What’s happening to my partner physically?
Although your partner’s bump may be gone, her tummy may still look pregnant for a while. It took 9 months to grow so things won’t go back to normal at once and it’s not really wise for new mums to throw everything into slimming down again. She’ll need any energy she does have for looking after your new baby.
After giving birth, she may feel bruised or sore down below for a few weeks, especially if she needed stitches afterwards. She might also have some bleeding there too and if she had to push very hard during labour, she could also experience piles, even if she didn’t suffer with them during pregnancy. They should improve over the next few weeks though.
Her breasts will feel hot and probably quite tender as her milk starts to come in and they adjust to the new sensation. Some mums also suffer with cracked or sore nipples as they get into the swing of breastfeeding, which can be quite painful, so it’s best to be careful about touching them! Getting some help with breastfeeding techniques and feeding positions should help with this though, so encourage her to ask her midwife for advice.
Emotions after birth
The stresses and strains of labour, the joy of meeting her baby for the first time and the realisation that she’s a mum can stir up all kinds of emotions after birth in your partner. She may feel euphoric, exhausted, contented, overwhelmed, relieved, bruised, tearful, happy and everything else in between! It’s a real emotional rollercoaster, especially in the first 10 days after giving birth.
Whatever she’s feeling, she’s bound to need lots of rest. So don’t feel bad saying ‘no’ when it comes to the number of visitors you have and how long they stay. Also, try to encourage her to sleep as much as possible while the baby’s napping, to give her body a chance to recover and cope with the job of being a mum. If she’s feeling a bit like she’s not special any more – some women miss being pregnant even though they’re happy to be a new mum – there are plenty of ways you can make her realise she’s still fantastic. Breakfast in bed, a surprise bunch of flowers, a nice meal – little things work wonders!
How soon can we have sex again?!
After giving birth, your partner will probably need some time to recover from stitches and general soreness. So sex can literally be a sensitive subject! Looking after a newborn and constantly playing catch-up on sleep can also take its toll. But everyone is different; your partner may be in the mood within days or it may take them weeks to feel sexy again.
So try and be patient and open with each other about your individual needs. Keep up physical contact with affectionate kisses and cuddles, and in time, your partner will be ready for more.