Scared To Have Sex After Baby?

If you've recently given birth, you may be wondering if you'll ever want to have sex again. Perhaps you're missing intimacy with your partner, but you're afraid it will hurt. If you had a vaginal birth with small tears, you would likely be advised to wait until you are six weeks postpartum to have sex. You might need more time if you experienced severe tearing, had an episiotomy or gave birth by caesarean. Be sure to use a condom if you're not yet on birth control, which will generally be discussed at your six-week postpartum appointment with your doctor or midwife.

First of all, it might be a little while after your baby’s birth before you’re ready for sex. That doesn’t mean you must miss out on intimacy with your partner. Start slow, with cuddling, kissing, caressing, bathing and showering together. Make time for each other either when the baby is sleeping or while someone else cares for your baby for an hour or two. Maintaining your bond with your partner is important for both of you and your baby. 

Once you are ready to have sex after your baby is born, there are a few things that can make it more comfortable:

1.     Make time for romance. Run a hot bath with salts and bubbles, pour a couple of glasses of wine and enjoy each other's company. Even a bath by yourself while your partner puts the baby to sleep can help you feel refreshed and ready to enjoy some serious couple time.

2.     Foreplay goes a long way. Think candles, massage oil, music and taking it slow. Hot and heavy make-out sessions, oral sex, lots of touching, eye contact and kissing.

3.     Use a water-based personal lubricant. Varying hormonal levels following birth and while breastfeeding can leave you feeling dry. Combined with tender tissue, dryness can make sex after birth painful. Many couples find postpartum sex is more enjoyable when using a personal lubricant. Use something unscented and avoid lubricants that tingle or have hot and cold sensations.

4.   Hire a postpartum doula. When you're feeling rested, supported, and understood, you're going to feel sexier and less "touched out." Your postpartum doula can help you throughout the day and even care for your baby at night allowing you and your partner some alone time and sleep.

The most important part of having a positive experience with postpartum sex is communication with your partner.

Let your partner know how you’re feeling. Share your fears, your frustrations and your hopes. Let them know how much they mean to you and be sure to show your partner affection in other ways until you are ready to have sex again.

It's a good idea to talk about the points above with your partner. Let your partner know that it's normal to need to take it slow. Explain that your need for a personal lubricant is hormone related and not because you lack desire for them. Ask them to be attentive and gentle. Plan a romantic evening together.

Postpartum sex doesn’t need to be scary. With communication, patience and these little tips, you’ll be feeling like your old self in no time

Doulas Are For Scheduled Caesareans

She had waited until the last few weeks of her pregnancy to decide that she would hire a doula. She had scheduled a consultation with the perfect doulas. Then at her doctor’s appointment, she found out that her baby was still breech and she was trying to decide if she would prefer to schedule a caesarean. She and her doctor discussed the risks and benefits of trying for a vaginal birth versus a scheduled caesarean birth.

She went home that afternoon, her head swimming. She wasn't sure what she should decide. Her husband wasn't sure either; he wanted her to do what she felt was best. And what about the doulas? Should she just cancel her consultation?

The next morning she called the doula agency office. She explained her predicament and was surprised to learn that doulas support planned caesarean births. She kept her appointment, and when she hired the doulas she met with, they helped her go over the risks and benefits of her options. They talked about what her gut feeling was about her baby's birth, and she ultimately decided to have a scheduled caesarean delivery.

The night before her caesarean was scheduled, the doula on call phoned her, and they went over the items in her hospital bag. She talked about her fears and about how excited she was to meet her baby! The doula was able to go over what the process would look like from start to finish.

On the big day, her doula met her in the hospital parking lot. The doula helped her partner carry up the bags and kept the mood light and happy. The doula helped her get settled while she was being admitted. While they waited, the doula gave her the most amazing hand and foot massages ever! The three of them talked a lot about hopes and dreams for life as parents!

They had already been informed that it would not be possible for the doula to join them in the operating room so when it was time to go they hugged, and the doula wished them well. She promised to be waiting in the recovery room.

The nurses and doctor were excellent during the birth. The doctor explained what was happening every step of they way and soon a nurse was holding her beautiful baby boy close to her so she could see and kiss him.

In the recovery room, her doula was waiting. She couldn't help but grin with pride when her doula congratulated her. It was so reassuring to both her and her husband to see a familiar and comfortable face.

Together, she and her doula got her new baby latched, and he had a few good swallows. The doula helped them get back into their postpartum room. With help, she was able to get settled in for some rest while her husband enjoyed some baby snuggles. They said their goodbyes.

The doula visited the first day that they were home from the hospital and was so knowledgeable about how to care for the incision. She also knew lots of tricks for staying comfortable. They sipped tea and talked about the birth and what was to come.

It was an incredible roller coaster of an experience from the beginning! In the end, she felt empowered and supported. She knew she had made the right decision to trust her body and her baby. And while she could have done it without the doula, she couldn’t imagine her birth experience any other way!

What Can I Expect After a C-section

 

For families planning a c-section for the first time, there may be many questions about what postpartum recovery is like. Often the postpartum recovery period is mysterious and not spoken about. Everyone is different, making the few stories you do hear varied and confusing.

