If theres one thing that people seem to be curious about, it’s sex after birth! How long after you give birth can you have sex? What will it feel like? What can you expect from sex after pregnancy? The very thought of postpartum sex may seem exhausting and daunting in equal measure what with the physical healing after childbirth, raging hormones, the baby blues or other hits to your mental health. Oh, and there’s the small matter of a tiny human next to your bed every night. Now what? Here’s your no nonsense guide to sex after childbirth.
- Sex After Birth: you may not want to – and that’s ok
Doctors universally recommend that nothing is inserted into the vagina (whether that’s a toy, tampon or penis) for at least 6 weeks after birth to allow the body to heal effectively. What you might be surprised to hear is that you may well have no interest in having sex well past that point. It’s no secret that having a newborn is incredibly tiring, not to mention emotionally draining (and wonderful too) – a severe lack of energy can have a massive libido-killing effect on your love life. Aside from these 24/7 demands from a tiny human, your physical recovery may vary greatly depending on your delivery and if you’re breastfeeding (or even if you’re not) you may simply feel ‘touched out’ by the end of a long day. The good news is it will come back, just when you’re ready – which could be months, or longer – and that’s completely normal.
- Sex After Birth: you might need a lot of lube
No matter if you had a smooth vaginal delivery, a C-section, a tear or episiotomy, the tissues around your vagina are likely to be very tender whilst they heal. This can make sex after pregnancy feel uncomfortable. Low levels of oestrogen (that will remain low if you’re breastfeeding) also affect the elasticity of the vaginal tissues as well as your libido. Unbelievably, this combination of hormones can temporarily mimic the menopause for the first few months. Think: night sweats, hot flashes, vaginal dryness and sometimes, discomfort. Don’t blame yourself if you’re just not turned on!
If you do decide you’re ready to have sex after birth then grab the lube and take things slow.
- Sex After Birth: don’t wait until bed time
By the time you eventually fall into bed at the end of the day, sex may well be the last thing on your mind. If you’re too tired to read a page of your book let alone get intimate with your partner, you’re most certainly not alone. What worked for you both as a pre-baby couple may not be working for you when it comes to sex after pregnancy, so try exploring other times of the day! Nap time can be a great opportunity.
- Sex After Birth: explore on your own terms first
A brilliant GP once told us how important it is for women to get comfortable on their own first, when it comes to sex after pregnancy. Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted and gently feel and stretch (with lube on your fingers) the tissue. This is particularly important if you’ve had stitches! Get to know your body again and how it’s changed before adding the pressure of introducing your partner to the equation.
- Sex after birth: it might actually be better!
Sex after birth may actually be better than you think. There we said it. Whilst the frequency of your intimacy might take a hit, the quality of sex after pregnancy could be better than ever. Giving birth awakens us to a truck load of new sensations and an increased blood flow in that region. What does that mean in practice? Bigger and better O’s! You’re welcome.
READ NEXT: I Wish I’d Known About Postnatal Anxiety