Postpartum Sex...Whats the Real Story?

As a women’s health expert in clinical practice, I am asked to consult with patients who are about to have a baby or have just had a baby and are curious about when they can begin having sex again. Many women have been told that they need to wait the allotted six weeks prior to having sex with their partners. This is simply not true and in fact it is probably a good idea to have sex prior to the requisite six week postnatal check so that the woman has an opportunity to discuss any sexual health problems a couple may encounter.

That said, in actual fact it is a decision that is left up to the couple, and many couples have sex within a few weeks after birth while others may wait months or even a year.  Some couples never have sex again, but that is another #V-Love Diary. There really is not a timeframe that is considered normal.

It is not unusual for new moms to have a decreased interest in sex and there is a plethora or reasons, from discomfort due to episiotomy and the required stitches or a bruised and sensitive perineum from delivery. Either way woman may be fearful to engage in sexual relations right away. It is a good idea to allow for healing and letting any stitches dissolve prior to having sex.  Remember, sexual intercourse does not have to happen the first time you feel sensuous or aroused.   Choose a comfortable position for sex and it may be a good idea to use a lubricant like #V-Love when you do have sex after having given birth to your baby.

Many women are so focused on their baby that their partner may feel forgotten. A new mom is often very tired and quite frankly may just be too tired for sex.  Fatigue is a very common reason for low sexual desire which is why it is important for new moms to take care of themselves and not take on too much. It is not unusual for new moms to want to do everything while tending to their little bundle of joy. Let’s be honest they are not always bundles of joy, and this can contribute to fatigue.

A woman may have hang ups about her body after having delivered a baby.  She may be carrying extra weight, her breasts may be enlarged or engorged from breastfeeding and she may be bleeding vaginally.  She may not feel the sexiest at this time.  It is important that she keep her partner’s sexual needs and urges (especially if her partner is a man) at the forefront and accept this new beautiful body as one that has performed in the most magnificent way.  With good nutrition, exercise and a tincture of time, she will get back to at the very least a semblance of her pre-pregnant state in no time.

If a woman chooses to breastfeed, she may feel like she is on demand all day long and therefore may not be all that inspired to have her partner, caress, kiss, lick or touch her in a sensual way.  Being over weight, tired and out of shape may make a woman feel less than interested in sex at all. That too is OK and it is fine for her to voice that to her partner. Keeping the communication up is often just as good as keeping other things up!

See your doctor or midwife if sexual pain persists past the first few times and or if there is any foul smelling vaginal discharge.  The best advice is enjoy your baby, go easy on yourself and make your relationship with your partner a priority now and forever. Don’t leave your partner to fend for themselves so keep them in the ring!

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