Having A Sex Life After Giving Birth?
Many new parents worry about how their sex life will be affected by having had a baby. New parents needn't need to worry though; it's perfectly possible to regain your pre-baby sex life, although you will now have tiredness to contend with!
How Long Do We Have To Wait Before Having Sex?
A woman's vagina goes through a lot during labour. The perineum area will be sore and bruised for a few weeks, even if you didn't need stitches. For women who have stitches, the perineum can take up to 6 weeks to heal. Doctors advise that women should wait until their 6 week check up before resuming sexual activities. Even if the doctor gives you the all-clear, it takes some women longer to want to have sex, particularly if they have had a traumatic labour. All couples are different; some feel ready to have sex again after a few weeks, while others wait 6 months or even a year before resuming their sex lives. The important thing is not to feel like you have to rush back into having sex; do it in your own time and when you feel physically and emotionally ready.
Hormonal changes can also affect when women feel ready for sex again after labour. After giving birth your body is full of hormones, and you will also be dealing with the tiredness that comes from looking after a newborn baby. This can make many women go off the idea of sex for a long time after labour. It's normal to have a low libido for a while after giving birth, and most women get their libido back after a couple of months. It can take some women up to 6 months to feel sexy again, but if your loss of interest in sex continues after this, see your doctor.
Is There Anything My Partner And I Can Do While I'm Recovering?
While your body recovers from giving birth, if you want to get intimate but don't feel ready for sex yet, try other ways of getting intimate with your partner, such as touching, cuddling and kissing. Your partner may benefit from some reassurance that you haven't gone off them, but that labour takes its toll on a woman's body and that it can take a long time to be fully recovered.
What About My Post-Baby Sex Life?
When you decide you are ready for sex again, take it slowly and ask your partner to be gentle. You may experience a feeling of tightness at first. It may feel tender too, but shouldn't be painful. Some women experience vaginal dryness for the first 3 months after childbirth, especially if they are breastfeeding, so you may want to use a lubricant.
Pick a time when you and your partner feel relaxed, and neither of you are too tired, such as during one of your baby's daytime naps. If you can, choose a time when your baby is not likely to wake up (although be prepared for the very likely possibility that you might get an interruption in the form of a crying baby!). When you start to have sex again, it's a good idea to try positions where you can control the depth and pace, until you feel confident that you don't have any areas still sore from labour, such as woman on top positions. If sex is painful, see your doctor. Sometimes the way tears and episiotomies are stitched can cause problems.
If you're breastfeeding your baby, you might be more comfortable getting intimate with your partner after you've fed your baby so your breasts aren't too full or tender. It's possible to get pregnant very soon after childbirth, even if you are breastfeeding, so remember to use contraception. Talk to your doctor if you're unsure of the best form of contraception for you.
The vaginal muscles get stretched during a vaginal birth, so to regain muscle tone practise pelvic floor exercises. Not only do these exercises help with any post-labour incontinence but doing these will repair the stretching that happened during delivery.