Tips For Improving Intimacy And Postpartum Sex After Baby Is Born.
The postpartum period
Postpartum begins immediately after your baby is born, and is usually defined as the first six weeks following childbirth. Your OB or midwife will schedule a visit around this time, although some providers may see new moms sooner than this -- ask at your next prenatal appointment. You will experience a lot of changes and need to make sure you have time to rest and recover before having sex.
Physical and emotional changes in your body
Whether you give birth vaginally or have a c/section, you will have vaginal bleeding called lochia for the first few weeks after your baby is born. It’s not recommended to have intercourse -- or insert a tampon or even take a bath -- during this time. How long it takes to physically recover from birth will depend on different factors during delivery, like whether you had tearing, an episiotomy or a c/section. On the emotional side, you may experience “baby blues” or have symptoms of postpartum mood disorder. Talk to your doctor and get help if needed.
He’s going through changes, too
I’ll never forget supporting a couple during the birth of their first baby. The mom requested a full-length mirror so she could see herself push. As the baby crowned, she said to her husband, “Will you ever want to have sex with me again?” He immediately replied, “Of course!” and we all had a good laugh. For some couples, it’s not that easy. New dads can also experience emotional changes and they’re sleep-deprived, too. Couples need to give each other support during the postpartum time.
When will I be ready?
“I base my recommendation on the particular woman and her context,” says Amy Romano, CNM, a Midwife who attends home and hospital births in Connecticut. “Did she have an easy or difficult birth? Is she still bleeding? Is she still healing from a perineal tear or cesarean? Women are rarely emotionally ready before their bodies are healed. So I usually tell women to go for it once they feel ready and have their desire back. For many women, this is around 2 months, but there is huge variation around that.”
Feeling sexual again
You might not feel particularly sexy with extra baby weight to shed. Or, you may feel more beautiful than ever, amazed at the wondrous thing your body just did. He may be turned on but you may not want him anywhere near you after holding and feeding your baby all day. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open. Some couples find it helpful to relax with a glass of wine and have other forms of sex before intercourse. There are many other ways to be intimate, too. You should never feel pressured into having sex again until you’re ready.
Believe it or not, some moms feel more sexual after giving birth than they ever did before. “Something about parenting together and knowing the intense joys and challenges of raising kids can translate to more intense feelings in the couple's relationship,” says Romano.
Ready for sex, but not ready for another baby
When you are ready to start having sex again, don’t forget about birth control until you’ve decided to conceive another baby. Even if you haven’t started your period again or are exclusively breastfeeding, you can still get pregnant. Talk to your doctor or midwife about your options.