With the possible fiasco of pregnancy and childbirth and the flurry of family and friends wishing you well and helping you do the dishes, you and your partner may not have gotten around to sitting down to discuss something of extreme importance: intimacy.
Sex and intimacy is, after all, a normal part of life and something that the two of you might want to take into account when planning your life as brand new parents. This is particularly because sex after birth is undoubtedly different. Granted, sex in all different circumstances is different. But with childbirth, it’s more so. Different in a special way, though.
Why? Well, here are a few truths about intimacy after birth that can help you understand.
Following childbirth, you may have to rest for at least four to six weeks before you can have sex. This is because your birth canal, aka your vagina, has probably gone through quite a bit of injury following childbirth. It needs time to recover, which means that penetrative sex is a no-go. The recovery time may even be longer if there are plenty of tears or an episiotomy.
While that’s pretty standard information, did you know that with a caesarian section, you will need just as long to heal as well? This may seem counterintuitive, considering that your vagina is likely not to have been damaged by the C-section. This is because sex can still put a strain on your post-operative wound. Make sure to check with your doctor first!
So what if you want to have sex soon after childbirth but the doc still gives you a no-go? Well, just because you can’t put anything in there doesn’t mean you and the hubby can’t have any fun.
Now may be a perfect time to explore types of sex that don’t necessarily focus on genital-to-genital stimulation. You may already have been doing this as foreplay but now is the time where it can take center stage. You may be surprised at how pleasurable non-penetrative sex can be!
Let’s face it, though: childbirth can be a huge mood killer, at least for the next few months. Some couples may manage to rekindle those burning passions soon after childbirth. But don’t feel bad if you don’t, really. Between lack of sleep, hormonal changes and possible postpartum blues, you just may not be feeling it.
In fact, many women don’t feel like having sex even after the six-week mark. Our advice? Don’t force it.
Many women, however, do feel guilty about their own libido changes after childbirth. Even if you’re not really feeling like getting it on just yet, it can sometimes feel like there’s something missing in your role as a wife. In a way, it almost feels like being a failure as a partner.
However, it’s important to recognize that these changes are actually natural. Don’t feel guilty about something that you can’t control. If it really bothers you, it might help to talk to your partner about your feelings. You’re most likely to find that he actually understands.
If you’re worried about your partner dealing with your loss of libido, just talk to him. You may be surprised to find that he’s not feeling it that often either. It’s not that he doesn’t desire you, or course. It’s just that perhaps he’s tired from the ordeal of childbirth as well.
Research even shows that testosterone drops in men who become fathers. This results in a temporary loss of interest in sex. In exchange, hormones that make them more nurturing surge, which is just to say that your partner may just be trading sex drive for fatherhood instinct for now!
One of the things that is likely to affect intimacy after childbirth is the postpartum blues. This is a normal emotional state, which is just you adjusting to the sudden change of hormones after pregnancy. If this extends on for more than just a few weeks or so, chances are that you might actually be dealing with postpartum depression or PPD. This can put a strain not only on your sex life, but on your relationship in general.
Nevertheless, if you think that you’re at risk of hurting yourself, your baby or your partner, please seek the help of a professional. You’ll find that “outside” help can help greatly in helping you go through dark times such as these.
One side effect of the hormonal changes after childbirth is dryness. In particular, the levels of these hormones decline sharply after childbirth since they’re no longer needed to sustain the pregnancy. Because of this, it can be a bit harder to get wet down there, possibly making sex quite painful.
So if by chance you’re feeling a bit of sexy time with your partner, you may want to make a stop to buy a generous amount of lubricant first. Your vagina will thank you.
So just because you’ve given birth doesn’t necessarily mean that your body isn’t plotting to get you pregnant all over again. Unless you’re using the lactational amenorrhea method and are breastfeeding exclusively at least every four hours, you are going to need some form of contraception. With a new baby in your hands, you’re probably not going to want to get pregnant just yet, after all.
Take a look at all your contraception options, and determine which one is best for you at the moment.
Now may be a time to do something that you’ve already done with your partner before, way earlier in your relationship: set boundaries. Yes, all over again. With all the changes and aches and pains going on, communication is yet again key to making sure that intimacy satisfies both of you.
For instance, you may have loved breast fondling prior to childbirth. Now, however, your twins are off limits. Make sure to explain to your partner that that part of your body is now painful and will need a bit of rest until your bodily sensations return to normal.
Fun little random fact: when a lactating mother experiences orgasm, she may experience milk ejaculation. Yes, out of her breasts. This is because oxytocin, the hormone that stimulates the milk let-down reflex is the very same hormone that is released during orgasm.
Sex can therefore turn into a milky mess of sorts when you climax! If this is a turn-off for either of you, you’d best wear a nice, sexy bra instead.
Intimacy doesn’t have to mean getting all hot and horny every single night. Yes, the two of you might miss the times when you’d make passionate love after a date night full of sexual tension. But it’s important to also appreciate what you have now.
Given that you’re probably both chock-full of oxytocin, that milk-triggering, uterus-contracting, orgasmic hormone that promotes feelings of nurturing, cuddling and caring for each other may take spotlight over those steamy nights. And depending on how you and your partner look at it, that’s not exactly a bad thing!
While your sex life during the year following childbirth may be full of ups and downs, it’s important to keep in mind that things are likely to normalize. That is, unless you’re dealing with bigger problems like PPD. If it’s your first child, you might not expect things to go back to the honeymoon stage, though. But over time, as you and your partner both settle into your newly transformed relationship and your roles at parents, you can still find ways to make your sex life work just fine.
Again, it’s important to note that the changes following childbirth are probably inevitable. But that doesn’t mean you’ve completely given up your chances of having steamy sexy times in the future!
If by chance you still love having sex but it feels a bit different downstairs, you will definitely want to continue with your Kegel exercises. As you may already know, these exercises help tone your pelvic muscles. This can help speed up your postpartum recovery and, if you’ve been doing it for long enough, enhance the grip your lady parts have on his man parts during sex.
It also enhances blood flow downstairs, which can lead to more intense sensations when you’re being intimate. After all, who says you can’t have better orgasms after you’ve given birth?
Many women worry that their post-pregnancy body, with the flabs and stretch marks and all, is going to turn their man off completely. However, most men say that they still find their partners sexy – perhaps even sexier – after childbirth. You may not be having as much sex as before, sure. But that’s not because he doesn’t find you attractive! He may be reluctant to initiate sex because he thinks you might still be in pain or tired. He might even be tired himself.
So unless you’ve made a few possibly questionable decisions around the vicinity of nine months ago, don’t sweat it, really. Keep the lines of communication open. Get as intimate as often as you feel like it. Put on sexy underwear and lipstick, if that’s what can give you a mood boost. You’re still as attractive as ever!
Some couples may experience problems with their relationship after having a baby. Sex might be one of the major factors that one or both sides of the relationship cite as causing trouble. However, rarely is sex the only reason for postpartum strife. Chances are, things like all the additional responsibilities and, perhaps, conflicting emotions play a role in this conflict.
If the two of you find yourself in a situation where you’re not able to talk to each other properly, whether about sex or otherwise, it may help to seek a counsellor. Getting professional help will allow you to address any potentially damaging issues in your relationship early on.