What You Need to Know About Sex After Childbirth (Part 1)

The general consensus is that sex can resume six weeks after childbirth. But not every woman is ready to jump into the sack with their partner in that time frame.

Some might be eager to resume sexual activity as early as possible, while some need more than six weeks, even months to get their groove on.

Whatever the case may be, you need to take things slow and carry your husband along in the process because this affects him as well. Let your partner know about these physiological changes (which have nothing to do with your attraction to him!)

An understanding partner would help at this time but you need to learn how to communicate with your partner in the most polite and effective way possible. Remember, they are affected as well.

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If you had a normal birth

You’ll want to make sure that you’ve had a chance to heal, and that the lochia (discharge of leftover blood and uterine tissue) has stopped. Pay attention to your body — the time your body takes to recover is largely individual. Your partner should wear a condom, and you might need to use a personal lubricant.

If you had an episiotomy, c-section, or other procedure

The time it takes to heal will depend on how extensive it was and where the cutting was done. Even at six weeks, women who have had this procedure will probably still have discomfort if they attempt intercourse. Fortunately, there are ways to alleviate some of that discomfort.

Here are more information you need to know about sex after delivery:

1. It will be different.

Sex feels different after delivery, especially if you have had vaginal birth. Accept that you’ll be making love rather delicately during these first few months. You may have fears that your body will feel “different” to your partner after having given birth. The genital area does revert to its pre-pregnancy state. Kegel exercise can help to restrengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

2. Your breasts have changed.

After you have a baby, you may now suddenly be leaking on you and your partner during sex.

Orgasm may make you produce lots of milk. If you find it off-putting, try to feed your baby before having sex, in order to empty the breasts as far as possible.

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3. Your partner may have hidden fears.

Your partner may have fears or questions he or she is afraid to bring up. Men expect your body to go through major changes during pregnancy, but many are unprepared for the physical changes women will experience after baby.

If your partner was in the delivery room with you, he can be stunned by the physical pain and trauma you experienced, which might affect lovemaking. This is a temporary phase and in time things should get back to normal.

4. Birth control.

After birth, many new moms haven’t gotten back on birth control. This is risky because even if you haven’t had your first postpartum period yet, you could still get pregnant, and that takes a toll on your already exhausted body.

You need time to be prepared mentally and physically to have another child again.

5. Your hormones.

We all know that pregnancy and birth bring on a roller coaster of emotions and hormones, and as a result, you may find yourself uninterested in sex. Not only that, estrogen levels plummet after birth and during breastfeeding. This is what prevents ovulation, but it also leads to vaginal dryness, which can exacerbate painful sex after birth. A good water based lubricant should help with this.

6. You’re exhausted, overwhelmed and need physical space.

After having a baby attached to you quite literally all day and most of the night, you may just want two seconds of peace and quiet when you hit the sack for the night. Many moms find that they feel incredulous and even a bit angry that their partner feels justified in delaying their sleep, even for a few minutes!

READ ALSO: Ask An Expert: When Can I Resume Sex After Childbirth?

7. Intercourse Is Painful

Post-pregnancy hormonal changes can cause vaginal dryness, which may be the source of pain during sex. Breastfeeding also reduces vaginal lubrication, and you may still be sore from childbirth, too.

Have plenty of water-based lubricant on hand during sex. If the pain is coming from an irritated c-section, episiotomy stitch or tear, give yourself another week or two to heal before trying again – and take it slow when you do. If you feel pain and/or pressure even when you’re not having sex, check with your doctor to rule out an infection.

In part two of this article, we would talk more about:

  • How to achieve orgasm after child birth
  • Comfortable sex positions
  • Sexual activities to be avoided
  • What to do if you or your partner has lost interest in sex

 

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