Postpartum

Postpartum Sex Drive: Impact on Libido and How to Get Your Sex Drive Back After Giving Birth

Postpartum Sex Drive: Libido & Lube After Giving Birth

Transcript:
L is for lube and libido, you guys, I couldn’t separate the two, we had to go into them both. Libido is sex drive and we are talking about postpartum sex drive. 

Lube and libido, both things that have a huge impact on our sex and intimacy after baby, and we’re going to break down, what happens to our libido after we have a baby, what kind of lube might be right for you, and how we can kind of get into this sexual intimacy space again, without feeling like shit.
And without just trying to get it done.
Because believe me,I know that some of us have had these experiences where we’re just trying to get it over with. And actually, I want your intimacy to be fulfilling and exciting and good for you, even as a new mom.

What Is Libido and Does It Change After Giving Birth?

Things that impact sex drive, libido in new moms

First, what is libido? And how is it impacted in the lives of new moms?
So libido is this term used to describe the sex drive or desire that one has. It might be a high libido it might be a low libido. A high sex drive, or we’re ready we’re raring to go, or low sex drive- no, I’m not interested.

Your libido can be impacted by internal and external factors. This means the hormones that are inside speak to your body, your body talks to itself and interacts with other parts, and so our hormones can tell us if our sex drive is elevated or not.

Sleep, Hormones and Libido After Birth

Other things like stress, lack of sleep, and other circumstances can impact this postpartum sex drive or libido. Specifically, when it comes to new moms, libido can be impacted by hormone levels, which we know in postpartum are all over. They’re like riding this roller coaster for a number of reasons.

But our hormones are changing, they’re going up, they’re or going down, they’re regulating in different areas. And so for some women, this might mean an escalated libido, maybe you are feeling it more than you ever did. Or, more often than not, this can be decreased levels of postpartum sex drive and libido.

Breastfeeding Impact on Sex Drive

Second, but not totally unrelated, is breastfeeding. So if you are nursing, or perhaps you’re pumping, the breastfeeding can impact libido because of the way that breastfeeding requires hormone levels to fluctuate and to change. And so what it takes to produce the prolactin that we need for lactating can also have a negative impact on our libido, it can make it much harder for us to have that desire.
RELATED: Boob Problems After Birth 

Touched out and Postpartum Sex Drive

Along the same lines is this touch out. When you are breastfeeding or you are holding your baby or snuggling, you’re doing skin to skin you have someone really dependent on you, you can very easily become touched out, you’re done. You don’t want this physical intimacy, you want your body to be left alone. This is another common factor I hear.

Feeling Too Overwhelmed and Exhausted for Sex

Another thing that can impact libido is mental overwhelm. And linked to that is exhaustion. So if you are so overwhelmed, you have so many things running through your brain, you have no time to give your brain the space to de-stress and to enter a place of even thinking about having a sex drive and having intimacy. Along with that is the exhaustion. We can’t get mental clarity, we can’t be proactive, we can’t have a lot of the things that it requires to get into that libido, sex drive space, when we have mental overwhelm and exhaustion.

Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Sex Drive

Postpartum depression, again, we’re talking about hormones. We’re talking about this kind of mental and emotional shift. Postpartum depression is often linked to low libido. Unfortunately, a lot of the medications (but not all of them) that we use to treat postpartum depression, these different SSRIs can have a side effect of lowering your libido as well. And so this is something to discuss with your medical provider.
Related: Postpartum Resources

How to Deal with Low Libido After Giving Birth

1. First, I encourage you to take away the pressure to make it to a certain ending point. Okay, so when you’re re-entering intimacy with your partner, when there’s this pressure to get to this certain place, such as an orgasm, then we have this kind of mental overwhelm. With this pressure we feel guilty. There’s a lot of interacting factors here. So take off that pressure as you’re getting back into intimacy.

Don’t focus on the ending point, but focus on the experience.Not the destination, the journey and work on how you can reinvigorate that intimacy.

RELATED: Sex After Baby, Am I Ready?

2. It’s important to know that it can take a lot more time and energy for you to warm up. This means more foreplay, which may be physical foreplay, but this might also be this mental and emotional connection that you’re requiring from your partner. If you’re feeling extremely overwhelmed, you’re going to need this communication and connection point with your partner. So that you can get into a place of knowing things are taking care of, I can take this space, I can enter a space of even thinking about intimacy and trying to reinvigorate my libido.
So let your partner know what you need.

