Category Archives: My partner and I

Shared responsibility

A baby’s birth brings so many changes in the lifestyle and routine of a couple, especially since this new member is completely dependent on what they do or stop doing. Caring for a baby involves lots of tasks, such as periodic diaper changes, or setting apart some time to laugh, talk and play. Your baby also needs adult supervision as {he/she} sleeps, eats, and takes {his/her} very first steps. As you can see, a baby needs lots of attention, especially in the first few years.

With such a big change, it’s completely normal that arguments arise every once in a while. You didn’t have to share this big responsibility before, and now one of you has to respond every time your baby needs something. You might wonder: Who will attend the baby in the middle of the night if {he/she} cries? Who will change diapers more frequently? Is it normal that mom winds up doing most of the job? In order to answer these questions, it’s important to understand your position as a couple. Being a woman doesn’t mean that you have to do all of the work by yourself. It’s also not about starting a competition on who’s taking most care of your baby! Don’t keep count of who changes the diaper most. Instead, invest in working together as a couple to take care and raise this new human being. This is why both of you should take part in raising your baby. No counting, no arguing, and no blaming. You’ll benefit from talking about these things before the baby is born. The best way to share this new responsibility is by getting to know each other better, and by thinking about others before you think about yourself.
Remember that raising a baby is a huge responsibility, but it’s also a big blessing. Being a parent could be one of the best things that happen in your life!

Parenting styles

Due to recent scientific discoveries about human development, we now know how important the first years of life really are. The best way to prepare for this is by talking to your partner about your baby’s education, and the way you want to raise {him/her}. According to several studies, parents are a big component to their child’s behavior, personality, and self-esteem. Diana Baumrind is a psychologist that has studied the effects that different parenting styles have had on children. According to Baumrind, parenting styles have two dimensions: control or demand, and affection. The authoritarian style is based on inflexibility, demands, and control, with no affection or response to the child’s needs. These parents tend to be very demanding, as they base themselves on firm discipline. The democratic style is based on discipline, but it’s also versatile, showing affection and responding to the child’s needs. The permissive style is based on excessive affection, with no discipline or boundaries. And the low responsive style or negligent style is based on rejection, lack of discipline, and lack of affection. These are non-involved and irresponsive parents.

Baumrind found that children had some characteristics in common depending on the parenting style applied. For example, children who were raised by authoritarian parents tended to have low self-esteem, were unhappy, insecure and unfriendly. Children who were raised by democratic parents were competent, happy and self-sufficient. Children who were raised by permissive parents were dependent, immature, lacked self-control, and had low academic performance. Lastly, children who had negligent parents had issues with attachment, problems with other children, and few friends.

Baumrind model on raising styles helps parents understand more about parenting styles, and why some of these are more effective than others. We know children need discipline, but we also know that affection is key for successful human development. According to the effects we reviewed, the ideal parenting style is the democratic. Parents should set limits, but also be affectionate and responsive to their child’s needs.

Oxytocin before and after giving birth

Oxytocin is also known as the “love hormone” since it’s directly related to attachment, happiness, love and orgasm. Your oxytocin levels increase at the end of pregnancy when your baby is about to be born. This hormone prepares your body for birth, making your uterus feel contractions. After your baby is born, oxytocin levels get higher in order to expel the placenta. However, there are some factors that could hold back your oxytocin levels during delivery. For example, fear, anxiety, anesthesia or anger could lower your oxytocin production, causing the need for your doctor to give you a synthetic oxytocin shot, which imitates the utilities of this hormone. This medicine called Pitocin, can also help induce birth or discharge the placenta after a cesarean delivery.

Oxytocin is also responsible for maternal behavior and attachment to the baby. Finally, oxytocin is directly related to breastfeeding, as this hormone produces the milk let-down reflex so your baby can feed.

The production of oxytocin is one of the most important hormones we have, both mentally and physically. Oxytocin helps your baby’s delivery, and also helps him survive, as oxytocin plays a role in attachment and maternal care.

