Congratulations on your new baby! You’ve survived 40 long, long, weeks of pregnancy, labor and delivery and finally the first month or more of nurturing and caring for your precious newborn baby. Eventually though, both you and your partner might want to begin reintroducing intimacy into your relationship. How soon can you have sex after labor, are there any differences, and are you ready? All of these questions and more will be answered below to help you and your partner prepare for getting cozy under the sheets once more.
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When is it safe?
Just as every birth is different, every recovery from birth is different. Most doctors will give you the go-ahead to restart sexual relations with your partner at around your six-week post-partum checkup. However, this can differ from woman to woman and can differ depending on whether or not you delivered vaginally with no complications or needed to have a cesarean section performed. A general guideline, however, is to wait for your lochia, or post-partum bleeding, to stop. This should normally happen between three and six weeks after delivery. The bleeding is caused by the wound left in your uterus after the placenta has detached. You must wait until the lochia period has ended or else you risk infection in your uterus.
When Will My Sex Drive Return?
Again, every woman is different. You should not concern yourself with worrying about whether or not your sex drive has returned by a specific date, but rather that you and your partner are both physically and emotionally ready to resume intimacy. Some people choose to be sexual before the six-week timeline, but many others wait for the six weeks and others choose to wait even longer. Especially if you have experienced a tear or other trauma during labor, you might choose to wait longer until you are fully healed. If you choose to engage in sex before the post-partum checkup, be sure to double check with your doctor that it is a good time to start. At the end of the day, you know your feelings and your body, and listening to them will help you know when the right time to start is.
Once you do begin to experience a need for intimacy with your partner, be sure to use some form of contraception. Even if you are exclusively breastfeeding, it is still possible to become pregnant, so you should make sure you are using protection until you are ready to conceive again.
Changes to Expect
One of the quickest ways to make your first few times of post-partum sex uncomfortable and difficult is to expect that it will still be the same as it used to be. Just as sex changed during pregnancy, for those who chose to have it, sex after birth will be different!
- One of the first things to accept that will be different is that you will need to be delicate for a while after labor. You may be sore, or you may have to readjust to the way things feel as your vagina may still be slightly stretched out. Doing Kegel’s can help with this.
2. Hidden Fears
- This may seem a bit silly, but believe it or not, you or your partner may have hidden fears about resuming sex. You may not understand your own body, and your partner especially may not understand the changes your body is going through. Your partner may have questions he is afraid to ask, such as if your breasts will leak, or if sex will hurt you.
4 Problems and Solutions
Despite all the waiting and planning, your love life still might not snap back to where you want it to be. Below are some common complaints by new mothers after returning to intimate relations with their partners.
1. Never in the Mood
- Even though it has been six weeks, and your tearing may be fully healed, and your partner is raring to go, you still may not feel like having sex. Your hormones are likely still fluctuating, your body is readjusting to post-partum life, and you are exhausted and consumed with caring about your new baby. In addition, if you are breastfeeding, your libido might be suffering as well. The best thing you can do to help this issue is just to be patient and kind to yourself. You can still feel close to your significant other through cuddling, kissing, and other types of touches. This slow reintroduction of intimacy can help ease you back into resuming sex, and can assure both you and your partner that the closeness is still there.
2. You are Ready to Go
- The opposite of the problem stated above is when you don’t want to wait the six weeks! You may not have been able to have sex during pregnancy or you may be craving the de-stressing that can come with intimacy. Your hormones may also cause a spike in libido early. The best thing you can do is talk about this with your partner and your doctor. Your doctor may give you the go-ahead early, but you should discuss it with him or her first.
3. Intercourse is Painful
- One of the most common sources of vaginal discomfort and pain during intercourse is vaginal dryness. This is caused by the post-partum hormones flooding through your body, and can be caused by breastfeeding. The best way to help ease the pain and discomfort is to use water-based lubricants. You should also take your time and go slowly, ensuring that your
body is given time to adjust. Also, let your partner know if you are having any issues, as communication is key.
- Another common complaint from new mothers is how body conscious they are. It can take up to two months for your uterus to fully contract and until that happens you may still look and feel as if you are a few months pregnant. You might also have stretchmarks, scars, or be carrying extra baby weight. All of these things combined can lead to a crisis of body image and cause you to want to hide your body, rather than share it with your partner. This is not an easy problem to solve, but it is important. You should try to think about all of the amazing things that your body has done! You managed to not only create and carry a new life, but also delivered it. Your partner will be amazed by your body’s strength and beauty, and so should you be.