postnatal sex pain

Postnatal sex giving you Valentine’s blues?

When you are busy with a newborn baby, sex can drop quite low on your ‘to do’ list.  If it isn’t even comfortable when you do find the moment, it is all too easy to lose the intimacy in your adult relationship.  There are some simple but effective things you can do yourself, straight away, to improve your comfort and enjoyment.

Pelvic floor exercises improve sexual health too

First, commit to a couple of weeks of daily pelvic floor exercises to bring about proper change in these muscles.  The pelvic floor muscles play an important role in giving you a sense of closure around your partner as well as support and friction to create your own pleasurable sensations.  Taking time out to deliberately exercise the pelvic floor muscles will bring blood flow to the area, tone and tighten the muscles and improve your ability to feel the walls of the vagina during sex.  Many women report they are able to reach orgasm more easily, and that their orgasms are more powerful, after focusing on pelvic floor muscle exercises

POGP how to do pelvic floor exercises

There is an excellent booklet“Pelvic Floor Exercises (for women)” published by the POGP, my professional physiotherapy network, giving clear guidance.  Download a free pdf booklet here.

And clear video instructions in our Pelvic Floor School

Personal Lubricant can be essential too

Do also consider adding a personal lubricant to your bedside table drawer. The inventors deserve Nobel Prizes!  The hormone changes of pregnancy and breastfeeding can leave your body surprisingly dry at the vaginal opening and deeper inside.  When you are trying to grab a quick sexy moment, with maybe less time than usual to get in the mood, your body may not produce enough natural lubrication.  This can make penetration painful or  the movement of your partner inside you can feel like a friction burn.  Using a personal lubricant during your foreplay (it works best if you put it on both of you) can make a magical transformation to your comfort and enjoyment.

Personal lubricants sometimes require a sense of humour in their application but there are now many nicer options than the medical stuff you come across at a smear test.   Look for a product with natural and organic ingredients, like Sylk or Yes.  It is important to ensure that they are pH balanced to the normal vaginal pH of between 3.8pH and 4.5pH.  Lubricants with a higher pH are too alkaline and can lead to UTIs, Thrush and Bacterial Vaginosis.  Lubricants can be water-based or oil-based (read more here) . You might try a sample of each to see which you and your partner enjoy the feel of best, though do be aware that only water-based lubricants can be used with condoms.  Online shopping means you don’t need to be embarrassed to ask for them in a chemist, try Boots online or trusted online pharmacy White Pharmacy.

If you are still experiencing discomfort after boosting your pelvic floor muscles and trying a personal lubricant don’t hesitate to talk to your GP. 

They will be sympathetic and impressed that you have already tried these first steps.  Your GP  can organise referral to a specialist physiotherapist to give you personal 1:1 assessment and guidance,  and they will be able to move on to other investigations of the possible causes of your pain.

You can and will enjoy comfortable sex again – but you must be brave to let them know that you are suffering.    

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