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No Time For Sex After Your First Born

May 20, 2008
The arrival of your first child is sure to be a turning whirlpool of change. No surprises here! Sleepless nights, demanding days, dirty nappies, sore nipples from breast-feeding not to mention new-parent anxiety inevitably take their toll on your energy levels.

Gone will be the leisurely weekend mornings filled with coffee and lingerie piled on the room floor. The baby will obviously demanded all your time, energy, attention, and space. Despite knowing this, you will be in a complete state of denial about the impact your new baby will have on your physical relationship.

The pain from childbirth doesn't end as soon as the baby is born you will feel discomfort as your body repairs the damage that occurred during the birthing process. The incision from a caesarean birth, hemorrhoids, engorged and leaking breasts, and tender vagina are just a few of the pains that may be intensified during intercourse.

The drop of estrogen and progesterone after childbirth can cause postpartum depression, which can interfere with your sexual drive. Postpartum depression can last for a few days or a few weeks following birth and some women are more sensitive to hormonal changes than others.

But dont worry, your not the only one, so are most new parents, according to John Gottman, PhD, and Julie Schwartz Gottman, PhD, authors of And Baby Makes Three and founders of the Seattle-based Relationship Research Institute, where they run workshops to help new parents preserve intimacy.

John Gottman says, "Sexual intimacy is directly related to relationship satisfaction," and research shows that two-thirds of women become unhappy with their relationship within four months of the birth of a child.

Even so, there are ways to keep the fires burning. After all, you decided to have a baby to bring more love into the family, not less. Ultimately, my wife and I hit upon a solution whose simplicity belied its efficacy: We designated one room in the house, a small spare bedroom, the sex room. It worked for us. It was our space. We rigged it up with a baby monitor and headed down the hallway two or three naptimes a week.

That's how we made sure baby number one was followed by baby number two. Here are some recommendations for reinvigorating intimacy once your baby has arrived.
First of all, give your body a chance to recover from the birth and your hormones time to settle. You will know when your body is sufficiently recovered to resume having sex.

Secondly, if you are a women worried about the differences you see around your vaginal area, dont worry its normal. The vaginal area will feel dry due to the altered hormone levels. Try using lubricating vaginal creams until the hormone levels settle.
Thirdly, exercise simply is the healer of most of our life problems.

It might be surprising to you that exercise can even help you return to sex after the baby. Simple exercises can help to tone pelvic muscles, which can intensify vaginal sensations. Pelvic floor exercises are encouraged by midwives, physiotherapists and your doctor. Try tensing the muscles around your vagina and anus, holding for several seconds, than releasing.

Additionally, we must mention that relationships are built through a bidding process of small gestures that seek attention. Say your partner is reading the newspaper and murmurs "Hmm." "Responding positively to a bid for attention is a foundational behavior for successful couples," says Gottman.

"Men and women start back on the road to physical connection from very different places," says Carolyn Pirak, director of Gottman's intimacy workshops. "For that first six months, most women experience a sharp decrease in desire. That's just the way it is."

Once a baby arrives, housework becomes a sort of Foreplay 2.0. "Our research shows that men who help around the house more often have more and better sex," says Pirak. "The key to the bedroom could be the vacuum cleaner."

"Sexual intimacy arises from emotional intimacy," says Gottman, "and after a baby's birth, physical intimacy needs to be reheated slowly." Find little ways to reintroduce physical touch. Try using a nonsexual approach, such as giving her a foot massage.

Just as you had to overhaul your home for the baby, you need to reconfigure your physical relationship with a greater degree of intentionality. One idea: Alternate responsibility for initiating intimacy. "It's like movie night," says Pirak. "Take turns choosing the time and place for sex once a week. It sounds crazy, but it works."

Lastly, If problems persist, you should discuss the problem with your doctor or midwife. They can help you to discover the cause of continuing problems.
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