June 8, 2012
Set your own timeline
Sex will be the last thing on your mind after having a baby, so it is key that you understand the expectations and how to renew intimacy with your partner.
Sex after pregnancy does happen. You will definitely have vaginal soreness and sheer exhaustion are likely to take a toll. Whether you're in the mood or sex is the last thing on your mind, here's what you need to know about sex after pregnancy.
How soon after childbirth can I have sex?
Whether you give birth vaginally or by C-section, your body will need time to heal. Many healthcare providers recommend waiting four to six weeks before having sex. This allows time for the cervix to close, postpartum bleeding to stop, and any tears or repaired lacerations to heal. Depending on your own physical condition , it may take a little longer. Some women feel ready to resume sex within a few weeks of giving birth, while others need a few months — or even longer, up to a year. Factors such as fatigue, stress and fear of pain all can take a toll on your sex drive.
Will it hurt?
Your vagina maybe dry and tender due to hormonal changes , especially if you're breast-feeding. To help ease any discomfort during sex, take it slow, start with foreplay – cuddling, kissing or massage and gradually build the intensity of stimulation. If vaginal dryness is a problem, use a lubricant such as KY Jelly. Trying different positions to take pressure off any sore areas and control penetration can also be of great help, ensure that you tell your partner what feels good — and what doesn't. Focus on yourself and your partner, there is a likelihood that your mind will drift off to changing diapers, doing the laundry or pending house chores. If despite it all sex is still painful , consult a doctor for possible treatment options.
Will it feel different?
After a vaginal delivery, decreased muscle tone in the vagina, which is usually temporary, might reduce pleasurable friction during sex — which can influence arousal.
To tone your pelvic floor muscles, try Kegel exercises. Simply tighten your pelvic muscles as if you're stopping your stream of urine. Try it for five seconds at a time, four or five times in a row. Work up to keeping the muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 10 seconds between contractions. Once you've got the hang of it, do at least three sets of 10 Kegel exercises a day.
What if I'm too tired to have sex?
Caring for a newborn is exhausting. If you're too tired to have sex at bedtime, say so. This doesn't mean your sex life has to end, however. Consider making love early in the morning, while your baby naps, or while your baby spends a few hours with a trusted friend or loved one.
What if I'm not interested in sex?
That's OK. There's more to an intimate relationship than sex, especially when you're adjusting to life with a new baby. If you're not feeling sexy or you're afraid sex will hurt, share your concerns with your partner.
Until you're ready to have sex, maintain intimacy in other ways. Spend time together without the baby, even if it's just a few minutes in the morning and after the baby goes to sleep at night. Share short phone calls or send text messages throughout the day. Look for other ways to express affection. Rekindle the spark that brought you together in the first place.
If communicating with your partner doesn't help, be alert for signs and symptoms of postpartum depression — such as intense irritability and anger, overwhelming fatigue, lack of joy in life, and difficulty bonding with the baby. If you think you might be experiencing postpartum depression, contact your health care provider. Prompt treatment can speed recovery.
What can I do to boost my sex drive?
Most sexual concerns associated with pregnancy or childbirth resolve within a year. In the meantime, concentrate on ways to promote your physical and mental health. For example:
Set reasonable expectations as you adjust to parenthood.
– Appreciate the changes in your body.
– Eat a healthy diet, including plenty of fluids.
– Include physical activity in your daily routine.
– Rest as much as you can.
– Ask your partner, loved ones and friends for help.
– Join a support group for new moms.
– Remember, taking good care of yourself can go a long way toward keeping passion alive.
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