Bri Carey is here to talk about helping couples stay connected and keeping their relationship a priority through pregnancy.
Bri has two little ones, a 6 year old and a 2.5 year old. She’s been in the sexual health and wellness field for almost 14 years. She’s been married for 15 years.
In her coaching work she primarily works with couples and one of the toughest things that comes up for couples is the conversation around intimacy during pregnancy and even after with postpartum.
What are the common struggles that women or couples go through when it comes to intimacy during a typical pregnancy?
You’re growing another human, you’re having morning sickness or body aches and pains, and you’re basically becoming this whole different person in 10 months. You're having to deal with that and you’re taking care of this child in your womb, and having to navigate working, maintaining your house, and also your partner on top of that. It’s a lot of not feeling well, feeling bloated and swollen, not feeling sexy, or feeling like you don’t know this body you’re in.
When working with couples, we talk about things like how to feel confident in your body, and appreciating your body for what it's doing.
What are some ways for couples to make sure they’re making their relationship a priority?
Find different ways to be intimate that isn't sex. Baths together, massages, just opening up communication and talking.
Scheduling creates consistency. When you have consistency your body will crave it more, and you feel a lot more connected.
Date night, especially before baby, getting as much 1 on 1 time as possible.
A little getaway just to refresh before the baby arrives.
Using communication cards to connect on a deeper level.
Making intimacy and your relationship a priority during pregnancy will definitely help make things easier postpartum.
What about women who might be interested in solo pleasure, or if their partner isn’t around?
During the second trimester, you’re having a surge of hormones and that’s when a lot of women really feel the most arousal and want to have sex more. So take care of it sis, get your vibrator, use your hands, just enjoy that. Enjoy it, don’t feel like because you’re pregnant you can’t masturbate.
What are the challenges people might face when they’re just a couple weeks postpartum?
When Bri had her son she had some tearing. When she went to her six week appointment her midwife gave her the all clear. It was maybe a couple of weeks after that appointment when they first tried to have sex again, and Bri immediately knew something isn’t right. She went back to her midwife and the midwife said that everything looks great, told Bri to have a glass of wine and use more lubrication. It’s bullshit that this is what women are told. We start to internalize and feel guilty that we don’t want to have sex with our partner because it’s painful.
When we give birth there is vaginal trauma. Your body can remember that trauma and you may have to retrain your body to enjoy pleasure.
Get comfortable touching yourself again. Using vibration is helpful to wake up those nerve endings in a different way. Have your partner join in with you, have them hold the vibrator on you, or guide their hand. Work your way up to penetration with a small toy, then your partner.
Advocate for yourself. Use your voice and speak up. If the doctors have a checklist, you should have your checklist too. If you feel like your doctor isn’t listening to you, find a new one because you don’t have to suffer.
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