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We talk about sexually transmitted diseases, the best positions to get pregnant ... But what about sexual health after childbirth? We must bear in mind that there are many situations in which a woman's intimate relationships can be affected and, among them, the postpartum is one of the most complicated.
It is known to all that during pregnancy sexual relations decrease, either due to physical factors (discomfort such as nausea or fatigue, pain in the vaginal area, etc.), or due to more psychological aspects (fear of damaging the fetus, low self-esteem caused by physical and hormonal changes). However, the implications of childbirth are rarely discussed, particularly when it is not a cesarean section, and above all, the situation women go through to resume your sex life and your routine in general.
In the first place, it is essential to highlight the strong trauma that a childbirth entails for the body, which implies an increase in the size of the uterus, lochia (hemorrhages), tears and, in many cases, episiotomy. It is for this reason that the known quarantine must be maintained, which is nothing more than a period of between 5 and 6 weeks of recovery in which sexual practice is discouraged in order to avoid infections, or any type of complication. After that period, and if the woman has recovered normally and there are no more bleeding, sexual activity can be resumed.
However, in this case the generalization does not work, and it is that every woman is different and, although the recovery and evolution times are different depending on the person, so is the sexual desire, so it is usual that during this time it costs more to resume intimate relationships.
This is a time when there is less intimacy due to baby care, greater responsibility and high levels of exhaustion. It also joins the increase in prolactin, the hormone responsible for milk secretion, and the decrease in estrogens. Combination that causes less desire or sexual desire and increased vaginal dryness.
It is very important that women work on the psychological factor in order for them to understand all the changes and implications, and to feel themselves again, including their interest in sex. After this moment, there are some practices to make the intimate area heal more easily.
1. Avoid tampons
During the first weeks after delivery, it is common to suffer small hemorrhages. In this sense, the use of compresses is recommended instead of tampons, to avoid further irritation in the area.
During lactation it is common for small contractions to occur, especially at the time when breastfeeding. This helps the uterus involution and return to its natural state, so breastfeeding is recommended to enhance this process.
3. Episiotomy care
As it is a cut that involves the application of stitches, it is essential that women who have an episiotomy take special care of the scar. The area should be washed with mild soap and warm water. In addition, there are moisturizing gels with a repairing and epithelializing function that help reduce inflammation and enhance healing, not only from episiotomy but also from cesarean section.
Childbirth causes distension in the muscle fibers of the vaginal canal, so it is recommended to do specific exercises that strengthen the vaginal walls.
5. Ask for help
Although it does not directly affect the care of the intimate area, the truth is that it is an essential practice for recovery in general after childbirth. The care and feeding of a newborn is a job in itself, a working day that lasts 24 hours a day. For this reason, both for mental well-being and to promote physical recovery, experts always recommend asking for help in order to have moments of rest that help the mother to gradually resume her life, get used to the new member of the family and, ultimately, to get used to the new coexistence.
Source:Dr. Fernando Losa Domínguez, gynecologist expert in vaginal and gynecosesthetic health at the Sagrada Familia Clinic in Barcelona and collaborator of Procare Health.
You can read more articles similar to Some postpartum sexual health tips you need to know, in the Postpartum On-Site category.