Teamwork

There are many different types of interactions within couples; those who are always together, those who constantly fight, those who are very independent, and those who work as a team. The dynamics and roles between a couple changes when a baby arrives. However, this tends to happen more often amongst new parents. Now, they both have new responsibilities that they should take into consideration in their daily lives. One of the best ways to handle this is with teamwork.

Teamwork means working together with the same goal in mind. Respect and tolerance are two virtues that you and your partner should both practice in order to work together, even when you both have different opinions. Your baby will need lots of attention and care and will be your responsibility to attend {his/her} needs.

Pregnancy is a great exercise to practice teamwork. Once you’re both experts, you’ll have less trouble when it comes to raising your child. Remember that your emotions and feelings have an effect on your baby, even if {he/she} is still in the womb. Don’t forget to promote teamwork, since it can be very satisfactory, improve your relationship, and even help your baby flourish!

Choosing a name for your baby

Your baby’s birth is near, this is the time when you finally get to choose your baby’s name! There are so many that it must be hard to choose one. You’ve probably already discussed your favorite names with family members or friends, and have gotten a wide range of options. Remember that it’s impossible to choose a name that pleases everyone; so don’t let your decision be affected by other people’s opinions. You’ll hear the name you choose for your baby for the rest of your lives, so choose the name that both you and your partner like the best. Remember your baby is your’s and your partner’s too, so it is important to take the decision together.

You can start looking for names on the web or in a book and make a list of the names you like the most. Try to write down only the names you really love. Then begin to make a smaller list (with three to five names) so it makes your decision easier.

Here are some tips before choosing your baby’s name:
• Search for the meaning behind the names you like the most. This could help narrow down the names on your list.
• Think of the nicknames that each name could have. Some of them could be prone to make fun of, so be mindful and consider choosing other options.
• Consider pleasing the family or a friend by giving your child their name, as long as you and your partner are both satisfied and in agreement.

Sex during pregnancy: pain and discomfort

Is it normal to feel pain during sex?

Pain during sex is known as dyspareunia. This type of pain presents itself as a cramp, but starts with penetration, and gets stronger as the sexual activity proceeds. It could happen before, during, or after penetration and its intensity can increase.

Dyspareunia may cause some physical and psychological issues, since avoiding sexual intercourse could cause problems in the relationship. Depression, anguish, rejection and conflict are common amongst the couples where one has dyspareunia.

Dyspareunia is more common amongst women who have given birth or gone through cervical procedures. It can present itself during pregnancy or during lactation, and it’s often related to vaginal dryness, so using water-based lubricants could be helpful. Some other things that could cause dyspareunia are swollenness, infections, lesions, irritation, or lack of lubrication. Some emotional factors could be depression, anxiety, stress or a background of sexual abuse. This is why going to a health professional is so important. You can get screened, you can get help, and maybe some treatment or medication. Don’t let it affect your relationship. Get rid of dyspareunia as soon as possible!

Sex during the third trimester

Your pregnancy is soon coming to an end. In no time you’ll finally have your baby in your arms! These months have been filled with new experiences and now that you are in the final stretch, remember, it’s important to work on your affectionate bond with your partner, now more than ever. Intimacy and pregnancy are not mutually exclusive. It’s completely normal that during this period some concerns and doubts may arise. For this reason, we compiled you with the answers to some questions women present during this time:Can sex or orgasms speed up birth?
No. Orgasms do provoke your uterus to contract, but these contractions are very different from those of giving birth. Don’t worry; sex will not make you have a preterm birth!Is there any moment in which I should avoid having sex?
Most women can have sex with no problem during their entire pregnancy. However, if you have any complications, a history of preterm births, vaginal bleeding with no explanation, or amniotic liquid discharge, you should avoid it for a while. We recommend you visit your doctor in case of presenting any of these symptoms.How long should I wait to have sex after giving birth?
Whether you had your baby the natural way or had a cesarean, your body needs some time to heal. It’s recommended that you wait around 6 weeks until you have sex again.

Remember that intimacy can and should be given in other ways too! Keep in touch with your partner with calls or texts. Try to set apart some time for you, and remember that physical contact with consent, even if it’s not sexual, is always welcome!

