Sex. It used to be a pleasant, and perhaps, regular part of your life. But now that the baby has arrived, the mere thought of the act makes you cringe (or yawn). Whether it’s because you’re too exhausted, still healing from giving birth or not quite ready to expose your post-baby body, know that it’s quite natural for new moms to place sex on the backburner.
But, while sex tends to take a back seat for most new parents, it’s not something that has to or should disappear for too long. Aside from its “feel good” factors, sex emotionally connects couples and strengthens physical intimacy.
While it may take a little patience and practice, it’s possible to include sex back into your life and enjoy it once again.
The “Right Time”
Deciding on the “right time” to have intercourse again is really an individual decision. Even if you’re ready emotionally, you must be physically ready as well. Women are advised to wait six weeks but this timeframe can be less or more time, depending on the healing process. It’s best to hold off on sex until your doctor gives you the go ahead and until you both feel comfortable.
Making it Great
When the doctor says it’s all clear and both you and your partner are ready, there are several tips you can follow to help make the experience an enjoyable one:
- Take it slow. Rather than jumping right into intercourse, take part in some foreplay. Kiss and cuddle with your partner and take turns massaging each other to get you both in the mood.
- Use a lubricant. If you’re nervous about stitches or tears, if your vagina is on the dry side (which is especially common when breastfeeding), or if you’re just feeling sensitive, a good-quality lubricant like KY Jelly can help alleviate feelings of discomfort.
- Try different positions. To help ease any potential tenderness, try experimenting with different positions. The traditional missionary position, for example, tends to put pressure on the perineum and may be best to avoid until you’re fully recovered.
- Don’t leave it until bedtime. If you want to wait until the baby’s asleep, don’t wait until night time when you’re all sleepy. Exhaustion is a good excuse for not being “in the mood”. Instead, take advantage of baby’s afternoon naps and have sex when both you and your partner are awake.
- Don’t expect sex to feel the same way (as it did before baby). If you had a vaginal birth, your vagina will take some time to regain its pre-baby shape. You can help speed this along by doing regular Kegel exercises.
- Breastfeed. Nurse baby before having sex. Your breasts have the tendency to leak when aroused as well as feel more sensitive and sore when filled with milk.
Remember the Contraception!
It’s not true that you can’t get pregnant when breastfeeding or before you get your first postpartum period. If you’re not planning on becoming pregnant again soon after giving birth, it’s important to use contraception whenever you have sex.
Once baby arrives, the thought of sex might be daunting. But with a little patience, planning and creativity, your sex life will once again thrive.