YOUR SEX

New moms urged to im­me­di­ately use birth con­trol to avoid un­planned preg­nan­cies

Move! - - CONTENTS - By Boi­tumelo Mat­shaba

THE woman is at her most frag­ile point after giv­ing birth. She needs to re­cover phys­i­cally from the hours of labour and her stitches need to heal. Her en­ergy lev­els are also low and need to be re­ju­ve­nated. Anx­i­ety about hav­ing a new or first baby might also over­whelm the mom. Some women might even feel in­se­cure about their bod­ies after the birth of a child and worry that their sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with their part­ner might take a dip.

EX­HAUSTED AND WEAK

With all this said, how soon can new moms have sex? “After giv­ing birth I was very ex­hausted and weak, labour had taken its toll on me. All that seemed to have dis­ap­peared when I laid my eyes on my son Sihle,” says first-time mom Nt­sako Nd­wandwa (25).

She says her fam­ily and friends warned her about hav­ing sex too soon after birth.

“It is ap­par­ently easy to fall preg­nant after giv­ing birth,” she says.

Mid­wife Lieket­seng Kabe from Re­fentse Clinic in Ham­man­skraal, north of Pre­to­ria, con­firms it is pos­si­ble to fall preg­nant soon after giv­ing birth.

“At the clinic new moms are en­cour­aged to im­me­di­ately use birth con­trol to avoid un­planned preg­nan­cies too soon after labour. Con­doms are also pro­vided to all new moms,” says Leiket­seng.

“The six-week pe­riod for new moms to ab­stain from sex is there to al­low the stitch­ing to heal and to al­low the cervix to close. An­other rea­son is to al­low the bleed­ing to stop and for the per­ineum (space be­tween the vagina and the anus) to fully re­cover.”

FAM­ILY PLAN­NING

Lieket­seng says she finds that some women do not want to use birth con­trols after giv­ing birth.

Many of them think hav­ing sex while breast­feed­ing will af­fect the child neg­a­tively and there­fore they ab­stain from sex un­til the child stops breast-feed­ing, which is usu­ally be­tween three to six months.

“This is just a myth,” the mid­wife ex­plains, “hav­ing in­ter­course will not af­fect the health of your baby, es­pe­cially if you are us­ing con­doms. New moms must in­sist on us­ing con­doms to re­duce the chances of con­tract­ing HIV and other sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted dis­eases.”

NAT­U­RAL BIRTH

New mom, Buyi Xaba, had a nat­u­ral birth with all three of her chil­dren and never had ma­jor com­pli­ca­tions in ei­ther of her preg­nan­cies.

Buyi ad­mits her mom is very old fash­ioned and taught her to only have sex when the baby is three months old.

“Two months after my youngest son was born, my gy­nae­col­o­gist told my hus­band and I ‘ev­ery­thing is in­tact, let fun times be­gin!’. We did not wait a day longer,” Buyi ex­claims.

She also ad­vises new moms not to rush into any­thing, but to be ready men­tally and lis­ten to their bod­ies.

Moshi­mane Malebe, who is a father of four, says when he had his first child, their doc­tor rec­om­mended that he and his part­ner wait a few weeks be­fore be­ing in­ti­mate.

“I was pa­tient and un­der­stood the im­por­tance of fully re­cov­er­ing. When my then girl­friend told me she had re­cov­ered a few weeks ear­lier than what was ex­pected, I was hes­i­tant to en­gage sex­u­ally right away,” he says.

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