Sex After Babies: How to Navigate
by Courtney Virden
Becoming a mom changes your world completely. From conception and pregnancy to delivery and postpartum, each stage comes with a myriad of responsibilities and emotions, many of which are new and unfamiliar. It truly is one of those things that you can only imagine until you experience what it’s like for yourself. Along with that, each pregnancy can be completely different from the last. Sex after babies is a very important topic with new moms and is something that’s often filled with a wave of emotions, struggles, and joys.
While some women feel incredible after delivery, that’s not the case for everyone. Hormones are rapidly changing, which impacts everything from your emotions to your sex drive. A lack of sleep and caring for a newborn means exhaustion is often at an all-time high, which leads most mothers to feel drained with little energy for anything else, let alone sex.
Most OB-GYNs recommend waiting at least six weeks and request a follow-up appointment after birth to ensure your body is ready to have sex again. Follow your doctor’s guidance and honor your own feelings on when you are ready. Some women are eager and excited once they get the green light. Others feel they need longer, and that’s perfectly OK and common too.
Being nervous about the first time after having a baby is completely normal. Regardless of whether a baby was delivered via C-section or vaginally, both pregnancy and delivery are stressful on your body and pelvic floor. For women who experience tears, stitches, swollen tissue, and trauma to the pelvic floor, it can feel worrisome to now open up and allow for intimacy. Remember that women’s bodies are designed for birth and for healing, you just need to provide the right tools and give yourself time. Go slow and make sure to communicate with your partner. If you experience pain during intercourse, it could be due to vaginal dryness (again, a common issue post-pregnancy) from a drop in estrogen after delivery. Women who are breastfeeding will continue to have lower estrogen levels so that their milk supply is not suppressed. Personal lubrication can help many women during this time and should be used if needed.
A woman’s body goes through heaps of changes during (and after) pregnancy, and many feel self-conscious and unable to relax in the bedroom. Some also experience decreased sensations and even trouble orgasming after giving birth. Often a woman’s enjoyment, confidence, and issues with her pelvic floor can be improved through training at home. Strengthening and optimizing pelvic floor function can help women increase their libido, reduce or eliminate pain during intercourse, increase sexual satisfaction, and improve the ability to orgasm. It’s important to not compare yourself to others and to honor your body and your feelings. Taking care of yourself after babies is just as vital as caring for your newborn. The best sex and orgasms of your life could be right around the corner with the right tools.