Monday, 3 February 2014

What Sex REALLY Feels Like After You Have a Baby

CASEY GUEREN-women health

It’s probably been on your mind since long before your baby bump arrived.
Hell, even women who aren’t expecting get a shudder just thinking about it.
How will your sex life change after you give birth? If this scary thought has
you considering a cesarean section over a vaginal delivery, you’re not alone.
 To be perfectly blunt, one of the main reasons women request C-sections is because they’re worried about their vaginas, says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine.
While the limited research on this subject hasn’t been conclusive, a new
study in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
 compared the post-baby sex lives of women who delivered vaginally and
women who had C-sections. The researchers looked at 165 women who had
given birth at least one year ago and used a vaginal pressure monitor
(essentially an artificial penis) to measure differences in intra-vaginal
 pressure between the two groups of women.
They did find that women who delivered vaginally showed lower intra-vaginal pressure than women who delivered by C-section (meaning things weren’t as
 snug down there). But that didn’t mean their sex lives were suffering. In fact, there was no difference in sexual satisfaction, foreplay time, or sexual
function between the two groups.
Obviously, there are limitations to this study—they didn’t compare women
 who gave birth to women who hadn’t; they didn’t look at how these results
differ over time; and they didn’t prove that lower vaginal pressure is even a
thing we should be worried about in the first place. After all, it didn’t seem to
 affect their sexual satisfaction.
Previous research on the subject has been just as conflicting. One study from 2009 found that women who had a planned C-section were most likely to have
sex within 8 weeks of delivery and had the lowest rate of sexual dysfunction. Another small study in 2004 found that pelvic floor muscle strength was lower after a vaginal delivery compared to a C-section delivery, though it still didn’t affect sexual function. However, Minkin notes that pregnancy in general can increase your chance of having pelvic floor problems, regardless of your
mode of delivery.
So is it possible that your vagina will change drastically after giving birth?
Maybe. “The vagina is an expanding organ anyway,” says Minkin. “So unless
they had a 12-lb baby delivered vaginally, they should get back to normal shape eventually. You shouldn’t panic right away, but it can take a few months.” Her
best advice: Kegels…all the time. “It really can help increase pressure and pelvic tone,” says Minkin. It’s also important to stay as close to your ideal body weight
 as possible, since that can affect pelvic floor strength.
Though it’s definitely easier said than done, you shouldn't stress about what
sex will be like after a baby, says Minkin. Instead, focus on staying healthy,
having the delivery method that is best for you and your baby, and yes, keeping
up your Kegels.