Maybe it’s some sexy text throughout the day, maybe it is taking care of the kitchen and making sure that’s all cleaned up so that you don’t have to think about it and you can enter this intimate space. Maybe it is some physical kind of foreplay. Think about what it requires for you to warm up and give your libido a chance to even be activated.

Vaginal Dryness After Having a Baby

how to choose a good lube for postpartum sex

When you get to the place where you’re like, Okay, I found my sex drive and entering this space, I can start to get into it again, you might notice that you have a lot of dryness. So we’re going to talk also about lube and how this plays into everything.

So these hormone shifts of postpartum can also cause a lot of vaginal dryness. Breastfeeding can prolong this. I’m telling you lube, lube, lube, liberal amounts of lube when you are returning to intimacy after having a baby.

PSST: Want to know my two favorite natural lubes? Cocolube & Good Clean Love

Which Lube Will Work for You for Postpartum Sex?

For some of you that might be unusual. Maybe that wasn’t what you were used to before. Maybe you feel a little discouraged, like, Oh, do I even want this? Is my body telling me a different message? But know that vaginal dryness is very common. It won’t last forever, and lube can be your best friend.

So when we’re looking for lube, I’m actually encouraging you to be mindful of what kind of lube you’re using.
-Because it’s going in and on your vagina, which is kind of a delicate space and worth taking care of.
-Because some of them can actually not work well with you.

So one question you want to ask yourself is if this will pull any of the natural moisture out of your vagina, we don’t want this. These are the lubes with propylene glycol and glycerol. These two elements can actually extract the moisture from your vagina instead of adding extra to it.

Another question you want to ask yourself is if the lube you’re using is compatible with whatever your preferences are. So if you’re using condoms, is this a lube that is compatible with condoms? Is it something that you can use in the water? Is it toy friendly?

How to get over low sex drive after having a baby

Postpartum Sex Drive: Learn More & Talk to Other Moms

So for the taboo ABCs of postpartum for L we have chosen lube and libido because these are such important parts. And these are things that are so commonly experienced by women but not talked about. So don’t be afraid to bring this up with your medical provider with your friends with the postpartum together new mom groups because it is common to have a change in libido and it is also common to need some extra lube and there should be no shame about that.

Back in the Sack Postpartum Sex eCourse

Want to learn more about the changes in your body, mind, and emotions after a baby and how it can impact your intimacy?
Is your partner sexually frustrated and you’re unsure how to talk about postpartum sex and intimacy?
Do you want to communicate and connect better so that your sex life can improve?
Want ideas for ways to connect?

Check out Back in the Sack: A self-paced eCourse.
In this eCourse you’ll hear from a number of experts who share all about your body and brain after baby and how you can get back into the groove with confidence and connection (instead of resentment and fear).

Postpartum, pregnancy

Disappointment as a Mom: How Gender, Birth Plans & Health Impacts New Moms

Gender disappointment and Birth Disappointment

In the taboo ABCs of postpartum D is for disappointment.

Disappointment can come a lot of ways when it comes to being a new mom. And we’re actually going to back this up and even talk about what disappointment can look like in pregnancy. This can impact our confidence and more specifically, our self judgment and criticism as new moms. Moms may feel sad about the outcome of something but those feelings can cause shame.We’re talking about gender disappointment, medical disappointment, and birth disappointment.

Maybe it’s just not being ready to be a mom yet.
Maybe it’s the disappointment of how something has gone differently than the way you anticipated.

The struggle I see here is that we don’t often feel okay to have joy and disappointment coexisting with gratitude. Many new moms have this feeling of grief and disappointment over how something has gone.

Gender Disappointment

Gender disappointment is one that is common one that I experienced myself. I always picture myself as a boy mom. And so when my second turned out to be a girl, for a while, I was disappointed. I couldn’t imagine what that would look like. It wasn’t what I had envisioned for myself. I was excited to have her. I love her to pieces now, but I did feel a little bit of that gender disappointment.

