Sex After Having A Baby
Let’s talk about having sex after having a baby! It’s the question many new parents wonder about. You’ll visit your doctor or midwife who will give you the go-ahead, or not, to resume sexual intercourse. However, your doctor may not have a sit-down, one-to-one pep talk about sex after having a baby with you.
There are so many questions that arise, none of which come to mind while you’re actually in the doctor’s office.
Will sex hurt? Will I tear? Is it going to feel the same? What if I don’t feel ready to have sex? Will my milk let down? How do I find the time? Where do you put the baby? Do I really have to wait six weeks? Write your most pressing questions down to take them with you to your appointment or schedule a consult with us! We often talk openly about topics many would consider TMI, one of which is sex after having a baby.
We will cover some of the basics here!
First, yes, it’s important that you wait the full six weeks before resuming sexual intercourse. Otherwise, pain during intercourse is just one of the not-so-great possibilities. At the six week checkup, your doctor or midwife will do a vaginal exam, check your uterus, and talk to you about birth control if they haven’t already. It’s really a good idea to talk about sex after birth with them during your third trimester and discuss what birth control if any, you’d like to utilize.
It takes up to a full six weeks or more for the wound in your uterus to heal completely after giving birth.
The wound is left by the separation of the placenta from the wall of your uterus and is rather large. Until then, there is literally an area in your womb that is open and is prone to infection. Your cervix that is closed before pregnancy and became loose, stretchy, and slightly to completely dilated during birth has to firm and close back up.
Nothing can be inserted into the vagina during this time period even if you feel ready.
This is also the reason tampons and menstrual cups are discouraged. Also, believe it or not, you can get pregnant immediately following a baby. This is 100% true, even for those who are exclusively breastfeeding on demand.
Anyway, on to the next question: will having sex after having a baby hurt?
For some women, yes, sex can be uncomfortable since there is still lingering tenderness. The blood vessels and nerve endings in the perineum have to readjust. Within a few weeks, however, any pain should subside. Believe it or not, sex might change-what was previously your favorite position might be “blah” now and vice versa.
Rest assured, unless there have been some extreme circumstances during your birth (i.e. 4th-degree tears), your vagina/labia/other female parts are still fully functional and are just as admirable as they were previously. If vaginal intercourse doesn’t work, well, there are other ways of “doing it”.
So, the next question: what should you do about the newest member of the family while you’re having sex?
The human population has survived 5000+ years-meaning, this would be the perfect time for baby to (finally) sit in that bouncy seat, or (finally) explore his crib and nifty mobile. After all, sometimes waiting until the baby is asleep isn’t feasible, after all, you’re trying to take all the, “sleep when the baby sleeps” advice to heart! Another idea, call in your postpartum doula to take the baby for a stroll or take over baby duties entirely for the evening. Please, your postpartum doula has no qualms about you having sex in the other room, she gets it! She will not make you feel weird about it in any way!
Sex post-baby is quite the adventure and there are sure to be some events that constitute a new normal…like milk spraying or dripping everywhere! It’s no big deal. Really. It may take some time to get back to it, especially if it is difficult for you to reconcile your changed identity as a former sex goddess turned mom.
Remember, it doesn’t have to actually be sex if you aren’t ready! You can take your time, spend lots of one on one time just being close and intimate in other ways if you’re just not there yet!
For some women, the idea that you can still crave sexual intimacy with your partner and be a fantastic mother is foreign and can induce feelings of guilt.
It doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure!
Remember, women are complex humans. If pain or fear or feelings of guilt are impacting your newly restarted sex life, there are a number of resources, beginning with your doctor or midwife, and it is important to discuss these issues with them. Otherwise, get out your favorite lube and get to it!