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