Sex during the second trimester

During the second trimester, intimacy with your partner could become more comfortable. During this period, your body will be more used to the hormonal changes and you’ll feel more at ease since nausea will have diminished. The ways you interact will your partner will keep changing. If you have any doubts about sex during this trimester, don’t worry! Below we answer some FAQ related to sex during the second trimester.

What are the best positions?
As long as you’re comfortable, any position is safe for your baby. Sex is a great opportunity to get to know your partner in an intimate way. Don’t worry about having to try new ways to interact with your partner! As your pregnancy moves forward, you’ll find that maybe some positions are more comfortable than others, for example, lying on your side with your partner instead of on your back. There are no guidelines as to which positions are better, so share this moment with your partner, discover the positions together, and remember that the main goal is to be comfortable and enjoy yourselves.

What kind of sex is safe sex?
There are some concerns as to which kind of sex is better. From a medical point of view, vaginal sex is safe unless there’s risk of abortion or other complications. On the other hand, oral sex represents no threat for the mother or the baby. When it comes to anal sex, beware; during the third-trimester, hemorrhoids can arise due to pressure in your uterus. If you present any hemorrhoids you should avoid this type of intercourse. Likewise, this kind of interaction could cause discomfort in your lumbar area, due to the pressure that is placed on that zone.

Remember that the most important thing to share during sex is the love you have for each other. It’s important to share your concerns, interests, and experiences. This will help you strengthen your intimacy, and fully enjoy your sexuality.

Sex during the first trimester

Is having sex during pregnancy dangerous?
As long as your pregnancy is going well and smoothly, you’re able to have as much sex as you’d like. Some women are concerned that sexual activity during pregnancy could cause them an abortion. It’s important to keep in mind that most abortions happen because of chromosome abnormalities, or genetic issues, not because of what you do or don’t do sexually.The amniotic fluid, the uterus muscles, and the pelvic area protect your baby, which are pretty tough, so, don’t worry, sexual activity will not hurt your baby!

During your first trimester you can continue to have sex without a problem. Just be sure to maintain proper hygiene, and remember that you might not always want to have sex. Hormones, mood swings, and nausea could cause the desire to diminish, but don’t worry, as you move further along in your pregnancy, you’ll start feeling more and more comfortable. Sharing your needs and concerns with your partner is key to avoid misunderstandings.

Is it necessary to wear a condom?
Doctors recommend using a condom if there’s a chance of your partner having an STD (sexually transmitted disease). If your partner is healthy, there are no risks for it to be needed. Sex is a way to keep intimate with your partner, as well as it being a chance to rekindle intimacy.

Working on your relationship is beneficial for your baby

Generally speaking, many couples don’t realize that the birth of their baby could result in some turbulence in their relationship, especially when they believe that a baby is supposed to be the arrival of happiness. Studies like the one conducted by E. LeMasters in 1957, state that around 83% of first-time parents go through moderate and sometimes even severe crisis in their marriages after the arrival of their baby. This is an important aspect to consider during pregnancy given that experts say that when children witness frequent fights or discussions between their parents, they could be negatively affected by anxiety or difficulty in regulating their emotions.

This is why having a “healthy” marriage will have a positive effect on your child. The author of Brain rules for baby, John Medina, guarantees that in order to have a “successful” child, parents must work on their marriage. Recent studies reveal that children that come from a stable marriage stand a higher possibility of having academic success, better physical and emotional health, and a lower probability of becoming addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. Likewise, these children tend to have a better relationship with their parents.

Here’s a list of advice you could try to in order to work on and strengthen your relationship, especially after the arrival of your first born.

1. Never expect a baby to be the solution to your problems. Having a baby is a big responsibility that you both have to take care of.
2. As a new mom, it’s very likely that you want to do everything for your baby by yourself. However, let others help you so you don’t end up exhausted or stressed.
3. It’s highly recommendable that the father has an active participation in taking care of the baby, in order to form the father-children bond.
4. It’s common that your baby gets all of the attention when {he/she} just arrived, and even more common for it to be the mom’s attention. However, honest communication and your romantic relationship must not be left behind. Look for ways to keep things intimate.