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Baby Steps to Better Sex After Childbirth

Your ultimate guide to great postpartum sex.

Baby Steps to Better Sex After Childbirth

For most women, sex after their six-week postpartum check-up is generally safe. But at this stage, many women do not want to entertain the idea of sex. Sleep deprivation and the fact that we may or may not have showered or brushed our teeth in days are just a couple of reasons we don’t feel sexy. Plus, while pregnancy is a blessing, it is not always the most comfortable endeavor and we all know how we got there. For many us, after pushing a tiny human out of your vagina, it can feel like the pathway has temporarily shifted to “exit only.” Regardless of when a doctor says sex can resume, it is a very individual choice as to when it actually does. These following steps will put you on the path to enjoying sex after baby!

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  1. Wake up your pelvic floor muscles. It’s best to start here because the pelvic floor muscles,which are tired from supporting baby, are also responsible for orgasm and sexual satisfaction. Begin with breathing: sitting tall, inhale until the entire torso is full of your breath. This will stretch the diaphragm and the pelvic floor muscles. Then exhale completely feeling the muscles between the sit bones draw to center, and the lowest belly muscles hug in and draw up, to help press all of the air from the lungs. Stimulating the pelvic floor muscles in this way can also help with any post-baby “leaking” that might occur.

  1. Increase blood flow. When the bleeding has stopped, you can lie with your legs up the wall. This will help nourish your pelvic muscles and relax the nervous system. Place a yoga bolster, a folded towel or blanket about 2 palms distance away from a wall. Lie on your back with the support beneath the small of the back, the pelvis dropping into the space between the support and the wall, and the legs resting up the wall. If the hamstrings (the muscles at the back of the legs) are tight, bend your knees. Allow yourself to rest here for 5-10 minutes.

  1. Move your hips! Think Elvis’ hip circles but slow. This can be done in a number of ways. You can do this on all fours, standing or in a wide squat with the hands on knees. You just need to get those hips moving. You want to feel like the thighbones are just stirring in the hip sockets as the pelvis rotates around. This will stimulate all the muscles of the hips and pelvis and help to increase blood flow to the pelvis. Do 10 circles in each direction.

  1. Kegels done right! Kegels are a great way to strengthen the connection of the muscles of the pelvic floor that are responsible for sexual satisfaction and orgasm. To do them “right,” we can’t just work on the muscles that stop the flow of urine. We have to recruit all the muscles that lie between the 4 bones that frames the pelvic floor (the two sit bones, the pubic bone and the tailbone) and that interdigitate at the perineum. You can do Kegels in a seated position or lying down, with your knees bent and your feet planted hip-width distance apart. As you exercise, make sure to breathe deeply (as described above) to create good pelvic floor strength and flexibility. Here’s how:

Part 1. Sit in a simple cross-legged position. Inhale deeply, sensing into the muscles that lie between the two sit bones. Imagine each sit bone is an elevator door. As you exhale, draw these muscles toward one another, closing the elevator doors. As you inhale, the doors (re)open and release. Repeat for 4 rounds of breath.

Part 2. Now do the same thing with the pubic bone and the tailbone and imagine that they are the elevator doors. Exhale to draw the muscles toward one another, and inhale to release.

Part 3. On an exhale, draw all 4 points to center: the two sit bones, pubic bone and tailbone. Releasing on an inhale.

Part 4. When you feel like you can fully draw all 4 points to center closing the elevator doors, you attempt to lift the elevator up. With every exhale; you challenge how high you can lift the elevator, imagining that there are 2 floors from the pubic bone to your navel.

  1. Grab your lube! It’s like a desert up there. Doctors say that vaginal dryness is normal after the first few weeks after delivery, but don’t be surprised if the dryness goes on for much longer! This can make sex extremely uncomfortable and even painful. Especially for the first go at it, lube well -- yourself and your partner. Lube, lube, lube! There are many lubricant options, but many women I have talked with, myself included, have used coconut oil.

  1. Be Patient. Each pregnancy is different. You may be in the mood for sex two weeks after giving birth, but are forced to wait until the doctor’s go ahead. You may not feel up to sex for weeks past your OB’s ok. Either way, honor your body, be patient with yourself and communicate so that your partner understand how you are feeling and can be patient as well.

These few steps will take you on the path to better sex after baby! With the exercises to stretch and strengthen the pelvic floor and the increased blood flow to the area, you might find, like I did, that sex post baby is so much more satisfying than it ever was before!

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    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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