Sex After Childbirth

Sometimes it’s difficult to talk about this topic, but we will try to make it as easy as possible: sex after childbirth will be different than sex before childbirth. Your body has gone through some intense changes and you literally just grew a human inside of you! It’s normal to experience some roadblocks on the way back to feeling normal, especially when it comes to sex.

Along with a number of bodily changes, it takes some time to heal and you’ll be adjusting to the changes that come with raising a newborn—including good ol’ fashioned sleep deprivation.

Instead of stressing out, just take it day by day and remind yourself that you now have a beautiful son or daughter. Focus on your baby for a now and indulge in intimacy with your partner in other ways. Eventually your hormones will balance themselves out and your body will heal. Sex will return to how you remember it. The important thing is to educate yourself on what’s going to happen so that you’re prepared and able to talk about it with your partner.

In this article, we’ll help you get prepared by discussing what to expect regarding sex after childbirth.

Dealing with Tearing

The first thing we want to talk about is the dreaded perineum tearing. It’s not uncommon to tear, or cut, your perineum during delivery. Your cervix opens wider than usual and sometimes your baby just needs a little extra room to get out. It’s natural and it will heal.

If you need stitches, your doctor will administer them post delivery. The problem is that the healing process isn’t exactly pleasant. They are stitches in a very sensitive area after all.

Sometimes doctors make an executive decision to add an extra stitch, commonly referred to as “The Husband Stitch.” Sometimes women are the ones who ask for the extra stitch. Regardless, make sure you have a conversation with your doctor before your due date to ensure you are both on the same page. Also, don’t forget to do your research on what this will do to your sex life, the risks, and any complications.

If you get the normal amount of stitches, your healing will still take some time. Additionally, there are a few things that could happen when scar tissue forms. Scar tissue tends to make everything tighter and more sensitive. While this might sound pleasant, it’s not. In fact, scar tissue on the perineum actually contributes to more pain during sex.

To work through scarring and make sure that you don’t have to deal with painful sex, you’ll need to move it around frequently and try to break it up. Do this with or without lubricant, whatever you prefer, as long as it’s completely healed when you start. This helps to stretch out the scar tissue and make it mobile so it doesn’t hurt during sex.

Side note… in the same way that you need to work your perineum, you need to work your c-section scar. If you don’t, the scar tissue grows deeper and contributes to bladder problems, bowel problems, and even painful sex. Work the scar, apply lotion, and be consistent for the best results.

Common Problems After Delivery

When it comes to actually hitting the sheets, there are a number of problems that many women deal with after delivery. Maybe you’re just not in the mood and don’t understand why. Maybe you feel pain during sex and aren’t enjoying it anymore. These problems are more common than you think and almost every woman experiences them in some degree.

Here are a few of the most common problems after delivery and how to go about solving them.

1. Miscommunication

One of the most common problems with sex after delivery is miscommunication between partners. You just delivered a baby! Your hormones are still out of whack and your body is recovering. You need to make sure to communicate with your partner, especially if they’re ready to start having sex again and you’re not.

The miscommunication sometimes causes tension, but is easily fixed with an honest conversation. Until you’re ready, increase your intimacy in other ways. Eventually, you will be ready and your libido will come back in full swing.

2. A Sense of Eagerness

Conversely, you might have a raging libido and feel mentally ready before the recommended six-week period. If you experience these feelings, don’t rush into anything. Talk to your doctor to make sure that your body is physically ready to start having sex again and then ease your way into things.

3. Painful Intercourse

If you’re cleared to start having sex, whether it’s at the standard six-week period or before, and you feel pain during sex, don’t panic. Your body is still healing and adapting to changes. Try taking things slow, waiting another week, or using a lubricant. Breastfeeding has been known to causes sexual side effects like reduced lubrication, which contributes to uncomfortable or painful sex. If you’re still sore, wait a little longer. If the pain continues, contact your doctor.

4. Sex Feels… Different

Maybe sex doesn’t feel painful, just different. During delivery, your vaginal muscles stretch to extraordinary measures. While recovering, this will make sex feel different than before you had a baby. Don’t worry; it’s usually a temporary setback.

To get your vaginal muscles back to feeling like normal, start doing kegels regularly. They’re a great pelvic floor exercise that help you re-strengthen and tighten your vaginal muscles.

Start by squeezing and drawing in your vaginal muscles upwards simultaneously in a fast, tightening motion then release. Then follow it with slow contractions and try to hold them up to 10 seconds before relaxing. Aim to complete 10 “reps” at least 4 times a day for the best results.

5. Body-Conscious Feelings

One of the most common problems with sex after delivery is that you feel more body-conscious than you used to. Your uterus takes time to shrink back down—usually around two months. During this time you will still look a bit larger than what you really are, which takes a toll on your self-conscious.

You’ve likely added a few tiger stripes and your feet have started to grow, but try to remember that you’ve just created a new life. These are all small in comparison to that and with proper diet and exercise you will be able to get back your pre-pregnancy body!

If you’re worried about your breasts leaking or being too tender, consider wearing a nursing bra during sex or pumping beforehand.

6. Worrying About the Baby

A huge difference between pre-delivery sex and post-delivery sex is that you have a baby to worry about. It seems like you never get a moment of peace and when you do, your baby reminds you that it won’t last for long. When you worry about the baby during sex, your stress reactors cause your vaginal muscles to tense up. Shortly after delivery, this contributes to painful sex.

Try not to worry so much and if your baby needs help when you and your partner are in the middle of things, simply stop and deal with it then. You don’t have to constantly and preemptively worry, you deserve to relax and enjoy yourself and your partner!

Contraceptives After Delivery

If you plan to have sex after you’ve delivered a baby make sure that you’re using some sort of contraceptive. Having a baby too soon increases the chance of complications for your next pregnancy, so it’s better to avoid taking any unnecessary risks. According to research, you should wait at least 18 to 24 months between each pregnancy.

Talk to your doctor about finding a contraceptive that’s right for you. There are numerous options that won’t interfere with breastfeeding such as implants or intrauterine devices. It’s also possible for a progestin-only contraceptive, which won’t increase your risk for blood clots.

Conclusion

Recovery will be different for every woman, but you shouldn’t be ashamed talking about post-delivery sex. It’s completely normal and every mother has gone through this stage of life. Communicate with your partner, don’t be afraid to be honest, and seek help from your doctor if you have any questions. Understanding what to expect will help you deal with any changes, just remember that you will eventually feel back to your normal self again. In the meantime, focus on non-sexual intimacy and caring for your newborn. To help with the planning, and to make your life easier after delivery, don’t forget to head over to Byram Healthcare to browse all of our available manual and electric breast pumps. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, expectant mothers are eligible to receive an electric breast pump covered by their insurance provider!

If you have any helpful suggestions or other expectations for sex after childbirth, visit our Facebook page today and get active in our community of moms! With such a sensitive topic, it’s good to know that we’re not alone.

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