Whether it’s at a gender reveal party, or whether you wait to find the gender of your baby at birth, you can feel this disappointment, probably because you pictured it one way and it turns out to be another. If you really wanted a boy and find out you are having a girl of if you wanted a girl and found out you are having a boy, you can feel sad.

Medical Disappointment

You also may experience disappointment with something medical, maybe you’re in the NICU with your baby. Maybe there was something that became unexpected about your baby, and you’re just feeling this disappointment about things not being the way you pictured. When I gave birth again to my daughter, my first week was spent in the NICU and that is not how I envisioned it, I was disappointed. I was disappointed that there were medical complexities. I was scared, I was nervous. And I was also just feeling this loss of how I envisioned things.

Related: Being a heart mom

Disappointed in Birth Plan Not Happening

You may also experience disappointment about the way your birth went. Perhaps you had a birth experience that was way different than you anticipated. Maybe you planned for a certain way of birth, maybe you had your birth plan, maybe you had everything prepared.
And then it went differently. I hear this often from clients who planned a vaginal delivery had a belly birth (csection). I also hear this from women who planned unmedicated birth and end up with an epidural or other medical interventions. If you feel like your birth plan failed, you can be disappointed by the birth and your birth story.

Related: Hospital Unmedicated Birth Story

How to Address Disappointment in Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum

So I want to talk about a few ways that we can address disappointment: whether it’s gender disappointment, birth disappointment, medical disappointment, or just circumstantial disappointment. I want to give you three tips on how to handle disappointment, whatever kind you might be facing.

  1. Get it out

One is to find a safe space to get it out of your head, maybe you’ve been carrying this thought and feeling guilty about it or not having a place to put it. This might be trusting in your partner or a good friend or a therapist. And if that doesn’t feel comfortable to you, that’s okay, you can write it out in a private place or find some way to get it from here (your head), out there so that it’s not just swirling around in your brain anymore. So that first step is to find a place to get it out.

2. Make peace with your disappointment and gratitude

Your second step is to tell yourself that it’s okay to have disappointment and gratitude and thankfulness. At the same time, you can be both disappointed and grateful for how things are. Give yourself the space to have both of those experiences at the same time.

3. What is possible because of the disappointment?

And third, I want you to ask yourself, what is possible because of the disappointment. So anytime we are disappointed it’s because something came or is that we didn’t expect so give yourself the space to consider this- write it out or talk about what is able to be because of the disappointment that you faced.

Disappointment is probably more common than you thing. Gender disappointment, circumstantial disappointment, birth, disappointment, all of these things happen because we picture in our head the way things are going to go. We are dreamers and have a vision and maybe sometimes that’s wrapped up in a little anxiety. We have an idea of how we think things will go, how we want them to go and how they should go. And so it’s natural and okay for you to have some disappointment when things don’t match up with the way you want them to. Give it some space. Give it a name. Identify the things that you can feel at the same time and then realize what is and what has come out of that unexpected disappointed experience.

Related: More than a mom

If you need a place to process the changes of new motherhood, a place to say the hard things and connect authentically with others, check out Postpartum Together Small groups. I help women just like you find peace and empowerment in the season after having a baby. I want you to be a confident, connected momma too.

Postpartum, Pumping

New Mom Question and Answers: Postpartum Depression, Pumping and Sex

Length of PPD, Painful Pumping, Sex Discomfort and More

This week’s New Mom Question and Answer covers pumping, sharing the load of baby care, painful sex, postpartum depression, communication and more. Read on.

New Mom Question 1: Pain while pumping, what do I do?

All right, you guys, I’m not a lactation consultant, but I was an exclusive pumper for 13 months. So I know a little bit about this. If you’re experiencing pain while pumping, there are a few things you want to look at.

My first thing that I encourage you to do is check your flange size. So the flange is the part on the outside of the pump that actually suctions on to your breast. Pumps come with a standard flange, but this might not be the right size for your breasts and your nipples. And so you want to check the flange size. You can look online for a flange check. And you may need to get a different size because if it is too big, it’s pulling too much, and it’s not working appropriately. If it’s too small, it’s going to be tight and cause some pain.

