Doctors recommend six weeks after delivery before resuming normal sexual intercourse. This, however, is purely an academic question: hypothetically, your body has already recovered from the pains of childbirth, but that does not mean that your libido is up. Your significant other may not really expect your sex drive to go up, especially if they are considerate and loving, but what you or your partner may not realize is that all of this is normal. Decrease in your sex drive can go beyond six weeks—all you and your partner have to do is talk everything out. Remember that intimacy is not just what goes on between the sheets, but afterwards, too.
Is It Usual for Women to Have Low Levels of Libido After Childbirth?
The quick answer: Yes. Some studies have cited that women have little to no desire for sex for three months after delivery, and another cites a complete loss of desire and even aversion to sexual acts for around the same time. There are many causes for the decrease in libido, including fatigue, psychological fears and concerns, distractions, and of course, hormonal changes.
There is a silver lining to this, however: this decrease in sexual drive is temporary. After a time, and with the proper intimacy, you and your partner can resume your satisfying intimate relationship. Below are common causes for low sex drive after pregnancy:
This is probably the most obvious of the bunch. A woman, who has just given birth, whether naturally or through a caesarian section, would need her body to recover. New parents, especially mothers, are generally so constrained in terms of time and energy that they barely have energy for sex. Most mothers have said that they would rather use the spare time to relax.
2. Hormonal Changes
Pregnancy, delivery and labor open up their bag of hormonal changes when it comes to breast feeding as well as suppression in libido. In fact, breast feeding discharges hormones that suppress a woman’s sexual drive, which leads some experts to believe that this could be a natural mechanism to ensure healthy offspring. Anemia has also been reported in some postpartum women. Anemia, which causes general fatigue, also decreases libido.
3. Psychological Fear
There are also psychological factors for the decrease in a woman’s sexual drive after labor and childbirth. A postpartum woman may suddenly have a low self-esteem, as she is likely to worry that her mate would no longer enjoy coitus due to the changes in her vagina. There is also another factor that the woman may unconsciously not want to have sex due to fear of further pregnancy. However, a larger problem may come in the form of postpartum depression, which though it causes a dramatic decrease in libido, would lead the postpartum woman to have radical mood swings.
A new baby would normally take up most of the mother’s time, especially those that have to wake up for late-night feedings and diaper-changing routines. Apart from sheer exhaustion, mothers may just be too distracted to think of their partner’s or her own sexual needs. Partners of new mothers should thus be extra understanding, especially if the new parent is constantly getting up at night and barely getting rest throughout the day.
How to Regain Sex Drive After Pregnancy?
Sex may become a sensitive topic immediately after childbirth, especially with all the constrains on the postpartum woman’s body, the normal stresses of parenting, and sometimes, the financial and other material constraints a couple may face when a child is born. Often, a couple with a new baby would find it hard to talk about the topic. However, there are ways and means to get over the postpartum sexual decline, and bring the spark back into the relationship.
1. Talk Your Feelings
You should not go through this alone—that is why you have your significant other. Being used to to your first offspring would always be a stress factor in rekindling the fire, but talking calmly and openly about how you feel, physically and emotionally, will ease some of the tension. Open up and be respectful of your partner’s views and feelings.
2. Work on Arousal and Foreplay
Sometimes, the pre-coital cuddling or foreplay is all that is needed to remind you and your significant other of the hot times between the sheets. Other times, cuddling and foreplay that does not necessarily lead to sex also helps in reinforcing the romance in your relationship. As long as you and your partner have open communications, this should be fine until your body has recovered from childbirth.
3. Don’t Force It
This would just get the two of you frustrated, and would lead to bigger problems in the future. Talk things out calmly, honestly, respectfully and lovingly. Try to have sex only after you are ready.
4. Inspire the Old Sparks
Go on a romantic date, even if it’s just a simple candlelit dinner at home. Try to remember the little things and sweet nothings that led the two of you together. By reliving the sweet memories, the intimacy between you and your partner will also increase.
5. Give Her Compliments
Normally, postpartum women may find themselves less hot and desirable, and often worry that genital changes after childbirth would detract their significant other. Other women would tend to think of themselves as fat and unattractive—so it is the significant other’s part to compliment her and get her spirits up.
Experience and Advice from Other Moms
Women give birth, that’s a natural fact. Here are some tidbits of wisdom from other mothers who have struggled with a decrease in libido, but regained it with the help of their significant other as well as support from other moms. The following are advices from other moms who have also experienced low sex drive after pregnancy.
1. Express your feelings. Do not be afraid to talk to your husband or significant other. Tell each other that you find him/her sexy after all your time together.
2. Therapy and touch. Couples often have to work out their relationships in order for them to work. Sometimes, however, a couple may not be able to resolve all their problems by themselves. This is where reliable support from friends or even a marriage therapist would come in handy. Go together and solve your problems together.