Weddings are always a much looked forward to, joyous occasion, not just for the bride and groom to be, but also family and friends. Ensuring your ‘big day’ really is your dream come true, usually involves a great deal of detailed planning and execution. Usually this leads to it being the sole focus of all concerned, especially the happy couple involved and little consideration being given to matters of deeper consequence.
While it may be true that you and your husband-to-be have known each other for ages and have a good grasp of each other, living together always reveals a multitude of facets and quirks in both of you, that you may not have ever imagined would develop into irksome issues between you. So it’s always best you sit down and discuss with each other your expectations of the marriage and be as honest and revealing about yourselves and your dreams, motivations, concerns, doubts, fears, etc. as possible.
The ability to be trustingly open and respectful of each other as individuals always sets a good backdrop for honest communication or debate between the both of you. Being understanding and patient is very important. Having the channels open to discuss each other’s hopes, dreams, desires and even despairs is important if your love and relationship is to stand the test of time. The more open and sharing you are with each other, the healthier and stronger your bond will be.
For many women, sexual intercourse, can be a painful experience, especially the first time round, particularly if approached with trepidation. Hence, if your wedding night is your ‘first time’, it is important that both you and your partner are aware of this and approach sexual intimacy in a way that makes the experience safe, comfortable and enjoyable by both of you. “I’ve spoken with patients who had no clue what to expect and the experience terrified them so much, they were apprehensive about intimacy thereafter,” shared Dr. Romanie Fernando, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Asiri Medical Hospital. “Sometimes, counselling is required to remove any anxiety or fear and the sooner (rather than later) this is addressed the better.”
If it is your plan to settle in with each other before starting on a family, deciding on a form of birth control, that you are both comfortable with, is important. While of course it is entirely your choice as to how soon you choose to have kids, Dr. Romanie recommends not postponing pregnancy for more than a year. If this is your plan, she suggests you use one of the following 3 methods.
1. Natural contraception or rhythm method: To use the rhythm method, you track your menstrual history (6 to 12 months) to predict when you’ll ovulate. This helps in determining when you’re most likely to conceive. You will have to either abstain from sexual intercourse or use backup contraception (like condoms) during this period. “This window usually lasts for approximately 5 days in each cycle,” explains Dr. Romanie. “So, learning when these days are will help you abstain or conceive depending on your choosing.”
2. Condoms create a barrier, stopping sperm from entering the vagina. They protect against sexually transmissible infections (STIs) as well as unintended pregnancy.
3. Contraceptive Pills use hormones to prevent pregnancy. A pill has to be taken daily and is extremely reliable if taken correctly.
It is best you discuss your options with a midwife or a gynaecologist before making a decision.
A surprising fact is that most young Lankan women have little or no understanding of what constitutes contraception. Many are under the false notion that abortion is a form of birth control and get a rude shock when they visit their doctor and find out otherwise. This is why pre-marital counselling helps. With the knowledge of how reproduction works, couples are able to understand emotions and desires and also to share responsibilities and behaviors required to meet reproductive health goals.
If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or illnesses, it’s important you see your physician, to get their guidance on how to approach conception for a healthy pregnancy and baby. Some of the most commonly seen concerns are, thyroid related, diabetes, heart conditions, thalassemia, weight issues, blood pressure or to do with haemoglobin levels. Irregular menstruation and other conditions like polycystic ovaries, severe pain during menstruation will also be flagged and dealt with by your doctor pre-pregnancy. Being honest with your physician will help make for a better experience and most importantly a healthy pregnancy. There are also some vaccinations that are required to be taken — rubella and chicken pox — before conceiving.
Irrespective of whether or not you and your fiancé are sexually active, it is important that you both get tested. Knowing the various STIs you are at risk of catching and getting tested can ensure you have a happy sexual life together.
If you have not had any previous sexual encounters, a vaccine is available to prevent cervical, throat and anal cancer. This needs to be taken before any sexual contact. “The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was introduced nearly 3 years ago and is now given to young girls as soon as they start their first period,” explained Dr. Romanie. “The infection is transmitted-skin-to-skin. The vaccine has 3 doses that should ideally be started a month before any sexual contact.” This is not to say it can’t be taken after you’ve become sexually active. But, before you do, ensure you get tested to check if you have contracted this infection. Just as you would plan your honeymoon with a travel partner, it is ideal to start this new chapter of your life with some help from professional pre-marital counselling to tackle any lingering questions and issues.
Asiri Medical Hospital has pre-marital counselling and pre-pregnancy programs in place to help couples find their way through the many challenges they may face. The programs cover a variety of topics, and rest assured, you and your partner will be in good hands! Throughout every experience the both of you share, remember to keep the lines of communication open. If you do, there’s no doubt you’ll have a relatively smooth wedded life!
Asiri Medical Hospital,
181, Kirula Road,
Tel: +94 763 90 90 99 / +94 11 4 523300