3 Things to Watch Out for After Childbirth (& What to do!)

Written by: Molly Parlier

You’re six weeks post-partum and you’re a wreck.  Sleep is a luxury, a daily shower is a thing of the past, and most likely, you’re dealing with some new challenges and unexpected changes to your body. 

We have 3 ways to get you feeling “normal” again AND a great giveaway for our readers.  Comment below or on Facebook and tell us what you experienced OR are experiencing post-partum.  (1) Winner will be selected randomly on Tuesday 6/5 to win a great WHF package: 

  1. Total Control® Workout DVD
  2. You Go Girl...But Only When You Want To! Bladder Health Handbook
  3. 2 Spectator Tickets for you and friend to the Women's Health Foundation Below the Belt June 7th benefit!!!

At Women’s Health Foundation, we hear women describe their bodies as “wildly out of control” post childbirth.  And yet, research shows that most of these women will stay silent for years, neglecting to tell their friends or family of their ongoing issues.  Incontinence (both urinary and fecal), loss of libido, and chronic back and pelvic pain are what we call “common but unacceptable” disorders.  They may affect millions of women but that doesn’t mean you to live with it!

#1. Chronic Back Pain:  Hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy  to prepare your body for childbirth may leave your joints “wobbly” and prone to injury.  Muscle imbalances that develop during pregnancy may worsen post-partum due to the body mechanics of carrying a baby and increased breast size.Your pelvic floor muscles may be out-of-sorts, as well.   These imbalances won’t just “go away” and may need the  care of a skilled physical therapist (like a women’s health specialist).  If not treated promptly, pain can linger for years.  To find a physical therapist near you, visit the American Physical Therapy Association website or talk to your healthcare provider.

#2. Loss of Libido:  At the six week post-partum checkup, your physician usually gives you the “go ahead” to resume sexual activity.  Usually, this is the last thing  new mothers want to consider!  To reignite your engine, leading “sexperts” suggest focusing on rekindling intimacy with your partner, not just returning to intercourse.  Take some time to snuggle and tell each other 3 reasons why you love each other.  Also, a really good lubricant (Uberlube®is my favorite) can help with any lingering discomfort or soreness. (Bonus tip: uberlube is a great defrizzer for all you curly haired ladies!)  Loss of sex drive can be hormonal, so be sure to talk to you physician if you’re struggling with vaginal dryness and lack of sex drive.  Recently, I spoke with Chicago-based intimacy and tantra expert, Elsbeth Meuth, on reawakening your sexual side after childbirth.  Read more

#3. Incontinence:  You probably had a mother, grandmother, and/or great aunt who suffered from incontinence.  While we know it’s common (but unacceptable!) there are many things you can do to alleviate and treat those little leaks.  The first thing to do is to tell your healthcare provider.  If he/she tells you that’s a normal consequence of childbirth, ask how long you should put up with leaking before you should schedule a follow up appointment. Not to be too cheeky, but c’mon,we’re talking about the quality of your life here!  Visit WHF’s bladder health page to learn tips on how behavior modification, diet, and exercise can help beat incontinence.

Whether you’re struggling with some of the above issues or know someone who is, talk about it.  Know that you are not alone and by talking about it, you’re taking the first step to improvement.  To learn more about pelvic health and wellness, visit www.womenshealthfoundation.org

Molly Kirk Parlier is the Director of Communication and self-proclaimed “Kegel queen” for Women’s Health Foundation (WHF), a nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago.  WHF is dedicated to improving the pelvic health and wellness of women and girls and is the nation’s most visible and passionate champion of women’s pelvic wellness issues. 

Posted on May 29, 2012 at 5:04 PM