Leandie Buys Realtionship Therapist & Clinical Sexologist

Women and the Birth Experience

Some women may experience the birth of a child as a kind of “birth” of themselves.

Some women find incredible purpose in becoming a mother. They feel that their purpose in life has finally been fulfilled. This is a wonderful experience for them, as they take on their new roles as lover and mother. However, the role of “lover” is often overlooked as they focus all of their attention and energy on their baby.

It is important that a woman includes the father of her baby in the bonding process. She must ensure that he feels just as loved and appreciated as he was before the birth. At the same time, the father must ensure that he expresses his love and support for the new mother.

Some negative effects of pregnancy for women.

Women often experience a decrease in their self image after giving birth. Stretch marks and extra weight make them feel unattractive. However, men’s attraction to their partner rarely decreases after pregnancy. The new fathers often feel a deepening sense of love and respect for their partners, and see the stretch marks etc… as “battle scars” – something to be proud of.

He should make an extra effort to tell her how beautiful she is, and what a great mother she is going to be. Romance and understanding go a long way to boosting a woman’s self esteem. She can also take a look at herself, and see how much she has achieved in becoming a mother, and boost her confidence in her abilities by reading educational baby and parenting books.

Most women also experience a drop in libido after giving birth

This particularly affects women who are breast feeding, as the hormones involved in lactation decrease sexual desire. These hormones also decrease lubrication, so women who are breast feeding may experience pain during intercourse. Doctors recommend using a simple over-the-counter lubricant such as K-Y Jelly to control this problem.

Fatigue, anxiety and discomfort also decrease libido. This is completely normal, and these problems will decrease with time, but if prolonged depression sets in, the couple should consult a doctor in case the woman is experiencing post-natal depression.

Anxiety about another pregnancy is also a common cause of low libido in new mothers

It is important to consult the gynaecologist for the best contraceptive measures. Most recommend using condoms, or progestin-only pills. Pills which contain oestrogen affect milk production and may have a negative effect on the baby. It is a myth that women who are breast feeding cannot get pregnant.

Any woman who is having sex at any time after giving birth should take contraceptive measures. Overcoming this anxiety is a process, and requires understanding from the father.

It is also important for the woman to eat healthily, drink plenty of fluids and exercise regularly. This will help to stabilize hormonal changes, and decrease the effects of fatigue and anxiety on the body.
Yet again, patience, communication and understanding is required by both partners.