It's sex, Jim, but not as we know it…
Did you enjoy sex before having your baby but now dread it because it's painful? Is your vagina sore, dry or just doesn't feel quite the same as before when having sex?
Painful sex after birth – You are not alone.
Statistics range from 9 out of 10 women experiencing pain the first time after birth, falling to one quarter of women suffering long-term painful sex. Other studies find 45% of women experience pain during sex after birth
Nearly one in ten women who had an episiotomy, tear or other forms of intervention during childbirth suffer from painful post-birth sex – that's over 35,000 women a year!
For many women the first time they have sex after the birth of their child is an apprehensive affair anyway. It can also be the first they learn about the changes that have happened to their body and the possibility that their pre-birth sex life has changed into something either partly – or entirely – different.
Many women suffer post birth with severe discomfort because of scar tissue, changes in hormones and alterations to the mucosal lining of the vagina (something that occurs naturally during breastfeeding). This can be in the form of chronic pain as well as specific pain during sex – many women describe it as like knives stabbing your insides.
This is not only obviously extremely painful and uncomfortable, but can also put a strain on your relationship as sex and intimacy becomes something you dread, rather than look forward to. It can quickly leave you and your partner feeling miserable and distanced from each other.
So if you are experiencing extreme pain or even just worried that sex just isn't the same and that all your 'bits' just feel different since you had your baby, then don't just wait and hope it'll get better.
Sex after giving birth shouldn't hurt – most doctors recommend waiting 4-6 weeks before trying, but some couples wait as long as six months – this all depends on the birth, your body and its ability to heal – especially if the birth's been traumatic.
- If it hurts, then do listen to your body and don't be afraid to ask your partner to be patient and wait.
- If the pain you're experiencing is not getting gradually better, get checked out by a pelvic pain specialist in women's gynaecological health and wellbeing.
- Ask for pelvic floor exercises and massage techniques that can be done by yourself or your partner to help reduce the scar tissue or pain-points.
- To help with the internal massage try the products I recommend my clients include EZFIT and EZmagic wands and Kegel 8
- Request a full hormonal profile from your GP – many women suffer from unrecognised and undiagnosed thyroid issues which can affect your libido and
also make intercourse painful.
- Try some lubricant – unperfumed, hormone free, natural products are best – Lubricants for easing intercourse that I suggest clients try include https://www.yesyesyes.org/
- Work your scars! Don't underestimate what can be done by using the tips, techniques and gadgets above to massage the scar tissue or engorged areas of the vagina and perineum into a less sensitive and less painful state.