Becoming a mother is a transformative experience that brings immense joy, love, and of course, changes to your body. As you navigate the beautiful journey of motherhood, it’s natural to wonder about resuming intimate relations after giving birth. CMC Women’s Health is shedding light on the physical and emotional aspects of postpartum sex, providing you with valuable insights and guidance to help you navigate this new chapter in your life.
Physical Recovery: Listening to Your Body
There are currently no evidence-based policies about the ideal amount of time postpartum to abstain from sexual activity. Just as every pregnancy and birth experience is unique, the time it takes for your body to heal also varies from one person to the next. It is routinely recommended to avoid sex for six weeks postpartum, mostly to prevent uterine infection or the disruption of any stitches from an episiotomy, and to give the body time to heal. Respect your body’s needs and allow yourself ample time to recover. It is normal for the healing process to take several weeks or even months.
Restoring Pelvic Floor Strength
During childbirth, your pelvic floor muscles undergo significant strain, and they may require time to regain their strength. Performing gentle pelvic floor exercises, such as Kegels, can help restore muscle tone and improve sexual sensation over time. Remember to consult your healthcare provider before starting any exercise routine.
Addressing Physical Discomfort
It’s important to address any physical discomfort or pain before attempting sexual activity. If you experience discomfort during intercourse, consider using a water-based lubricant to ease friction. Communicating openly with your partner and seeking professional advice can also help identify and address any underlying issues.
Emotional Well-being: Nurturing Intimacy
Low sex drive after birth is not unusual. Your body may have recovered, and you may have been cleared by your obstetrician but that doesn’t necessarily mean your desire to have sex has resumed. There are a lot of variables that could be affecting your sex drive including:
- Hormonal changes, particularly if breastfeeding
- Fatigue/lack of sleep
- Postpartum depression
- Breastfeeding and the disconnect between breasts as erotic versus breasts for feeding your baby
- Quality of your relationship with your partner
- Childbirth trauma
- Body image
Your body has been and is still going through a lot. Here are some things to keep in mind as you navigate this time:
Adjusting to your new role as a mother can be emotionally demanding, and it’s essential to give yourself time to adapt. The emotional connection with your partner may change temporarily, but this is a natural part of the transition into parenthood. Open and honest communication will help bridge any gaps and foster understanding.
Physical intimacy after childbirth goes beyond sexual intercourse. Focus on nurturing intimacy through non-sexual acts like cuddling, holding hands, and sharing moments of affection. Exploring different ways of expressing love and desire can help you and your partner reconnect emotionally before engaging in sexual activity.
Have open and honest discussions with your partner if you are feeling nervous or uncomfortable about sex. Come up with other ways to strengthen your relationship, even if it is simply enjoying time together without the baby. Dating again can help you rediscover each other and strengthen the other elements of intimacy within your relationship.
Communication is Key
Maintaining open lines of communication with your partner is crucial during this time. Discussing your concerns, desires, and expectations can help both of you navigate the changes in your sex life. Remember, you’re on this journey together, and understanding each other’s needs will foster a deeper bond.
Shaping Your New Sex Life: Taking It Slow
When you feel physically and emotionally ready, gradually reintroduce sexual activity into your life. Start with simple acts of intimacy, such as kissing and gentle caressing, before progressing to sexual intercourse. Relax, take it slow, and communicate with your partner what does and does not feel good. Remember, there is no rush, and taking things at your own pace is essential for a positive experience.
Experimentation and Exploration
As your body adjusts to its new normal, you may find that your sexual preferences and desires have changed. Embrace the opportunity to explore and experiment. Be open-minded and willing to adapt to the changes that motherhood has brought into your life.
Seeking Professional Help
If you continue to experience challenges or difficulties in resuming intimate relations, talk to your healthcare provider about your concerns. The providers at CMC Women’s Health can provide medical advice tailored to your unique circumstances and offer strategies to overcome any obstacles you may be facing. Whether it is providing tips for making sex physically more comfortable, a referral to a sexual health expert, or suggesting counseling or therapy to address postpartum depression or relationship problems, we can help guide you as you rediscover your sex life after birth.
Patience is Key When Resuming Sex After Baby
Embracing your sexuality and rebuilding intimacy after giving birth is a deeply personal journey. Remember to be patient with yourself and your body as you navigate this transformative period. By listening to your body, nurturing emotional connections, and taking things at your own pace, you can embark on a fulfilling and satisfying sex life postpartum. Always prioritize open communication and seek professional advice from CMC Women’s Health when needed. You deserve to reclaim your sexual well-being and enjoy the journey of motherhood to the fullest.