Photo from  MedelaPhoto from Medela


Potential Pumping Problems:

If that is not the solution. I want you to look into thrush, make sure that you’re not dealing with that. And also look in to mastitis, just make sure you’re not dealing with clogged ducks, and engorgement. And if you continue to have pain while pumping, try to identify where the pain is, is it deeper in your breast? Is it your nipple, and this is something you might want to talk specifically to a lactation consultant about if the flange doesn’t do the difference. And if there’s not, you know, an underlying issue like thrush and mastitis, one last thing you might want to look at is what kind of suction you’re using on your pump.

So if you are also nursing, you want this suction to mimic baby. I know how tempting it can be to up the suction, to try to decrease pumping times and I’ve been guilty of that too. But if you are having too high of a suction and too high the speed that could just be too uncomfortable for your breast

Related: Boob Problems After Birth

New Mom Question 2: Tips on Making Sex Less Painful, Especially When You are Nursing

I love that she brings up being a nursing mama because what this means is that often the hormones that are helping you to produce the breast milk are also decreasing your libido and decreasing the moisture that your vagina is able to make when you are getting in the mood or starting into sex. And so my number one tip y’all is more lube, lube lube lube, I’m going to put below the link for my favorite lube, Coco lube, and you want to be super liberal with your lube. And don’t feel any shame or weirdness about that, because your body is just not in a place to make as much as it did before.

Pelvic Floor Therapist

The second thing if you’re experiencing painful sex is to go to a pelvic floor therapist, this might be a physical therapist or an occupational therapist, often you can get a referral from your ob or midwife or just directly contact the therapist on your own. So some of these are insurance based, some of them are private pay, some of them are coming to your home, some of them are going to the office. But there’s so much that happens in that little region during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. And in many parts of the world, pelvic floor therapy is standard care. 

Rebuild the Pelvic Muscle

So it’s not weird at all, if you need to go and have someone help you to rebuild that structure in that muscle and tissue after giving birth.
If you want more information on this and just postpartum sex in general, I actually do interview a variety of people from a therapist, to a pelvic floor therapist to historians and doulas and more in my back in the sack, postpartum sex ecourse.

New Mom Question 3: Bleeding from C-Section Scar 3 Weeks After Birth

At postpartum together, we call c-sections belly birth, because you also gave birth, it just came out of your belly. Reminder/Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. I am a coach who focuses on the postpartum/new mom period. My advice is from research and anecdotal, but not from a medical degree.

What Bleeding is Normal?

So this momma is saying that at three weeks, she’s still having a small amount of bleeding. Now, I did check in with this mama a little bit more and it seems like it was fairly normal bleeding. When you look into this repair this recovery, it’s about four to six weeks when you want that bleeding to just substantially decrease or go away. This is usually the time where you have that postpartum checkup as well to check your C-section scar. But I say this also- if you feeling like something is out of place, if you’re feeling worried, it’s totally fine to check in with your provider. Send them a picture. Ask them if these things are normal. Never feel like you’re being a burden or that you shouldn’t be able to check in with your provider as you are healing.
Related: Belly birth scar massage

New Mom Question 4: Can Postpartum Depression go Off and On Through the First Year?

Yes, yes. And yes, you are postpartum which is not just depression, postpartum is the season after baby, you are a postpartum for a year-ish after baby. This means that your hormones, your neurological system, all these things can take a year or even up to 18 months to recover. We see that postpartum depression can onset up to a year postpartum because of the changes of hormones.

Read More: Baby Blues or PPD, How to Tell the Difference

You may have weaning hormones- hormones related to nursing. It is important to know that this you might see some highs, you may see some lows, you may feel like you are having this off and on postpartum depression through that first year.

Providers, Medication, Conversation around PPD

I say that to also say continue to check with your provider. If you are using medication, continue your usage of medication and don’t just like go cold turkey on that if you’re feeling good for a few days. If you’re seeing a therapist, continue to bring that to your therapist and know that you’re having ongoing changes. Postpartum depression is common, it is something that we don’t need to be ashamed of, we don’t need to leave it as taboo. And so if you are facing this, continue to talk to your provider, but know that you’re probably going to have some highs and some lows throughout that first year-ish.
Related: How to find a therapist

New Mom Question 5: How Can I Make Baby Responsibilities Shared Between a Stay at Home Mom and 40 Hour Work Week Partner?

