It’s true that having a child turns your world upside down, and that it affects every mother differently. Some may need more time to experience the physical and emotional aftereffects of giving birth, while others may be itching to get their routine up and running… and both scenarios are completely normal.
Whether you’re a new mother lacking libido or one that feels like hopping back in the sac, there are a few things that you should know. Which is why we’ve compiled a guide on your sex life after delivery. Herewith, the in’s and out’s of having sex after pregnancy!
Sex After Pregnancy: Waiting Time
There is no official waiting time to engage in sex after pregnancy, although most professionals advise waiting four to six weeks (longer if you experienced vaginal tears).
They’re also likely to tell you that the first two weeks after delivery is the period which holds the biggest risk in terms of complications after giving birth.
Sex After Pregnancy: How Will it Feel?
One’s body goes through a number of changes during and after giving birth, such as hormonal changes that may cause vaginal dryness and sensitivity.
When you do decide to hop to, you may want to consider these suggestions beforehand:
- Emptying your bladder
- Having a warm bath
- Taking pain medication
During the deed, you may benefit from using lube to counteract vaginal dryness, or you may want to start off slow, such as non-penetrative sexual acts. We love the sound of:
Sex after pregnancy may feel different for some, especially those who have a natural birth, because the chances of some kind of stretching or tearing is normal.
It’s also possible that your pelvic floor would have weakened slightly, which is why we recommend doing kegel exercises, or perhaps using Ben Wa balls to strengthen your pelvic floor (double check with your medical professional before use).
It’s also normal to experience some bleeding during sex after pregnancy, but if it persists for more than four weeks, consulting a professional is highly advised.
Giving Birth and Libido
After delivery, levels of estrogen and progesterone go down considerably to pre-pregnancy levels, and it is these hormones that play a crucial role in one’s libido. For that reason, it’s normal for new mothers to feel little to no sexual desire after delivery.
Additionally, breastfeeding tends to keep levels of estrogen low, meaning that it may take longer for those breastfeeding to gain back sexual desire.
Birth Control After Giving Birth
If you’re not keen on having another child anytime soon, you’ll definitely want to continue (or start) taking birth control after giving birth. And you can start several forms of birth control straight after delivery, such as:
- An IUD
- A contraceptive injection
- A contraceptive implant
We do however recommend that you consider using condoms instead for at least one month after delivery, as these kinds of birth control could pose a risk of blood clots. We suggest talking to your healthcare provider about birth control to get an accurate assessment.
Lacking Sexual Desire After Pregnancy: Is It Normal?
It’s very normal. In fact, Andrea DeMaria, an assistant professor in the realm of health and human sciences, and her team did research on the topic:
"We found that some women just weren't sure about their bodies, or they had pain and discomfort, or they were just tired and exhausted from caring for a new baby."
Stephanie Meir, a Ph.D student, also noted in her study:
"Women may not feel mentally prepared or may feel nervous, especially if they tried to have sex and it didn't go well the first time. Body image is also a concern, and some women aren't feeling super comfortable about the changes in their bodies.”
And Roseanne Seminara, director of midwifery at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in New York said that "fatigue is the number one enemy of resuming intimacy”.
Whatever you may be feeling post-delivery, be sure to be kind and gentle with yourself. Giving birth is a joyous yet life-altering experience, and your comfort and health is extremely important during this transition period.
If you have any concerns or worries, consult your medical professional for ease of mind and better recovery.
Helena Lorimer, Sexual Health and Wellness Expert at JOUJOU