Sex After Pregnancy

Women often have various feelings and mixed emotions after giving birth, especially if it is with their first child. Of course, the overwhelming pride and happiness for the new bundle of joy is present, but there is also a possibility of you feeling a sense of loss for the life you have lived before you got pregnant. There is also the trouble of recovering the sexual drive that you had before, as sexual drive is naturally lessened immediately after giving birth. We will now discuss how to get back on your toes regarding your previous sex life, with emphasis on your being comfortable and confident again.

When Is It Safe to Start Having Sex after Birth?

Doctors and other medical professionals recommend waiting for about four to six weeks after giving birth. It is absolutely not safe to have sexual intercourse two weeks after a delivery, due to the risks of hemorrhage, uterine infection, and bleeding. The presence of stitches will even prolong your wait to six weeks or more, and will mandate that you visit your caregiver or doctor regularly.

Various studies and women’s general experience tell us that the libido of a postpartum woman decreases. This comes in handy as you need to get your doctor’s go signal before you have sex again. It also goes without saying that you need to feel ready yourself before engaging in sex.

When Will You Feel Like Having Sex?

As stated above, women’s libido naturally decreases four to six months after giving birth, due to various factors. When you will feel like having sex depends on several factors and how fast you can recover from the troubling factors. Factors influencing if you want to have sex include:

  • Breastfeeding releases hormones that naturally decreases sex drive, which some believe is nature’s way to enhance breastfeeding and ensure tougher offspring.
  • There is also the factor that you will feel tired, exhausted, sore, and possibly overwhelmed by the physical demands of caring for a newborn. Remember that your body also needs to heal and recuperate.
  • Some women are also afraid of having sex for fear of it being painful. This may be true for those who are having perineal tearing or episiotomy, which leads to the genital area being particularly tender.
  • Other women on the other hand feel unattractive, fatter and less confident in the changing body shortly after giving birth. A small number of women also combat postpartum depression, which needs a lot of support from her partner, family and friends as well as a possible professional treatment.

How to Keep Intimate Between You and Your Partner?

You and your significant other will definitely have less time for sex, with all the stress and excitement of your bundle of joy. However, this does not mean that you will lose your intimacy even if you are not having sex. There are a myriad of ways to keep intimate. You can take a few minutes to cuddle and kiss your significant other before sleeping at night. You can also ask or give your partner a small massage or foot rub. Let your significant other know that you appreciate his love and affection outside of sex by saying small things and sweet nothings. You can also be receptive of his sweet gestures, and this way, you are sure to keep your intimacy alive despite the low libido.

How Will Breastfeeding Affect Your Sex Life?

As stated elsewhere, breastfeeding releases hormones that decreases libido. Nursing makes the hormone prolactin increase in order to stimulate milk production, at the price of dampening the libido. Moreover, vaginal lubrication also decreases due to lower levels of estrogen. Using lubricants will help decrease discomforts from dryness of your vagina. You can buy lubricants near the condoms, tampons, and sanitary pads in your local convenience or grocery store. However, care should be exercised in choosing lubricants if your significant other is using condoms. Oil based lubricants may weaken latex and cause condoms to break thus it is better to choose water based lubricants.

Will the Vagina Be the Same as Before?

No, but not significantly so. While your vagina will be certainly stretched out immediately following childbirth, it will shrink and regain its muscle tone in a matter of days. You can help tighten and strengthen your vaginal muscles by practicing Kegels every morning. Kegels are a form of pelvic floor exercise and involve perineal tightening to restore muscle tones around the urethra, anus and vagina.

How to Find the Best Time for Sex with Your Baby Around

Keep your intimacy alive with your partner and do not let your spark run out. Set aside some time for you to be alone with your significant other, even if that includes arranging for a babysitter or for Grandma to attend to the baby for a few hours. If these are not viable, you can always have to sneak in whenever the baby is having naps and sleep.

It helps to be patient and to keep your lines of communication open at all times.

How to Plan Birth Control After Pregnancy

Whatever method you prefer, you should always remember that breast-feeding, by itself, is definitely not a reliable method of birth control. Here are some reliable alternatives:

  • Birth control pills. These pills, which contain estrogen and progestin, are a very common kind of birth control by women regardless if they have given birth or not. However, you should take care with using these if you are breastfeeding, as estrogen is known to affect a lactating mother’s milk supply. A minipill, which contains only progestin and not estrogen, is a viable alternative to pills with estrogen.
  • Barrier methods. Condoms and diaphragms that have spermicides are a viable alternative to hormonal contraceptives, especially for lactating mothers.
  • Other options. After lactating, you will have a myriad of other options for birth control. There are the various birth control pills, vaginal rings, intrauterine device, contraceptive patches, and contraceptive patches. There are also permanent options if you are no longer planning on getting pregnant again. These include tubal ligation, the Essure system, or a vasectomy for your partner. Whatever your choice is, remember to always discuss it with your partner as well as your health care providers. Remember that birth control is always a shared responsibility.
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