This is a really tough one that goes into so many different layers of communication and scheduling and understanding what it actually takes to take care of a baby. So I encourage my clients who are also stay at home moms to think about that as your 40 hour a week job and then your partner has their outside of the home 40 hour a week job.

Block Scheduling

Now how do we look at the in-between and the other things that need to be done? This doesn’t mean that stay at home mom is also the default parent all night, all weekend and all the time. We don’t want to fall into that default mode. What I use with some of my clients and I actually do one-on-ones is block scheduling. This means that we aren’t just kind of wondering who’s on or hoping that the partner takes over. This means that we are being intentional and proactive about our time about who’s in charge; who’s kind of the default parent. This means that we can enjoy our time.

We can schedule in time to be together, we can really schedule in meaningful family time. But this means that we don’t have this default, where the stay at home mom is also the person who’s picking up the slack at 9pm, or the middle of the night or the weekends. Be really intentional about your communication, be really intentional about how you split that time outside of the 40 hour work week. And also honor the fact that being a stay at home mom is really freaking hard and we can count that as our work. But that doesn’t mean that our work is 80 or 120 hours a week. This means that we honor that time, we honor our partners’ other work time. And then we think about that in between and all the gaps that needs to be filled, and how we proactively fill that together.
Related: Communication after baby

Thank you guys for submitting your questions this week on Instagram you can always head over there to submit questions for the week.

pregnancy

Pregnancy Memes: Hilarious Memes New Moms Need in Each Trimester

What are the stages of pregnancy?

As you track your pregnancy week by week, you likely know what size fruit your baby is or what should happen on your pregnancy trimester timeline. Sometimes, though, you need a relatable laugh from pregnancy memes for each trimester. Here they are to get you through when the weeks feel like years and the symptoms feel unrelenting. 

If you’re wondering what you can expect each trimester for mom and baby, you can check out my post over on the Zulily blog where I break down the stages of pregnancy, timeline of the weeks and all the changes. 

We know every pregnancy is different, but there are a lot of changes to expect as you go through each month and week of pregnancy, so here are some laughs to help you through.

three pregnancy trimester description
t

First Trimester of Pregnancy Memes

The first trimester is the land of morning sickness, tender breasts, increased visits to the bathroom and probably a lot of fatigue. Your body is creating a human, so that’s cool. As this happens you’ll have a roller coaster of emotions that impact your body in many different ways. Is your partner calling you moody while you are running to the bathroom trying to decide if you need to pee or puke next? Might be time to take that pregnancy test.


I knew I was pregnant the moment I tried to eat hot sauce and peanut butter in the same bite… and it was confirmed by the pink lines shortly after. Some women notice pregnancy symptoms before a missed period, some can go weeks without realizing they are pregnant. Either way, each journey is filled with some surprise and a variety of emotions as you prepare for this big change.
Related: Myths about motherhood

first trimester is like one long all day hangover meme
woman being sarcastic about first trimester smptoms
peeing all the time in first trimester meme

Second Trimester of Pregnancy Memes

The second trimester brings a growing belly and boobs and is sometimes accompanied by new aches and pains (charlie horses drove me crazy!), skin changes, dental changes, and more. It is also when most moms start to experience the baby kicks. Some even call it the “golden” trimester but that’s still out for your own interpretation. I remember the second trimester as more energy, more cravings and more heartburn. Oh, and leggings. Lots of leggings. Check out some of my favorite clothes for pregnancy and beyond.

woman realizes she cannot shave her legs anymore while pregnant meme
kick me baby one more time brittney spears meme

Third Trimester of Pregnancy Memes

While the third trimester is the last trimester of pregnancy, that doesn’t mean it feels quick. The third trimester is the start of braxton-hicks cramping, often back aches, swelling and that frequent urination again. I remember the third trimester being back and forth- days when I tried to sit back and soak it up and days I just wanted pregnancy to be over. And still, lots of leggings.

what size pants do you wear? leggings
there isn't room for both of us anymore said all of my internal organs to my growing baby bump
each

When you’re moving through the trimesters of pregnancy and preparing for birth remember no two pregnancies are the same and in the midst of it all, find some time and space to laugh. Want to know exactly how you and baby are growing through the three trimesters?
Check out my post on the Zulily blog with all the info.

