Post-Partum Support: Helping Your Parner after Giving Birth

New parents  need physical and emotional support after giving birth , so here at TENA, we have provided some advice, including tips on how to manage incontinence after birth  and some thoughts on how to help your partner.

What to expect after giving brith

All of the information and classes on pregnancy focus on the birth experience, with little focus on what happens next. The body goes through a lot during pregnancy and recovery after childbirth  will be a gradual process. From stitches to bleeding, your partner is still going through lots of changes.
 
The first few toilet trips after giving birth can be a frightening prospect for a woman after giving birth  because of the soreness, swelling, and any stitches that may have been needed so make sure your partner drinks lots of water in order to dilute the urine and make it sting less. To avoid constipation, your partner’s diet should include lots of fibrous foods like fresh fruit and vegetables and wholegrains. Make sure any concerns are discussed with your midwife who will be a regular visitor in the first days after going home. 
 
Bleeding after childbirth , known as lochia, is completely normal. (It’s a sign of the body going back to its non-pregnancy state) It can be heavy initially so it’s worth investing in absorbent underwear for your partner. Underwear adds reassurance and is easy to remove and change 
 
It’s not a good idea for your partner to use tampons until after your 6-week postnatal check as they increase the chance of infection. Bleeding after childbirth  may carry on for a few weeks and your partner may experience period-like pains, but if they’re losing blood in large clots then inform your midwife immediately.

Incontinence after childbirth: how you can help your partner

Because childbirth weakens the pelvic floor muscles, it’s quite common for women to leak a little urine if they laugh, cough or move suddenly. However, there are a number of ways you can help your partner to manage their post-partum incontinence . Firstly remind them that their body is still recovering and that with the right help it will get better. Make sure the incontinence is discussed with your health visitor and midwife as they can point you in the direction of support.

Pelvic floor exercises after birth

Pelvic floor exercises, otherwise known as Kegel exercises, are incredibly effective in controlling incontinence after birth . These help to tighten and strengthen the muscles in the pelvic floor, in turn improving the function of the urethra and the rectal sphincter. 
 
Help your partner sit or lie down, then encourage them to squeeze and hold their pelvic muscles for 5 seconds (or as long as physically possible) before relaxing the muscles for 5 seconds. These should be repeated between 5-10 times if doable and after a few months, your partner should notice some results. Be sure to read TENA’s in depth guide on the ideal exercise routine for postnatal incontinence to give your partner a helping hand.
 
It's also worth investigating local post pregnancy yoga classes, most are for both parent and baby and are relaxing spaces which focus on bonding and recovery including pelvic exercises.

Bladder traning

Bladder training is a useful technique when treating urinary incontinence after childbirth . To practice, encourage your partner to keep a diary of their urination and leakage times. This will give you an idea of when they tend to urinate so you can help them time bathroom visits and avoid accidents. 
During bladder training, your partner should try and wait a little longer before going to the bathroom. Start gradually, waiting an hour before a bathroom visit, then 90 minutes and eventually you can continue to lengthen the amount of time until the visits are once every 3 or 4 hours. 

Products for incontinence after childbirth

It’s important to find products to help your partner manage their incontinence after birth.
 
If your partner has sensitive skin and suffers from little leaks every now and again, then try Lights liners. These are made from breathable materials and without any fragrances or dyes, quickly absorbing liquid so your partner feels comfortable in their own skin after giving birth. 
 
For something that is indistinguishable from normal underwear, try washable incontinence underwear. These reusable pants are made with quality materials to provide Triple Protection against leaks, odour and moisture for your partner. 
 
Your partner may also be embarrassed by their postnatal incontinence, so make time to reassure them get them to chat with friends, and at their GP check appointment (normally about 6 weeks post partum) and for further advice, read our guide on supporting someone with bladder weakness. 

Post-partum support: how to support each other

Becoming parents is both wonderful and stressful, putting strain on even the strongest of relationships. Part of the issue is that both you and your partner will be exhausted and you’ll spend very little time alone, so it’s important to make time to be there for one another and make each other feel appreciated and cared for. 
 
Communication is key when becoming new parents, so if your partner is bothered by something or vice versa, then you need to talk about it. Ask a friend or relative to babysit so you have some alone time together. Just remember there is no perfect way of doing everything just the best that you can both do
 
 
We hope that you have found our advice helpful as you support your partner through their recovery after childbirth . If you notice anything abnormal post-childbirth, then do seek medical help or call your midwife. Be sure to read our guide on how pregnancy causes incontinence for further context, and take a look at our female incontinence products to help your partner manage their symptoms. 
https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/labour-and-birth/after-the-birth/your-body/
https://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/pregnancy
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/support-and-services/relationships-after-having-a-baby/