You just had a baby so there are many reasons you may not feel like having sex right now. Take heart, your sex drive and energy will return, just need to give yourself some time.
When is it safe to have sex after the birth of our baby?
Most caregivers recommend waiting about four weeks after you give birth. It’s definitely not safe to have intercourse involving penetration until at least two weeks after delivery. During this time, you’re usually still bleeding and at risk for a hemorrhage or uterine infection.
If you have stitches, though – either from a c-section, a perineal tear or an episiotomy – it’s likely that your caregiver will advise you to wait until after your six-week postpartum visit.
After you get your caregiver’s go-ahead, it’s okay to start having sex again as soon as you feel ready and not before.
Let’s be realistic about having sex after your baby’s birth
It’s common to have a low libido in the weeks or even months after having a baby. In the first six weeks after delivery, you’re caring 24/7 for your newborn. This means you’re likely to be exhausted, possibly sore and overwhelmed. Give your body time to heal.
You’re likely to have less natural vaginal lubrication in the first four to six weeks after the birth due to your body’s decreasing level of estrogen during this time. If you’re breastfeeding your baby, this dryness may continue for as long as you continue to nurse. Or it may return slowly as your nursing sessions become less frequent. Use a natural lubricant to enhance your comfort.
Your body has been through a lot. You may feel less attractive or less confident in your changing body at this point. You may fear becoming pregnant again, particularly if you are using a new form of contraception. Or you may be struggling with baby blues or postpartum depression.
When will my vagina be back to normal?
Your vagina will certainly be stretched out just after childbirth, but it will start to shrink and regain muscle tone within a few days. Whether or not your vagina returns to its original size depends on a number of factors: genetics, the size of your baby, the number of children you’ve had, and whether you do Kegel exercises regularly.
I think I’m ready for sex, but I’m worried about the pain
If you had perineal tearing or an episiotomy, you’re likely to be particularly tender in that area. For some women, the tenderness resolves relatively quickly. Others may have discomfort for months after delivery.
Take it slow and easy, and try to enjoy each other’s bodies without specific expectations of where it will lead. Try to find a time when you won’t feel rushed through lovemaking. If you’re not sure you’re ready for intercourse, consider manual or oral stimulation around the clitoris. You can ask your partner to avoid the perineum and vagina if they’re still sore.
Once you’re feeling ready to give intercourse a try, you might experiment with different positions where you can control the depth of penetration. If you had a c-section, consider making love side-by-side so there’s no pressure on your wound. Using a natural lubricant like BabyDance will help reduce any discomfort you might feel from vaginal dryness. Be sure to let your partner know what feels good and what doesn’t as you’re going along.
What about birth control?
Once you give birth, you may start ovulating again at any time, and because you will ovulate before you get your first postpartum period, you can get pregnant if you have unprotected sex during this time. Consider your birth control options before delivery and be sure to use condoms until you’ve got reliable contraception in place.
Talk to your healthcare provider about what kind of contraception will work best for you now. You may be able to resume using the birth control method you used in the past, or you may decide that something else would work better. Your options will depend in part on whether you want to have more children in the next few years and whether you’re breastfeeding.
Will breastfeeding affect our sex life?
Perhaps. Your breasts may not feel like an erogenous zone the way they did before. You may also find that at times they’re too tender for touching or sexual stimulation. Let your partner know how much touching or sucking you’d like.
And yes, your breasts may leak at an inconvenient time. During climax, some women experience letdown (their breasts leak or spray milk). That’s because the hormones that are present during orgasm are also present during letdown. If it bothers you, nurse your baby or empty your breasts by pumping before having sex. As time goes on and breastfeeding becomes more established, leaking during sex may not happen as frequently.
If you’re not ready to resume your sex life yet, give yourself a break. You need time to adjust both physically and emotionally to the demands of caring for a baby, and there’s no need to rush into having sex until you feel ready. In time, sex can be as satisfying as it was before your baby came along.
Want to Know More?
Resources for this article:
Mayo Clinic: Sex after pregnancy: Set your own timeline.
John Hopkins Medicine: What Really Helps You Bounce Back After Pregnancy