The Fourth Trimester

Wait, another trimester? The fourth trimester is the time after you have your baby. This refers to baby adjusting to life outside of the womb and mom’s recovery. We love all things life after baby here at Postpartum Together and you can find lots of stories in the Postpartum category. During this time you also have a postpartum check up to make sure you are healing and adjusting!

Postpartum

The 6-Week Postpartum Check-Up: How to Maximize Your Postpartum Care

How to prepare for your postpartum exam. Do you need to go to your 6 week check up? How to know when you need more checkups after giving birth.

C is for Check-Up: The 6 week Postpartum Check Up at

Transcript from video:
Oh, hey, it’s time for another blog on the taboo ABCs of postpartum. C is for checkup, and we’re going to be talking about that usually only one postpartum checkup you get which is usually a 6 week check up (sometimes between 4-8 weeks). Now, for the record, I don’t think one checkup is sufficient at all. But we are going to talk about how to maximize that checkup. Also we discuss what to talk to your provider about and how to be your own best advocate.

If you’re new here, my name is Chelsea Skaggs. I am a postpartum coach and the founder of Postpartum Together. And we are freaking committed to making sure that the postpartum narrative changes so that women are more educated, normalized, supported and empowered in the postpartum season.

Now, reminder, postpartum is not just a few weeks. Postpartum is the year ish after baby. And postpartum is not just related to depression, postpartum is a season we all go through regardless of a diagnosis or not. So postpartum is the season after baby full of transitions that we all go through as birthing humans.

Related: Where do we learn about postpartum?

We Believe Women Deserve More Check Ups After Baby

A whole other tangent is that one postpartum checkup is not enough. The ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) recommend comprehensive follow-ups after having a baby. One appointment is not comprehensive follow up. However, we still have this issue of insurance and providers and the communication and honoring the postpartum season. We know that postpartum is a time that is often just kind of disregarded and pushed under the rug, and we’re not given full on comprehensive support. So we’re going to talk today about how to make that one 6 week check up appointment the best it possibly can be. We also discuss if and when you need to how to advocate for more appointments and more care for yourself.

Now, usually, this appointment happens between four and eight weeks. If you had a belly birth, you might have an earlier appointment. Depending on circumstances, it’s probably going to be somewhere between four and eight weeks. At this point, you’re still healing in a lot of ways. You are still living in a lot of a fog. This is kind of a survival mode.

I know from my own experience, and from some of my clients that when we go to that appointment, it’s hard to even know where to start what to ask. Chances are your provider is going to ask some questions, checking on you, but they may not address all the things that you actually need them to address in that appointment. It’s important that you come in proactively knowing what you need answers to and what you need checked on so that you can feel confident to leave that appointment and continue healing and continue growing as a new mom.

What to ask at your Postpartum 6-Week Check Up

So the first thing is that physical healing, right, they’re likely going to check your whether it’s a belly incision, whether it’s in the vaginal tearing and repair that is happening in that area. No matter how you gave birth, there is recovery, they’re probably going to check how your bleeding is- is it down to very minimal or has it stopped at this point? They’re going to check if everything is healing- scars are healing, how is that doing? If you’re still experiencing pain, this is a good time to bring that up like hey, I’m still feeling this way. Is there something that I should be concerned about? Do you know something I can do about it?

Related: Postpartum Plan Checklist

While we’re talking about physical healing, I want you to bring up your pelvic floor. This doesn’t always come up in appointments from a lot of my clients, we actually have to go out and self advocate for this. You carry the baby, right in this vicinity, resting on your pelvis. And regardless of if you gave vaginal or belly birth, you had a baby resting on your pelvis, affecting your organs, affecting the tissue in the muscle and everything that makes up your pelvic floor.

Asking about the Pelvic Floor at your 6-week checkup

In some countries, pelvic floor therapy is standard care for everyone after baby. Here in the US, we often have to either have a big problem we bring up or we have to advocate.
Hey, I know my body went through a lot of stress, I think that pelvic floor therapy would be beneficial for me.
Chances are, it would be beneficial for you. But we know that especially if you’re feeling:
-Bearing down weight called prolapse.
-Experiencing pain & incontinence.
-Once you’re ready to start having sex again, if that is painful and uncomfortable.
These are good times to talk about pelvic floor therapy.

