You’ve had your little one, and the trauma of delivery is behind you. Maybe you’re even starting to feel your natural libido return. Doubtless, you have a lot of questions at this changing time of life. When is it ok to have sex after giving birth? What should you watch out for? Today, we take a look at everything you need to know to make a smooth transition back under the covers with your loved one, new family and all.
What’s the Minimum Time to Wait to Have Sex After Baby is Born?
Even if you’re raring to go immediately, it’s important to realize there needs to be a wait time to ensure you heal up properly after the birth. Most health care practitioners recommend waiting four to six weeks, regardless of the type of delivery you had. This allows your body to heal correctly, and reduces the risk of complications. Be aware that if you had a Ceaser-style delivery, or a vaginal tear during birth, you may need to hold off on intimacy for a little longer.
My Doctor Gave me a Different Recommendation Than That?
Remember that what we’ve advised above is simply that- the typical advice. If your specific medical team has given you a different timeline, it’s best to stick to that. They are more aware of your exact body and circumstances, and can better tailor their advice.
What Will Sex After Pregnancy be Like?
Just after delivery, you are still experiencing many hormone changes. These may amp up your libido, or squash it totally flat- every woman is different. On the worst end of the spectrum, this may result in some vaginal dryness that will be a little uncomfortable. It’s also possible the entire area may be tender, especially if you are breastfeeding. Be mindful of any tears to the area you received during delivery, too.
Your vaginal muscles may have stretched or torn during birth. This can affect your bladder, small intestine and rectum, as well as your uterus. Kegels are a great way to re-tone the area- picture sitting on a marble and trying to pick it up with your pelvic muscles. Hold for three seconds, then relax. 10 to 15 of these simple exercises three times a day can do wonders to restore your normal sexual sensations and keep your muscles healthy too.
So How Can you Make Post-Delivery Sex More Fun?
- Don’t be afraid to look out for your pain levels: That could be as simple as taking a warm bath or making sure your bladder is empty, or maybe an OTC pain med could help. If your genital area feels a little sore afterward, you can also wrap some ice in a towel to apply to the area.
- Use lubricant to counter vaginal dryness
- Intimacy isn’t always about sex, either. If you’re in the mood, but a little sore, seek other ways to enjoy each other- like massage, mutual masturbation or oral sex. Talk to your partner about what feels good, and what you’re in the mood for.
- Make time for each other. With a new baby to handle, and possibly other children or commitments too, look for a time you’re not too anxious or tired for your first few post-baby rounds of fun.
Do I Need Birth Control?
In short, yes. There are many myths about not being able to conceive when you’ve just had a baby, or are breastfeeding- and they are all pretty wrong. If you don’t have your cycle back, gave birth less than 6 months ago and only breastfeed, you might be safe, but some women will still conceive much sooner, even if their cycle is not back yet. It’s not very safe to carry another child within 20 months of delivering your last, either, as it takes an unsafe toll on your body.
Estrogen/Progestin birth control can have an elevated risk of dangerous clots directly after birth (this risk drops after one month), so look instead to implants, IUDs, injections or the ‘mini-pill’ to keep you covered. And don’t forget good old condoms, either!
I’m Not in the Mood!
Don’t worry, we are all different! Intimacy is important to a relationship, but as we looked at earlier, there are other ways to be intimate with your partner. It’s stressful having a new addition in your lives, and it’s important not to over-stress yourself and make your sex-life a burden. You and your partner should also watch out for signs of postnatal depression if you’re not feeling the vibe, or have other knock-on effects in your life. Don’t neglect this area of your life too much, however- there’s a life outside your bundle of joy, and intimacy is an important part of keeping your passion alive.
Treat yourself with gentle care, and let the fire of your passion for each other help you make a stronger, healthier relationship as you embrace this new stage of life!