While some women swear that they really love pregnant sex, having intercourse after giving birth is a different ball game. With the new baby and possible postpartum woes to deal with, getting your groove back is tricky especially when you know your partner is probably missing you--a lot.
In case new moms need reminding, it is perfectly normal to be awkward at first, but you can do a lot more to make it easier, more spontaneous, and even more pleasurable as weeks pass. All you need to do is try (and never give up!), and be informed. Here are some facts you need to consider:
1. Your sex drive may have changed. If you don't feel like being intimate yet, it's okay. Repeat after us: it is okay. Logan Levkoff, Ph.D., says you should only do it when you're comfortable. Doctors often advise you to wait at least six weeks to give your body a chance to heal, especially if you gave birth vaginally or had an episiotomy, but it’s perfectly fine to wait longer.
On the other hand, there is nothing wrong if you can't wait to get back in the action (your partner certainly won't be complaining). Just wait at least three to four weeks or when lochia (leftover blood discharge after childbirth) has stopped. Otherwise, you can get an infection if you have sex on your "period".
2. It will be very different physically. It's normal to try, give it a pass for now, and then give it another try next time. Your body has gone through major changes, not to mention trauma, medically-speaking, and easing into sex again will take some getting used to. "Your uterus and cervix may be lower than it used to be," Laura Riley, M.D., author of You & Your Baby: Pregnancy. Your vagina muscles can be a little stretched out, too, though most women gain back the tightness down there after some time.
As soon as your doctor gives you the go-ahead, Kegel exercises help. You'll also need to manage expectations--yours and partner's. All that foreplay may not end with an orgasm, and if that happens, we recommend cuddling and serious makeout sessions.
3. It could hurt. Speaking of physical changes, estrogen in your body can cause more dryness down there, especially if you're breastfeeding. Ask your partner to not rush it and spent a longer amount time for foreplay, or you can also use lubricant for the experience to go smoothly (pun intended). Dr. Riley recommends water-based lubes, as other kinds might only add to the dryness.
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If you find that the positions you enjoy before aren't as pleasurable, that's also normal given how much your body went through. Just think of it as an excuse to experiment with new ones.
4. Your breasts aren't just for foreplay anymore. Your partner may be thinking he's lucky that your bra size has doubled, but he needs to know your fuller breasts are also more sensitive. They may be too tender to touch for the purpose of sexual stimulation. Some women spray (yes, spray!) breast milk because the happy hormone, oxytocin, is both responsible for orgasms and milk flow. It can leak, too, during intercourse or nipple-sucking foreplay.
Find time to nurse your baby or pump breast milk before having sex. It's not a guarantee though that leaks or sprays won't happen. You can also keep your bra on and wear a breast pad inside for the time being. And remind your partner to to go easy on them.
5. You need to be open and honest about sex with your partner. Since there are a lot of changes happening, it's crucial that you have an open and honest talk about it. It may dampen the mood a little, but it's best to speak out where it hurts, what you can try instead, and what you absolutely love. Assure each other that it may take some time to get your mojo back, but it has not changed how you feel about each other. Constant communication is key.
6. There's a big chance that you could get pregnant. Before getting under the sheets, you'll need to discuss birth control options. Breastfeeding is an option when you're doing it exclusively (meaning no mixed feeding), when you haven't had your period yet, and within the first six months postpartum. If you don't meet one of those three requirements, you'd need birth control unless you're planning to get pregnant again soon.
Be on the look out for red flags like severe pain during intercourse after pregnancy and unpleasant scent from your vaginal discharge. If you spot them, see your doctor.
It's not the same for every women, in the same way that every pregnancy is different. Some women don't have a problem getting their sexy back after having a baby; others not so much. But you will get your groove back, and discover sex all over again with your partner.