So, what can you really expect after a caesarean birth?

 

Obviously, you will have an incision on your lower abdomen that may be painful.

You can expect:

·       small amounts of blood or pink fluid coming from the incision.

·       afterpains (cramping).

·       gas pain.

·       bruising on the incision area.

·       to have stitches or staples on your incision.

o   stitches usually dissolve on their own; staples are removed at approximately 3-5 days after your baby is born.

·       to be offered pain medication. These drugs will be safe for your baby and help you to feel more comfortable.

Much to the surprise of many new birthing parents who have a surgical birth, you will still experience lochia, the post-birth vaginal discharge made up of blood, mucous and uterine tissue. Don't be surprised if the postpartum nurses take a peek under your sheets now and then to check your flow.

How to Care for a Caesarean Incision

 

When you go home from the hospital, it is recommended that you shower daily after the first 24-48 hours to keep your c-section incision clean (unless your doctor suggests otherwise). Do not scrub the incision. Allow the soapy water to run down the area, rinse gently and pat dry, being cautious of your staples if you have them.

It will be about 4-6 weeks until you start feeling like yourself again. Until your incision is fully healed you may want to:

·       avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby.

·       hold a pillow to your abdomen when you stand up, move in bed, laugh, cough or sneeze. When getting out of bed, first lie on your side and then push yourself into a sitting position.

·       Allow someone else to drive you around until you are feeling well enough to make the quick movements that can become necessary when driving.

Postpartum Red Flags Following a C-section

 

You should contact your doctor if:

·       you notice increased discharge from your incision

·       there is yellow or green discharge coming from your incision

·       your pain increases or is not being reduced by your pain medication

·       there are red, hot and sore areas near the incision

·       you develop a fever

·       your incision opens up

How to Care for Yourself Emotionally After a Caesarean Birth

 

It’s not uncommon to have mixed feelings about your birth experience whether you have a planned or unexpected c-section. You may feel sad, happy, disappointed, or relieved, even all at the same time. If you’re upset, worried, or struggling emotionally with the outcome of your baby’s birth, it’s important to talk to someone that can help you. Your doctor, partner, doula, therapist, or even a trustworthy and resourceful friend can all be good people to confide in. You may need the help of a professional to work through any negative emotions.

 

If you're finding the challenges of postpartum recovery to be more difficult that you thought they would be, we encourage you to reach out. Our postpartum doulas can help with your day-to-day tasks, be a listening ear, look after your baby and other children while you rest, and even accompany you to appointments and check ups. We are experts on postpartum recovery after caesarean birth and would love to share our expertise with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What it Feels like for a New Parent

new parent bringing home baby overwhelmed .jpg

 

In many ways, you and your family members have become different people since the birth of your baby. Your sense of who you are may be altered when you become a parent for the first time. Your perception of self, your body, and even the day to day of what you do will all be new.

Most parents experience a roller coaster of different emotions. Positive feelings about becoming parents, your baby and your birth experience can be mixed with negative feelings about these same things. Your lifestyle has undergone changes throughout your pregnancy and continues to change now that your baby is born.

Your body may feel foreign. It's wonderful to be overcome with pride in your achievement of birth and pregnancy. You have been a part of the miracle that is life-giving. You may also feel intense disappointment in the parts of your experience that did not go as planned, or in the way your postpartum body looks and feels.

Stress is normal! The new changes you are experiencing can be overwhelming. You're dealing with your own new needs and your recovery from pregnancy and birth. You also have a baby who has many needs that you may not have previous experience with. Your body may react by feeling fatigued, with headaches, stomach ache, and even a rash. Too much stress can lead to feeling overwhelmed, worried, and nervous. You may be angry and irritable. Postpartum depression is a common side effect of giving birth.

You just might miss being pregnant. Many new parents miss the joys of pregnancy. You may long to feel your baby inside you, and miss how simple it was to care for your baby while you were pregnant. You may resent sharing your baby with the world. These feelings are very normal.

Many new parents are worried and afraid. You're concerned about your baby's health. Is baby getting enough to eat, wetting and pooping enough, too warm, or too cold? You might be concerned about your recovery and the changes in your body. Do not be afraid to ask questions of your doctor, doula or public health nurse. There are many resources to help you decide if what you are experiencing is of concern.

New parents often feel overwhelmed. It’s OK to take a parenting time out. Put your baby is a safe place, take some deep breaths and do something you find relaxing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with infant care or household tasks. The people that care about you want to help you!

Share your feeling with your partner. They may be having some of the same feelings that you are. Be a safe space for one another, to the best of your ability. You're in this together!

If any of the things you are feeling become intense and hard to manage you need to talk to your doctor. Should the stress of being a new parent start interrupting your day to day life, cause you to lose sleep, or change your eating habits, you may be at risk for a postpartum mood disorder.

Your family will find a new sense of normal. Over time, parenting gets easier. You will get to know your baby and yourself in your new role. Soon you’ll be parenting confidently!

