Sex after Childbirth: What to Expect?
The idea of having sex again after birth can be a bit overwhelming. There are many factors involved and you’ll likely not be ready right away. It’s important to eventually resume your sex life, but don’t feel like you have to right away. Patience and good communication with your partner will be helpful when deciding when to have sex again.
How Soon After Birth is Sex Okay?
There is no specific amount of time after giving birth when sex is okay to resume. The right time is completely dependent on you and your partner.It might be a good idea to wait at least until your 6-week postnatal appointment to get the go ahead from your doctor, but more often than not, 6 weeks is still too soon for most people. Some couples may be ready to have sex again as soon as possible, and some may decide to wait months or even a year. There are many things that can affect how soon after birth you’ll want to resume your sex life.
1. Speed of Healing
The speed in which you heal after giving birth has a direct impact on how soon you’ll be comfortable with having sex. If you had an episiotomy or tore your perineum during birth, it may take you longer to heal and be able to have comfortable sex again. Even without an episiotomy or tear, you will likely be sore for a while.
2. Feelings About Your Body
There is no doubt that pregnancy and childbirth changes our bodies. You may have loose skin, stretch marks, and additional weight that wasn’t there before you got pregnant. You may even have a scar from an episiotomy or caesarean. These things may leave you feeling down and not sexy. This is completely normal, but try to focus on what left you looking that way. Your body did an amazing thing and your partner recognizes that. Most men think that their partners are as beautiful as ever after giving birth.
Having a new baby can leave both you and your partner drained of energy. Sleep can be very scarce in those first weeks and months. It’s likely that any time you get that could be spent having sex, you’ll probably just want to sleep. This is normal and to be expected. Just remember that it won’t be like this forever.
Something else that is true when you have a new baby is that there never seems to be enough time in a day. You are constantly busy trying to care for your precious new bub while also juggling all the other normal aspects of life. It can certainly be hard to find time to spend intimately with your partner.
Things to Expect with Sex After Birth
A lot of changes happen to your body during pregnancy and childbirth. Having a new baby also brings a lot of changes to your life. It’s important for both you and your partner to understand that sex might be a bit different from before you had your bub.
1. Vaginal Dryness
When you give birth, your hormonal balance changes dramatically. One side effect of this can be vaginal dryness. You likely won’t have as much natural lubrication as you did before giving birth. It’s entirely normal and nothing to be embarrassed about. It should return to normal after your hormones balance back out.
2. Your Breasts May Leak
The hormone oxytocin, sometimes known as the love hormone, plays a critical role in both breastfeeding as well as sex. For this reason, it’s likely that you’ll experience let downs during sex and milk leaking.
3. Sex May Be Uncomfortable
When you first begin having sex again, it may be somewhat uncomfortable and maybe even painful. Don’t force yourself to have painful sex. Take your time, ask your partner to be gentle, and make sure you let yourself heal completely. If discomfort or pain persist, seek help from your health care provider.
4. You May Be Interrupted
Babies are very unpredictable and it can be difficult to find time to be intimate with your partner. It’s likely that you will take advantage of nap time or bed time to get this important time in with your partner. You never know for sure when baby may wake up and need you though. Sometimes it may be at a very inconvenient time. Just try to be patient and remember that this is only a short period of time in your lives.
5. Reduced Frequency
Even once you and your partner decide to resume your sex life, it’s nearly inevitable that you will be having less frequent sex than you did before baby came. Not only are you going to be very busy with baby, but you’re also probably both going to be very tired for a while.
Tips for Sex After Birth
When it comes to resuming sex after birth, things may be different and somewhat difficult at first, but don’t lose hope. There are plenty of things that you can do to help make things easier and more enjoyable.
1. Use Lubricant
When having sex after birth, it’s a good idea to use a lubricant. It not only helps to combat vaginal dryness that often occurs after birth, but it helps reduce friction which can be really helpful to prevent pain and discomfort.
2. Wear Breast Pads
The leaking of breastmilk during sex can be awkward and uncomfortable. You can combat this by not getting completely naked and wearing breast pads to catch the leaking milk. You may be worried that by keeping some clothing on that it will take away from the intimacy and pleasure. If that’s the case, consider wearing some lingerie or just a sexy bra with the breast pads inside.
3. Be Prepared with Birth Control
Our bodies are capable of becoming pregnant again just weeks after giving birth. So, unless you’re interested in back to back pregnancies, you’ll want to be prepared for sex after birth with some form of contraception. There are many forms of birth control available. Discuss your options with your health care provider at your 6-week postnatal appointment. If you and your partner do decide to have sex before then, make sure you use condoms if you wish to avoid another pregnancy so soon.
4. Communication is Key
It is so very important that you and your partner have good and open communication with each other especially in regard to your sex life after your child is born. There can be a lot of challenges and you need to be honest with each other about it. If you aren’t ready for sex right away, your partner might not understand your reasons and could feel rejected. Telling your partner how you feel and what you’re going through can help him to understand better.
5. Start Slow
Remember when you first got together with your partner? You probably didn’t skip straight to having sex. Kissing, caressing, and cuddling are great ways that you can connect with and be intimate with your partner before you’re ready for full blown sex. There are plenty of ways for you to pleasure each other before you’re ready for penetrative sex again.
6. Increase Foreplay
Obviously, foreplay is important when it comes to sex. This becomes even more true after birth. An increase in the amount of foreplay before sex will help you to relax more and get your mind off of any of the things that are holding you back. It can also help increase your natural lubrication making sex more pleasurable and less likely to cause discomfort or pain.
Take Your Time
By taking your time and practicing consistent and open communication with your partner, you can ensure that you both have a good time when you resume your sex life. Never let yourself feel pressured to have sex again before you’re actually ready. There is no specific time when you have to resume your sex life. It’s different for everyone and however short or long that period of time you need is, it’s okay and normal. Try to remember that whatever is holding you back is only temporary and that you will feel like yourself again and things will become more normal in all aspects of your life.