The Longest Shortest Time

Starter Kit: Home Remedies for a Pain-Free Sex Life

If you listened to the second episode in our Sex & Parenthood series, you know that it can be hard to motivate yourself to find the help you need after a childbirth injury. We get it. And we know you’ll get there. But in the meantime, we thought you might want to get started with a few simple things that’ll help you begin to heal. We asked pelvic floor physical therapist Debra Goldman, our special guest for our upcoming childbirth injuries Google Hangout, to put together a starter kit for the mom with a hurtin’ pelvis. Here are her favorite products and stretches—all things you can do at home! So check these things out. And, uh, yeah. Make that appointment you’ve been meaning to make.

Now I’ll turn this over to Debra. —HF

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Debra working on a patient

Debra working on a patient

DEBRA GOLDMAN’S STARTER KIT FOR A PAIN-FREE SEX LIFE

Best lube. Good lubrication is a must when you’re embarking on your post-delivery sex life. Whether or not you’re breastfeeding, your hormones and vagina are still in recovery mode so vaginal dryness can make any little discomfort magnified. Slippery Stuff, my favorite lube, is alcohol and paraben free. Two other great products for irritation at the vaginal opening are Desert Harvest Pure Aloe Soothing Gelé and Neogyn Vulvar Soothing Cream.

Best vibrator(s). If you can tolerate penetration without pain, a nice smooth vibrator can be just the thing for orgasm renewal. The Berman Center Intimate Basics Vaginal Stimulator is good. But if you have vaginal pain, there are also vibrators you can use anally that might help. Adam & Eve Toys has a nice selection. But if you’re still leaking urine and can’t even tell if your pelvic floor muscles are kicking in, the InControl Apex device is a great tool to recover your muscles and throw those pads away. Don’t let the looks of it scare you! It’s best used with a pelvic floor PT to get you started, but it’s a 12-minute home program done at home that will give you results! There’s also a device called the Intensity that combines muscle stimulation and vibrator.

Best way to skip undies. I love a new product called GoCommandos, super soft strips of cotton with an adhesive backing that you attach to your pants, leggings or pantyhose. They let your crotch breathe and heal without the restriction of underwear or extra bulk.

Best manual. A great little book that’s handy to have at the bedside table with hilarious captions is Position of the Day: Sex Every Day in Every Way. For a woman who is experiencing pain in certain positions, you might find ideas in here for positions that are more pleasurable and pain free. It’s also good for same sex couples.

Best (easy) stretching routine. We can’t ignore that the rest of the body has worked really hard, to accommodate your growing baby, gone through labor and delivery, and now has to hold, carry, feed, and diaper your baby. Your upper back, shoulders, arms, and wrists might be screaming for help. And then there are those heavy boobs pulling it all south. So here are three things that you can do anytime, as soon as you want to after delivery.

1. Breathe. And don’t freak out that your belly is now like a giant jello blob. As you exhale. try to wake up the lower abdominal muscles and gently pull your belly button down towards the spine. Don’t worry about how long or how much. Just start doing it.

2. Check in with your pelvic floor muscles. Try to contract them as if you are stopping a fart. Some women who delivered vaginally might not feel their muscles contracting for a few days. If you are seriously leaking urine, and I’m talking gushing, you need immediate help.

2. Wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a big hug for getting through this. But then keep your arms around your shoulders and rotate and twist in both directions to help your mid-spine and ribcage move. Clasp your hands and stretch them in front and behind your body. Don’t forget to use a pillow against your mid-back when you are nursing or bottle feeding. That’s where you need the back support, and that’s where your partner or friends need to rub your back. Don’t be shy about asking! —DG

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Thanks, Debra! We can’t wait to hear you answer listeners’ questions at our Google Hangout, streaming live on Tuesday, February 10 at 2pm ET. To submit a question to Debra, leave a comment here with the specifics on how you got your injury and what hurts now.

Photo: Amelia Martinez