Be that bridge, again, be your own best self advocate.

Related: What is the pelvic floor?

Ask about Mental Health at your Postpartum Check Up

Now, also at this appointment, you’re likely going to get a mental health screening, this is for postpartum depression. I’m going to tell you right now, it has some language in it that can be suggestive, and in my opinion, a little tricky. Some questions are like, I feel sad for no good reason. And you’re like, well, I don’t know everything in my life just changed. Is that a good reason? Or is that not a good reason? I don’t know who’s the judge of whether this is a good reason.

If you’re feeling off, don’t feel ashamed of how you need to answer those questions. And don’t feel like there’s not room to press into it more and ask your provider to talk more with you about your mental health.  Depression is not just feeling sad, it can be rage or other experiences.

It doesn’t have to be: “I can’t get out of bed.” It sometimes is, and that’s worth addressing, too. But know that in motherhood, you’re going to feel off, you’re going to feel different. But if you’re just really feeling like your day to day is compromised, bring that up. Don’t let that screening be where it stops. I passed screenings in situations where I likely needed more support. That phrasing like “for no good reason” really threw me off. Like my whole life just changed, and my vagina is falling apart, and I haven’t slept like that feels like a good reason. So talk more about that.

Mental Health and Birth Trauma

If you experienced birth trauma, it is important to consider how that could have impact you. It could impact your bond and your relationship with your baby, your relationship with your body, your confidence as a mom. So these are all important things to bring up in the 6 week check up. If you feel like you would benefit from therapy that’s okay, too. There’s no shame in that. Ask your provider if they have a maternal health therapists that they would recommend. Maybe it’s someone in the network.

Related: Postpartum Anxiety Story

Sex & Exercise After the 6-Week Check Up

I want you to make sure that you are talking about more than just your reengagement.  We think of this six weeks as like, check mark, you can have sex and exercise now. But you guys, it’s not that simple. You don’t have to start your same intense workouts right after baby and you don’t have to get back to sex in the same way right after baby. So don’t look at this as just like this green light means go full force, I’m healed. You are not healed at six weeks.

It takes intention and it takes getting back into things. So ask your provider, “What would be an appropriate way to get back into exercise? What would be an appropriate way to move back towards intimacy. Again, we want this to be a positive experience for you. Do not be afraid to ask more questions and go a little bit deeper. Your provider is probably going to also talk to you about family planning. Go into it knowing-what do you want? Know that you have a say and you can ask those questions about what are what are the risks, what are the benefits and find the best solution for you.

Purpose of the Postpartum 6-Week Check Up

I want you to feel like this checkup is about you and that you are worthy of the time and the space that it takes and that it is not rushed, that it is not blown off. If you need more appointments, make another appointment. Tell them that you need their support.

A lot of people think that postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar, like all of these things happen in the first few weeks. And that’s not always the case, it can have an onset at three or six or nine months.

And then your pelvic floor- if you are three months out, and you start to have sex again and it’s really painful, you need to talk to them about getting that pelvic floor therapy. If, you’re having incontinence, which means that you’re not holding your fluids in- peeing, pooping, farting without control, you can schedule that appointment and continue to talk about those things.

Be Your Own Best Advocate: Prepare for Postpartum and Maximize the 6 Week Check up

Don’t feel like your postpartum care has to be limited. We have to be our own best advocates. And that comes from understanding what to bring to the table advocating for our own best needs, and really using that time.

So I hope that this helps you to be more prepared for your postpartum checkup. Whether it’s coming up in a day a week, or you’re you know, just right now expecting or thinking about conceiving, know that this is a space where you deserve time, you deserve attention, and you deserve to have the resources and support.

Again, I am Chelsea Skaggs and the founder of Postpartum Together if you are pregnant girl, get my postpartum planning ecourse that is going to walk you through all the things you need to have prepared for an empowered and supported postpartum and life after baby. If you are you know already postpartum, Maybe you want to grab the postpartum sex Back in the Sack eCourse where we talk about the mental, the emotional, and the physical implications of intimacy again after baby. Maybe you need some extra support, some guidance, some tips, resources and empowerment, check out our postpartum together small groups.