If you have just had a baby, sex must be the last thing on your mind! Before you brush this article off, and move on to read about your top of the mind questions (e.g. How to burp the baby? How long to feed the baby? How can I reduce this baby belly? Will I ever get to sleep again?), pause for a second and remember that while you have 1000 other things that is running on your mind, your partner might be thinking about sex. Even if he is not, understand that in the mad rush of responsibilities that follow a childbirth, sex might easily become an unimportant, not-to-be-talked-about topic and consequently, you might just stop having sex, or have sex very infrequently. It is easy to forget that you were a couple before you became parents. Since we all agree sex is fun and healthy and a great way to retain the spark in a relationship, read on to understand and ward off any concerns you might have.
The very important question first:
When Is It Safe To Have Sex Again After Childbirth?
Your doctor would ask you to wait at least 1 month, or ideally 45 days. This is because:
- Your postpartum bleeding will last for around three weeks and intercourse during this period might result in uterine infection
- The internal wound in your uterus, due to placenta separating from it, will take about a month to heal
- If you have had a normal delivery, there is a high chance, it has led to tear/episiotomy. You need to wait for this to heal
- If you have had a c-section, it will take about 45 days for the internal stitches to be completely healed
It is not necessary that you start immediately after the 45 days mark. That is just the medical green light. When you want to rekindle your sex life is entirely personal and has to be decided along with your partner. You might still feel uneasy and sore after 2 months, so it is ok to wait. If you are breastfeeding, the extra prolactin in the blood might also make you be a little averse to sex.
Tips For Having Sex After Baby
Now that you know you can have sex after about 2 months of your delivery, here are some of the commonly heard about concerns about sex after baby and tips/solutions to cope up with them:
- Sex after baby hurts!
Your body has become a circus of hormones! There are so many hormonal changes happening as the body understands that the baby is delivered. This might leave your vaginal area dry and sensitive, more so if you are breast feeding. This might make penetration painful.
Tip: Take things slow. Spend a lot of time on foreplay to build up the sensation. Use a lubricant if you think the pain is due to vaginal dryness. If you have had an episiotomy, then the pain might be partly on your head too. Do not think about the cut and the stitches and relax. If you are still not ready for intercourse, try manual or oral stimulation first
- My sex drive seems to be gone after the baby!
As mentioned before, you have so many other priorities right now. Your sex drive, is not “gone”, it is just “forgotten”. And well, you are exhausted now like never before. Once you hit the bed, the only action you want is closing of eye-lids. In addition, there is hormonal play, as mentioned before.
Tip: Start with being intimate with your partner first before thinking about sex. Touch, hug, cuddle and talk! In many Indian homes, the child sleeps right between the parents on the bed. See if you can change this arrangement and put the baby in a crib next to you. Take a holiday. With the baby, ofcourse. You would still have baby chores, but your mind will be more relaxed and playful during vacations. And most importantly, when you are spending intimate moments with your other half, put that multi-tasking brain to rest and do not think about diaper-changing and next feed!
- I am ready, but my spouse is not!
Either you or your husband might become open to sex first. In most cases, husband comes faster on track than the wife, but in some cases, it might be the other way around, especially if your husband was with you in the labor room and witnessed the child birth.
Tip: It is ok to be not ready. There is more to marriage and an intimate relationship than sex. Most important thing here is to talk and communicate with your partner. Find other ways to express love and affection. Discuss the concerns. If you are the husband, then make sure your wife is not going through postpartum depression
- My body has changed a lot!
It is absolutely normal to feel body conscious after childbirth. Mostly because we look pretty much pregnant despite the fact that the baby Is out. You have big belly, leaky breasts, stretch marks, swelling, stitch scars – and you are not ready to expose these to your partner yet.
Tip: Be proud of yourself Mama! You played God and created a life. What you see on your body are not imperfections, those are signs of your awesomeness. And more likely than not, your partner is so proud of what you have accomplished to notice the imperfections. You can also, of course, start small exercises when your doctor lets you. This might make you feel better about yourself
- Sex doesn’t feel the same now!
If you have had a normal delivery, your vaginal muscles are pretty stretched out. This might result is sex feeling different, both for you and your partner.
Tip: As they say, different does not mean bad, it means something new. Try different positions that feels most comfortable and satisfying to both of you. Continue your pelvic exercises, especially Kegels, to strengthen your vaginal muscles.
One thing to keep in mind during all these is birth control
Remember that even if you are breastfeeding your child and you have not got your periods back, you can still get pregnant. Discuss with your gynecologist and spouse various birth control options.