| Tara Langdale
In the days after giving birth, resuming sex may be the furthest thing from your sleep-deprived mind. The thought of postpartum sex with your partner may not be a top priority on your to-do list (between breastfeeding to sleeping).
Plus, there's a lot of changes physically and emotionally after you have a baby. It's common for women to have a perineal tear or feel sore for weeks. Understandably, your body and mind need time to heal before you resume a healthy sex life. Yet, at one point, you'll take the plunge into sex after pregnancy and may desire a few tips to make the transition a little easier.
Understand the beautiful trauma of giving birth
Before you had your baby, you may have felt it would be the most magical day of your life. And it was, but not at all how you imagined giving birth. Most people don't realize that regardless if you had a vaginal delivery or a c section, your body underwent a pretty significant trauma.
Some women labor for hours, only to have a cesarean delivery. Other women experience labor so fast and furious that the pushing causes a tear or episiotomy. Perhaps, you thought your child was in danger. By the time you hold your newborn baby, you've survived a magical event that leaves you ecstatic, transformed, and exhausted.
Be aware that postpartum depression can happen
There’s a reason your gynecologist asked you a zillion questions about “how you’re feeling” during a postpartum care visit. According to the American Psychology Association, postpartum depression (PPD) affects 1 in 7 women. (1)
While feeling sad, emotional, and scared may only last a few days, the sensations may stretch for weeks or months if left untreated. PPD is bigger than the "baby blues" and can have severe effects on your wellbeing and sex life. If you suspect you have PPD, speak to your health care provider.
Set your own sex timeline
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stress there’s no exact timeline for sex after childbirth. (2) The “waiting time” depends on different factors— the main one being you. In as little as two weeks, your body may have healed enough to make time for sex. However, you may not be ready emotionally. You may have also had a cesarean birth.
The recommendations for c section recovery are to wait at least six weeks before resuming sexual activity. Or it may take six months before your sex drive returns. It all depends on your body, so take all the time you need.
Allow yourself time to heal
As with setting your own timeline, allow your body to recover. It's common to experience pain during sex after you've given birth. Your vaginal walls and pelvic floor have been stretched in ways you can't even imagine. Give yourself all the time it takes to heal to avoid the possibility of painful sex.
Understand your body may be different
The body changes you may experience after childbirth varies, but can be very real. Your breasts look and feel different. You may have a lower body image. Or you may have a sense of pride that you brought your baby into this world.
Childbirth can make sex feel new and exciting or scary and painful. Understanding that you've changed allows you to understand that your sex life may have changed too.
Connect with your partner
In the days and weeks after giving birth, finding the time to connect with your partner is hard. If it's your first child, you're learning to accept the lifestyle change. If you have other children, your attention becomes split between the non-stop needs of newborn care and the demands of older children.
Taking a moment for intimacy or sexual activity can be difficult. Yet if you take a few minutes to connect, you may fall naturally into having sex.
Make foreplay the main event
There’s this idea that sex is only penetration. But we all know that’s not true. In the weeks after delivery, resume sexual activities that entail delicious foreplay. Take the time to rub and kiss each other before moving on to the big event. Foreplay jump starts your sex drive and helps you enjoy sex more.
Use a lubricant
Vaginal dryness can happen for different reasons, but one thing is for sure, it makes sexual intercourse painful. After giving birth, you may be breastfeeding, which lowers your estrogen levels. Lower amounts of the female sex hormone reduce vaginal lubrication. Adding a high-quality lubricant into your arsenal of sex toys gives you the slippery boost you need.
Stop if it’s too painful
It’s natural for sex to feel painful for weeks after having a baby. You may experience some slight pain and bleeding the first time you have sex after birth, but if it’s a searing or tearing pain, then stop.
Remember to take precautions
During the postpartum period, it's more important than ever to use a birth control method. You may be breastfeeding and think you can't become pregnant. Or becoming pregnant was hard the first time, so you think it will take months before it happens again. The March of Dimes recommends waiting 18 months before becoming pregnant again to heal the body. (3)
Dyspareunia is painful intercourse for known and unknown reasons that goes on for an extended period. It can cause pelvic floor dysfunction (muscles are weak or tight) and causes serious problems with sexual health.
Postpartum dyspareunia comes from weak pelvic floor muscles after giving birth. You can strengthen and stretch your vaginal muscles naturally with pelvic floor exercises using a vaginal dilator. VuVatech vaginal stretchers have helped thousands of women to enjoy healthy sex lives by alleviating postpartum dyspareunia.
Having sex after a baby is born depends on your physical and emotional well being. It's important to talk to your health care provider if you have any concerns. But when you're ready to have sex, know that it can be healthy and fulfilling. VuVatech understands women's health and is here to help you lead enjoyable sex lives.
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