Congratulations on your new bambino! Having a baby changes your perspective on life immediately – usually right after you hear that first cry. But now you’re out of the hospital, and you’re ready to get back to your normal routine – meaning it’s time to start knockin’ the boots.
Except, of course, the act of having sex is not even on your mind right now. You are trying to manage feeding the kid every three hours, changing diapers, taking showers (and keeping yourself presentable for the non-stop stream of relatives that keep coming over to see the baby), and – hopefully – getting some much needed nap time in between.
Add in leaky boobs, belly fat, and a fussy baby, and… well, it’s obvious that having sex after childbirth is challenging to say the least. As a board-certified OB/GYN, I give my patients the okay to have sexual intercourse (vaginally) six weeks after delivery. I may ask them to wait longer depending on if their vaginal tears have healed, or if they are still having postpartum vaginal discharge.
Ladies, you have to follow up with your doctor or midwife so we can do a pelvic exam to clear you before you start having sex again. If you have sex before you’re fully healed, you may rip your stitches out or put yourself at risk of infection. If you’ve had a C-section, that advice still applies to you! A C-section is a major surgery – your body needs time to heal from that, too. With that said, here are eight more things every couple needs to know about having sex after having a baby.
1. Your breasts might leak. It doesn’t matter if your partner is caressing them or you are having an orgasm – sometimes milk will “let down.” Additionally, if you are breastfeeding, sometimes you may not want your breasts to be touched – your baby has been sucking on them and they can be tender. Pumping can make the breasts less tender. You can also consider wearing a tight bra during sex.
2. Sex can be painful. Estrogen levels drop after having a baby, meaning your vagina will be dry, making sex hurt. Breastfeeding can cause this to happen as well. The solution? Use lube. Astroglide can make sexual activity more comfortable.
3. It might not feel right. If you’re worried about things feeling a little loose, there are things you can do to help out, like your Kegels. Or even better, use Ben-Wa balls. These balls are weighted, and you have to use your muscles in your vagina to hold them in. Buy the ones with the string attached to them. This way you can increase resistance by tugging on them.
4. You will feel self-conscious. Stop it! You had a baby. Of course your body changed! Start exercising with your partner in order to get that body back in shape, and don’t forget about healthy eating – but whatever you do, don’t feel guilty. After all, you just pushed a baby out of that body!
5. You should use birth control. Don’t risk getting pregnant during your postpartum period. I have seen this one too many times. Stay away from hormonal forms of birth control, also, as artificial hormones can decrease your sex drive.
6. You need to find the time for sex. At least once a week go on a date night (without the baby!) with your partner. Enlist all of those family members that have been coming over to visit for help. You don’t have to sacrifice intimacy when you have a child.
7. You need to get some rest. Altered sleep patterns (which are very common for new moms) can dampen your sex drive. Hire the new grandmother to care for the kid once in awhile. Fatigue is real, and it will sap your energy and your sex drive!
8. Your hormones will take time to even out. Due to fluctuating hormones (and everything else going on with your body), it’s completely natural for your libido to sink after pregnancy – but don’t worry! If you’re determined, a little foreplay and some extended romantic sessions with your partner can still get things going. Everything will come back after you start having regular monthly periods.
While some people have lower libidos after pregnancy, that doesn’t necessarily mean you will have the same experience. How was your libido after pregnancy? Let us know by tweeting us @Astroglide!
Follow Dr. Drai @DrDraiOBGYN on Twitter for more “Medical T” (Tips!) on #SEXAfterTheBaby. Happy Sexin’.
Images are for illustrative purposes only.