...let's work on finding it!
It's a tricky road back to intimacy for some of after having a baby. The physical stress on your body and your bits can be compounded by mental tiredness, shock and elements of postnatal depression or baby blues. There's a whole lot that needs to be worked through sometimes, but here are some things that you can consider, which will help you re-boot physically.
Amanda Savage is a renowned Pelvic Floor Expert who partners with &Breathe, she has helped hundreds of postnatal women and also men with their pelvic floor journey. She's given me and our &Breathers lowdown on pelvic floor health and good sex and here, we're publishing the second in a series of blog posts about Getting Your Mojo Back.
Here's three things things that are key to getting back to intimacy, whenever you're ready.
Are you flexible enough?
As I also treat antenatal and postnatal pelvic girdle pain as part of my work I am convinced that you have got to have really good movement at the base of your spine, where it meets your pelvis, and in your hips in order to really get comfortable for sex. The Karma Sutra looking like advanced yoga may be no co-incidence!
The problem is that you can go stiff in your back and hip joints very quietly, experiencing no pain at all, no apparent loss of ability to walk, sit, or carry things or babies. With our bodies it is easy to not notice what you are missing.
In everyday life, clues that your back/hips might be stiff are:
- You wake in the morning feeling like a granny and have to physically ‘get going’ for a few minutes or half an hour before you feel like yourself;
- After you have been sitting for a while your first few steps are painful or difficult you seem to be living with back ache;
- When you try to pick up your pace to run or walk fast or do your sport you get backache or a proper pain or your legs feel really heavy, like you are walking through thick treacle;
- on reflection you can’t really stand up properly straight anymore!
With sex itself stiffness might present as:
- a sense that you can’t let go and fully relax;
- you can’t take your partners weight onto you;
- you can’t get comfortable; or
- your can’t get close enough.
This last manifests as not getting enough external stimulation on the clitoris, which makes reaching an orgasm dependent on penetration alone - which can be pretty tricky for most of us!
If you think stiffness might be a problem for you:
- spend a week or two focusing on stretches for your lower back, inner thighs and hips;
- if you had pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy and it is still niggling, go back to your physiotherapy team ask for a postnatal review and assessment of your spine;
- if you think that your delivery might have triggered a back or hip problem ask your GP to refer you for a physiotherapy assessment;
If it was a ‘traumatic birth’ (was your baby's head very big, did you have to get into some awkward positions, did you have to have your legs put into stirrups, did you struggle to walk properly for a few days?) you're quite likely to need to see a physiotherapist in case, even if no-one's told you that's on offer. And if you had a Caesarian, there can still be quiet trauma that's impacting your movement and mojo, caused by being unable to feel your lower half properly or then sleeping on a hospital bed for a night or two.
[Note from Clio: Remember that if you think you need help, ask for it - women in France automatically get a series of rehabilitation physiotherapy sessions after having a baby - there's a recognised need there!]
Next time, we talk about lubrication (the good stuff!) and pelvic floor tone (trust us, you've been doing it wrong). Visit Amanda's website for more info: Supported Mums