Having a baby is an exciting time for a family. However, after a woman has a baby, she goes through a transformation – physically, psychologically, and emotionally. After you give birth, your full attention will more than likely be devoted to caring for your newborn – and sex might be the furthest thing from your mind. Many still question what that timeline looks like for having sex after having a baby. It is a common question. Yet there isn’t one simple answer.
Are You Ready To Have Sex After Childbirth?
Postpartum sexuality involves considerably more than the physical act of sex, it is also dependent on how a woman is physically and emotionally recovering from pregnancy and childbirth.
Here are some questions to ask yourself.
- How’s your sex drive? Do you feel motivated to have sex?
- Are you feeling healthy enough?
- How are you feeling emotionally?
Each individual is different. Therefore, every woman’s pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum experiences are different as well. Many women have an adjustment period of settling into their new role as a mother and balancing that with everything else in life and finding their sex drive again too. Try to be patient with yourself, that is quite the balancing act.
You and your partner are more than likely not getting as much sleep as you would like, especially during those first few months. Being tired will definitely play a role in whether or not you feel like actually having sex.
How Soon Can I Have Sex After Childbirth?
Most healthcare providers recommend waiting to have sex until four to six weeks after delivery, regardless of the delivery method. The risk of complications after delivery is highest during the first two weeks after delivery. Waiting will also give your body time to heal. If you had a vaginal tear that required surgical repair, you might need to wait longer. During your follow-up appointment, your healthcare provider will likely discuss your healing process with you and you can also talk about what would be a good recovery timeline for you as well.
During & After The Healing Process
The hormonal changes a woman’s body goes through might cause vaginal dryness and tenderness – especially if you’re breastfeeding. You might experience pain during sex if you’re healing from an episiotomy or perineal tears.
To ease discomfort during sex:
- For pain relief. Pain-relieving options to do beforehand: emptying your bladder, taking a warm bath, or taking an over-the-counter pain reliever. If you experience burning afterward, apply ice wrapped in a small towel to the area.
- Use a lubricant. This will be helpful if you experience vaginal dryness.
- Alternatives. If vaginal intercourse is not an option right now – communicate with your partner about other ways you can be intimate together.
- Create time for you and your partner. When the time is right and both of you are not too tired. Make time for sex.
If you continue to experience pain during sex be sure to consult with your healthcare provider about possible treatment options.
Nervous That It Will Feel Different?
Your pelvic floor muscles can get injured during pregnancy, labor, and vaginal delivery. These muscles help to support the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum. Try doing Kegel exercises to tone your pelvic floor muscle. To identify the pelvic floor muscles – try to stop your urination flow mid-stream. Once you have done that you can do these exercises anytime during the day. Try doing Kegel exercises three times a day. This will help to strengthen those muscles.
You will want a reliable method of birth control to use when having sex after childbirth. If you’re within that six-month postpartum window, exclusively breastfeeding, and haven’t resumed menstruating – breastfeeding might offer about 98 percent protection from pregnancy. However, research suggests that the contraceptive effectiveness of breastfeeding may vary. To be safe, select a birth control method that is right for you. If you are not sure which method to choose, your healthcare provider can go over different options for you.
Not Interested In Sex?
You can be intimate without having sex. Give yourself time to adjust to life with a new baby. Try to communicate with your partner about how you are feeling about sex. Until you are ready to have sex you can maintain intimacy in other ways. Make sure you are spending time with one another whenever possible and maybe entertain the idea of giving each other a massage. The point is to find ways to express love and affection with one another. So, it is okay if you are not ready to have sex.
If you find that you are still struggling, be alert for signs and symptoms of postpartum depression. Those signs can display in the form of severe mood swings, loss of appetite, overwhelming fatigue, and lack of joy in life. If you think you are experiencing the symptoms of postpartum depression do not hesitate to contact your healthcare provider. The baby is a high priority, of course. However, do not forget to take care of your physical, mental, and emotional health too. You may find it helpful to reach out to a support group.
We are always here for you at OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch. Many women have questions and/or concerns after becoming a mother. It is important to keep yourself informed and healthy. Give us a call.