Sex After Baby: When and How?
If you have just had a baby, romance may be the last thing on your sleep-deprived mind. While your partner may be still “in the mood”, you may be willing to trade romance for the chance to get more sleep. The thought of being intimate in an area recently evacuated by a baby can be downright scary. When will the time be right and how will it ever be comfortable?
There is no exact answer as to “when”. The type of delivery (vaginal vs. c-section), medical complications and whether you had stitches or the use of forceps impact how quickly you will heal.
A general recommendation is to wait 4-6 weeks after birth. This allows time for vaginal bleeding to stop, the cervix to close and the uterine lining and any stitches to heal. Many women wait until their 6-week check-up to get the green light from their health care provider.
We know that you know ‘how’ (you had a baby after all!), but “how after baby” can be a bit different. These tips may help:
- Hormonal changes, lack of sleep and adjusting to your new role takes a toll. Your sex drive may not be what it used to be. You may feel ‘touched out’ by caring for your newborn. Talk to your partner and go slowly. Cuddling is a great start; progress when you are ready.
- Your vagina may be drier. Using a water based lubricant during sex will make you more comfortable
- If you are not ready for another pregnancy, be sure to use birth control. It is possible to get pregnant before your first menstrual period. There have been babies born 10 months apart!
- Experiment with different positions. Find one that avoids putting pressure on tender areas. Your body will continue to heal and sex will become more comfortable over time.
- Be creative. If you are too tired at bedtime, try the morning or afternoon!
- Do your Kegels. Increasing the muscle tone of your pelvic floor is good for all sorts of reasons (enjoyment of sex included).
Note: Oxytocin (a hormone that causes your milk to let down) is released during orgasm. This letdown of milk may catch you by surprise!
Talk to your healthcare provider if:
- a lack of sexual desire persists (postpartum depression can be one of the reasons).
- sex is painful.
- you have foul smelling vaginal discharge (you may have an infection!).
Romance is important! Intimacy helps you remember you are not just “mom and dad”. Communicate your wishes and your fears and encourage your partner to do the same. Having a baby is a time of huge adjustments for you both!
Learn more about recovery from birth: Vaginal Birth Recovery: Answers to Top 10 Questions and Answers to the Top 10 Questions after a Cesarean.
Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.