Giving birth is taxing for your body, whether it is vaginal or by Caesarean section--healing of your body needs time. When should you start having sex after giving birth? It is recommended by many health care providers that you should wait for at least six weeks after birth for sex to happen. This much time is necessary for the healing of your body-your cervix closes; postpartum bleeding stops and vaginal and cervical tears and lacerations heal.
You also need to set your own timeline. Many females are ready to resume sex both physically and mentally even after a few weeks, whereas some others may need more time. There are many factors such as stress, fatigue and pain that may reduce your desire to have sex post delivery.
Will It Hurt to Have Sex After Birth?
Some females may have some discomfort during sex after birth. This happens especially in females who suffered a vaginal laceration or had an episiotomy during the process. Breastfeeding causes low levels of estrogen in your body making your vaginal tissues dry and thin. This can also hurt during intercourse.
Important tips for having sex after birth:
- It is recommended to wait for at least six weeks or till the lacerations and episiotomy site is healed.
- While having sex, try to assume a position in which you have the control of the depth of penetration, such as side-by-side or woman-on-top.
- To reduce vaginal dryness, you can use water-soluble lubricant during intercourse. Do not use oil-based lubricants especially while using condoms as they may cause rupture of the condoms. Severe cases of vaginal dryness can be treated by using vaginal estrogen cream.
- In case you experience discharge of milk from your breasts during sex, wear a bra that has nursing pads. You can also keep a towel nearby to clear the discharge.
- Perform Kegel exercises regularly to tone your vaginal muscles and make sexual activity pleasurable.
What If I Don’t Feel Like Having Sex After Birth?
There is nothing abnormal if you don’t feel like having sex for the first few weeks or months after birth. This can happen due to fatigue from loss of sleep and responsibilities of being a mother. Your sexual desire may also be reduced during breastfeeding. Some females may suffer from postnatal depression which makes sex less pleasurable. Sexual desire is also reduced if you have suffered vaginal tears or had an episiotomy till the time you feel sore and all these injuries have healed. Females who have had a cesarean section need time to recover from a major surgery.
While having sex you and your partner can try out positions that put less pressure on the surgery scar. You can also start with foreplay to relieve any anxieties you have about having sex. You can also place a soft cloth or cushion on your scar to protect it from friction.
You should take the time to recover both physically and mentally before having sex after birth. Females who suffer from postnatal depression should consult their physicians regarding this.
How to Make Sex Easier and Safer After Birth?
1. Don’t Rush
Before starting to have sex after birth try and get used to the idea of having sex before you actually do it. Spending some time in foreplay and kissing and cuddling each other can help you relax and feel comfortable.
Give yourself sufficient time to get comfortable both physically and emotionally before getting involved in sexual activity. Your body wounds should have healed and you should not anticipate pain during the act, which can be a turn-off.
2. Take Birth Control
You should have a birth control plan in place from Day one. One of the anxieties of getting pregnant again can be relieved by using a birth control while sexual activity.
3. Talk to Him
If there is anything holding you back from wanting to have sex, you should talk to your partner about the issue and he may feel concerned about it. He may feel that you may experience physical pain during the activity or may not enjoy the act. There is also a concern or vaginal stretching and that he may not fit in properly. Talking about the issue will make it easier for both of you to deal with the situation.
Your may feel vaginal dryness due to low estrogen levels while breastfeeding, which can cause pain during sex. Using over-the-counter lubricants can solve your problem.
5. Don’t Wait Till Bedtime
Bedtime is not the right time to have sex during the initial days after birth as both of you may feel exhausted by that time. Try having sex during the time when your baby naps.
6. Exercise and Eat Healthy
Do your pelvic floor exercise to tone your vaginal muscles. This will make the sexual activity enjoyable for both you and your partner.
Eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Drink sufficient amounts of fluids and keep yourself hydrated. Rest whenever you have time to relieve fatigue and exhaustion. Becoming a mother and taking the responsibility of a baby can be extremely demanding both physically and mentally. Hence, you should also take care of yourself.
What Are the Warning Signs?
Approximately 80 percent of females can experience problems in sex even after three months of having a baby. The reason can range from lack of desire to pain or discomfort.
If you suffer from pain or discomfort during sex even after taking appropriate care, talk to your physician about it.
A vaginal discharge with an unpleasant smell indicates an infection that needs medical treatment. If you are still having vaginal bleeding even after four weeks, consult your physician.