What Happens During Labour

 

Labour is when your body prepares to give birth to your baby. It can last several hours to several days. Generally, labour begins slowly, allowing you to become accustomed to the sensations that you are feeling. You can expect your contraction to become stronger and closer together as your labour progresses.

During labour your body will:

1.       Soften your cervix.

 

A firm cervix helps to protect your baby in the womb. Called "ripening," hormones called prostaglandins help your cervix to become soft.

 

2.      Thin your cervix.

 

In early labour, many pregnant people feel their contractions in their lower abdomen or back; however, contractions begin at the top of the uterus and move down like a wave. Your uterus is a large muscle, when it contracts the entire muscle contracts. With each contraction, your uterus works to thin and open your cervix by pulling up on it. The thinning of your cervix is called effacement.

 

3.      Open your cervix.

 

For your baby to move through the birth canal, your cervix needs to dilate to 10 cm. The pulling up on the cervix by your uterine contracts opens the cervix.

 

4.      Your baby will get into the proper position to be born.

 

Your baby will move through your pelvis best with a tucked head and turned into the right position. It is thought that moving around and using different positions throughout labour will help your baby get into an ideal position for birth. 

 

All of the above changes happen together, at the same time. Once your body has accomplished them, it will be time for your baby to be born. Together, these changes to your body are called the first stage of labour.

Every pregnancy and every pregnant person is different, meaning labour may last a few hours or several days. If this is your second baby your labour may be shorter, but not always.  It is normal for your body to begin this process a few weeks before your babies birth. You may notice Braxton Hicks contracts, painless, irregular tightenings of the uterus that help your body prepare for labour.                                                                                     

It 's hard to know when you may go into labour, so it is a good idea to be prepared a few weeks before your due date. Have your hospital bag packed, plan for on-call child care for any older children and make a list of contacts that you want to be notified when labour begins and when your baby is born. You will also need to arrange for your final prenatal visit with your birth doula and talk to your doctor about when you should go to the hospital or birth center.

Contact Family Doulas of Ottawa to learn more about how our doulas can support you through each of the three stages of labour and the most important stage, bringing home your baby.

Is It Colic?

It is normal and healthy for your baby to cry. Crying is a way your baby communicates with you telling you that he is hungry, needs a diaper change, wants to be held, is uncomfortable or is tired. It’s a very effective way of communicating that there is an immediate need.

When babies cry for more than 3 hours at a time, 3+ days a week, it is sometimes said the baby is "colicky." Colic used to be considered a condition that some babies either had or didn't have. Now, these crying bouts are thought to be part of an infant's healthy development.

All babies go through a time when they cry more, usually between three and eight weeks. This stage often starts at about two weeks of age and intensifies by week four. The crying may be intense and seem impossible to soothe.

On the bright side, the crying bouts can come to an end as quickly as they start. You may notice a steady decrease or sudden ending to this stage, usually around three to four months of age.

Some Babies Cry More Than Others

 

Doctors and scientists have suggested that babies who cry more, the ones people call colicky, have sensitive temperaments. These babies have increased difficulty self-soothing. They take longer than others to settle into their natural rhythm. Totally normal.

This crying, formerly known as colic, was thought to be caused by gas, bowel pain, allergies, and other upsets but these have not been shown to correlate to these normal, intense crying bouts. On the contrary, the excessive crying can cause babies to swallow air and then cause tummy pain and gas. (This is not to say that all excessive crying doesn't have an underlying cause that can be remedied. You should discuss crying that's hard to soothe with your family doctor or pediatrician, just to make sure!)

How You Can Help Your “Colicky” Baby

 

Every baby is different, and what works for your baby today may not work tomorrow. We have a few suggestions about how you can soothe your baby, or at least feel like you are doing all that you can.

  • Cover all the bases: change baby’s diaper, feed baby, check that baby is not too warm or too cold, does baby have a fever?
  • Swaddle your baby.
  • Hold your baby.
  • Reduce stimulation: keep the lights low, use a white noise app, try to be in a calm space like the nursery
  • As suggested above, use white noise.
  • Soothe your baby with motion. You can try rocking, putting baby is a swing or going for a car ride.
  • Try a warm bath.
  • Use a pacifier or your clean finger and allow baby to be soothed by sucking.
  • Remember that your baby’s crying is not your fault.
  • Never shake your baby.

If you feel particularly stressed out and unable to remain calm (which is normal when your baby has been crying a lot), put your baby down in a safe place such as their crib or let someone else care for your baby. Medications and remedies for colic should be discussed with your family doctor or pediatrician before use.

It’s Normal to Need Help     

Caring for a baby is hard! Pregnancy and birth drained you not too long ago, you're probably not getting the sleep you need, and your baby has needs around the clock.

Ask for and accept help whenever you can. Whether you have family or friends assist you, or you choose to hire a postpartum doula, real help can make a big difference. A postpartum doula can assist you with your baby, care for older children and help around the house, and even offers overnight care so that you can get the rest you need.

When your baby cries for long periods of time, and you are unable to help them settle, it is extremely stressful. This time will pass but until them, remember to make time to care for yourself.