem to conspire against you to cause the walls of these veins to relax .  This means that they swell more easily and slow down the intestinal tract which can lead to constipation; which likely results in prolonged straining during bowel movements. Straining is one of the biggest causes of piles. 

 During birth, it is the strain you can put on your pelvic floor, in particular the anus, whilst pushing that can cause piles to develop.  This is another reason that we encourage you to bear down and not push during Daisy Birthing classes: we really don’t want you to get haemorrhoids if you can help it!

 One of the best things you can do to lessen your chances of getting piles or to speed up the healing process if you do get them/have them already, is to eat a high fibre diet with plenty of water every day.  This is probably more water than you think you need – around 8-10 glasses daily is ideal; and get some regular exercise too.  This means stacking your plate with lots of fresh fruit, veggies, wholegrains and beans: a healthy balanced diet basically, and doing some light daily activity, perhaps a brisk walk with your baby or some yoga style stretches.  All of this is to keep you regular, and keep thing moving along your digestive system and out – you do not want a build-up of bigger poos to have to pass due to constipation or sluggish digestion, believe me.  And of course keep working on those pelvic floor exercises to keep things toned and maintained down there: all positive things which will help in other areas of your pregnancy and postnatal recovery as well.

What can I do to relieve the pain of piles?

Witch hazel will become your best friend so stock up on it now just in case!  You can get some incredibly cooling and soothing pre-soaked witch hazel wipes specifically designed for treating piles.  Alternatively, you can make your own cold compress by soaking a clean wad of toilet paper with some witch hazel.  It works by helping to reduce swelling and discomfort and feels so good.

 Ice packs covered in soft loo roll can give an instant relief to the area (never apply direct to your skin – ouch!).

 Having a warm (not hot!) bath can also help and it ensures the area is kept clean, which is vital to prevent further discomfort and infection.  Some people swear by lavender oil (a natural anti-inflammatory), but test a little first on a cloth to the affected area if you can, as it may aggravate any cuts or sensitive areas.  Alternating ice packs with warm baths can also give some very welcome relief throughout the day.

You won’t want to wipe your bum as normal with a dry piece of toilet paper after a bowel movement as this can aggravate and open up any cuts which are starting to heal, so get a jug and wash the area instead, then pat dry gently with soft toilet paper, or use some moist baby wipes instead.  This is also where the pre-soaked witch hazel pads can come in to their own too (I really cannot recommend them enough for such sweet relief after going to the loo as a piles sufferer and survivor).

 Buy the softest plain luxury loo roll you can, you will thank yourself for it later, and please do yourself a favour and stay away from any scented varieties.

 If sitting is uncomfortable, then you can buy doughnut shaped inflatable/stuffed cushions with a hole in the middle to help give you a softer landing, (or use an inflatable swimming ring if you have one).  The idea is that this shape of ‘seat’ offers weight relief and takes the pressure off legs, thighs and the rear.  Standing and sitting slowly with support can also help you not to twist or tilt or put pressure on the affected area – no sudden movements!

 You can take pain relief tablets such as ibuprofen to help ease the swelling and pain, just talk to your GP first if you are breastfeeding.  There are also over-the-counter creams, ointments and suppositories that you can buy to help with swelling and itching but don’t use them for longer than 5 days as they can make the skin more sensitive, which you don’t need.  It’s always worth asking your pharmacist for advice, and if the problem lasts beyond a couple of days, seek your GP’s advice.  They may also be able to prescribe other treatments such as steroid cream to reduce inflammation, laxatives or a stool softening solution to ease bowel movements. 

 If you have any rectal stitches from an episiotomy or tear, then please consult your GP before trying any of the above, and if the pain is unbearable or if you start to avoid going to the loo because you are afraid of it (I know I was, and this only makes matters worse because then you can cause your stools to dry up and harden meaning bigger and more terrifying consequences than before), please seek help.  If the problem persists or gets any worse, always go to your GP sooner rather than later – your recovery is so important.

When will I be rid of them?

Piles can last just a few days, and for most women it’s just a temporary condition that passes quickly.  They can however also last a few months, sometimes more in extreme cases.  The piles will shrink and the pain will come and go though (in rare cases minor surgery may be required or specialist treatments) and they will become more manageable over time.  I ended up giving mine nicknames as a sort of coping mechanism, and because they soon became just another part of my postpartum body that I learnt to deal with using a combination of the suggestions above.  Do whatever you need to do to get through and follow these easy steps when you have to go to the loo

How to cope on the loo with piles

·       Take your time – you may not poo straight away after giving birth, but when you do, relax, breathe deeply and let it go. And don’t be afraid: the pain will pass, it really will.

·       Don’t push and don’t strain.  As we teach in Daisy Birthing, a clenched jaw closes the pelvic floor and you really want your rear to be able to release with ease in this delicate situation, so keep calm and don’t force it out!

