Pregnancy blog, 29/11/2016, by Tommy's midwife Nikki
In a recent ‘Sexual healing’ column in the Guardian, one worried new mum asked therapist Pamela Stephenson Conolly about getting her pre-baby sex life back following the birth of her baby:
My partner and I had a fulfilling sex life for years, and then I fell pregnant. Our sex life began to dwindle due to morning sickness and me finding it hard to accept my body shape – I’ve always struggled with self-esteem. Our baby is now eight months old and we both thought I would have returned to “normal” by now, but I’m not convinced I miss sex all that much.
Our midwife Nikki has given her answer:
'First of all, this is completely normal. It's mainly due to the tiredness from broken sleep and fluctuating hormone levels following birth which can affect your sex drive.
For women who are breastfeeding it is particularly relevant, as the levels of oestrogen stay low to prevent ovulation and pregnancy. This low oestrogen level can also cause a loss of desire for many women as well as vaginal dryness.
Other reasons for the lack of libido for women can be due to the fact that following a vaginal birth especially, the vaginal area can remain uncomfortable for some time and some women are nervous about the first time having intercourse again, so talk to your partner about this and go slowly at first.
It may mean you need some extra lubrication until the hormones settle down, but this is normal! And let’s not forget about the distraction of a new baby causing increased demands on your time and in turn, your mood!
'The main thing is to talk to your partner and start gradually.'
Just being close together and lying together in exhaustion between feeds would be a good start! You have a beautiful baby which you created together and your libido will return, but allow yourself time.
Make it clear to your partner that, although your focus is on your baby, this doesn’t mean you don’t love them, or are pushing them away, it is just the demands of the new baby tend to take priority.
Communication is vital and try not to compare yourself to other mums. Accept offers of help so that it gives you time to yourself to get some rest and also for you and your partner to have some time alone.
You will be amazed how much better you will feel once rested!'
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