·       Don’t sit on the loo for longer than you need to (read the magazine elsewhere – good diversion technique but it will encourage you to take longer!).  Sitting in the same position for too long can put un-necessary pressure on an already delicate area, so just get the job done – gently – and get out. 

·       Go to the loo as soon as you feel that you need to, don’t wait even if you are scared of what is coming, as waiting makes it much worse (trust me!)

·       Wipe gently, or better still wash and pat dry, and stay as clean as you can down there!

 Good luck! You’ve got this.

 Useful links:

 http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Haemorrhoids/Pages/What-happens-page.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/piles-haemorrhoids-pregnant.aspx

 Further reading on the power of the Out breath to help with opening the bowels (this can also be beneficial after an epidural/ c-section) as well as its power to help breathe your baby out: https://2018_beta/thedaisyfoundation.com/backup/positive-induction-using-power-breath/

Mama Truths: Sex After Baby

Today we are excited to bring you the first of our ‘Mama Truths’ blogs: where we will answer the questions you may feel too afraid to ask!  Our first topic is one many of you will have thought – and maybe even worried – about: resuming sex after baby.  Here Daisy teacher Chloe Sena explains all…

Big changes

Yes, sooner or later you are going to have to get back in the saddle – and it can be a very daunting prospect.  You have just pushed a baby out of your vagina, or if you had a Caesarean section, been through major surgery.  All women will still have lochia for a few weeks after birth and the post-birth hormones will be flowing freely.  Why on earth would you then want anything going back up there?!

Your body may not feel like your own for a while: a lot changes after you’ve had a baby, and that’s okay.  Breastfeeding, making up bottles, dealing with crying, colic, sleepless nights.  Plus if you have other kids to deal with – well, you may feel like you are running on empty.  Will you always feel like you could fall asleep standing up?  Do you think you will ever make it through a day in the same clothes you started out with?  Will your libido will ever come back (it will, don’t worry!).  Why does it feel like you would rather stick pins in your eyes than even consider having sex?!

Relationship impact

You could have had stitches, had a tear (big or small) and may feel quite different ‘down there’ than you did before you had your baby.  You may be worried it will hurt, or that you won’t enjoy it…..  This is all normal.  The post-birth hormones running riot in your body can supress your libido and make everything feel as dry down there as the Sahara desert.

Plus, the fourth trimester period for you and your baby, the transition period from womb to world, can make you feel like you have been hit with a ton bricks.  Sex is likely to be the last thing on your mind – I know it was for me after my two births!  You may feel quite lonely and like you are the only one feeling like this, but I can assure you, you won’t be.  No matter what you may hear, read or imagine, you won’t be the only one worrying about having sex again and even putting it off.

No-one can prepare you for how having a baby will change your life.  When you have a baby your focus will change and your relationships will shift.  It is important to remember your relationship with your partner might change as well.  You will still love your partner of course, but it may feel different post baby and it can take a while to settle into your new situation as a family of 3 (or 4, or 5!).  You may even feel more like housemates for a while post baby too.  This is okay, and is to be expected.

You will be having broken sleep, days will all roll into one; the house will be a mess and you will probably struggle to even get dressed some days.  The last thing on your mind could be showing affection to your partner, a hug or kiss on the cheek may take all the effort in the world, and sex – well, what’s that again?  With so many demands on you already, it is likely your relationship with your partner is the one that has to wait.

Don’t panic…it’s not all doom!

Do not panic!  It is not all doom and gloom, I promise.  And it will get better: you will enjoy sex again.  Sex after baby can be the best sex you’ve ever had!  Trust me 😉  It is vital, however, that you and your partner are both aware that things may change, and you will both feel differently.  If your partner is patient and understanding, it will make all the difference in how you cope with the changes and how quickly you are ready to get back in the sack, so to speak!

Don’t feel pressured into having sex too quickly.  Sex can be an emotional thing for any woman, let alone if you are currently in the middle of the post-birth hormonal rollercoaster.  It is important to feel ready, and then you are more likely to find it an enjoyable experience.  If all you can think about is climbing into bed and hibernating for a week, chances are you won’t be able to get in the mood for sex.

Sex after baby: top tips

So, here are some ideas to help make the first time you break that post-birth seal a little easier and hopefully more pleasurable.  Firstly: relax and breathe.  You have done it before, and you can do it again.  Set the mood: get a babysitter for a couple of hours, a romantic dinner by candlelight maybe even a massage or a hot bath.

Pick a time when you don’t feel too tired.  Right before bed may not be the time you feel most ‘up for it’, and so are more likely to fall into bed, rather than out of your PJs!  Use your imagination – the bedroom is not the only place you can have sex – if baby is napping, seize the opportunity and be creative!

Maybe make that first time a bit of a ‘quickie’ so it isn’t too much of an endurance test if you are not feeling the love.  Once that first time is over, you will feel a hell of a lot better about the whole sex after baby thing, I guarantee.

Oh and don’t forget the lube…

Love Daisy xx