3 Things No One Tells You About Having Sex After Giving Birth
Having Sex After Birth. Sit Down, We Need To Talk.
Having sex after giving birth is something that no one prepares you for. Sure, you can read all the helpful articles online and in magazines, but that doesn’t really do much to calm your fears. There are so many questions about what it is going to be like and how it will be different than before. Well here are three things no one tells you about having sex after giving birth.
You might feel like you’re just not in the mood, or you’re exhausted because this new little person is taking over your every waking moment, which you seem to have a lot more of since they came along, but there are actual physiological reasons as to why your libido may be a little lower than before. The main reason you may be feeling less affectionate is directly related to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding elevates the levels of prolactin, which is necessary for milk production, and your estrogen levels drop, which in turn can lead to decreased libido and vaginal dryness. Nearly every woman knows that dryness makes it incredibly difficult to enjoy sex, so do yourself a favor and keep a bottle of lubricant around for when you do decide to try things with your partner, at least until your hormone levels have returned to normal.
Also, having sex after you may have had a cesarean or an episiotomy, you may need more than the standard, doctor-recommended six weeks to heal, and that’s completely normal. A lot of new mothers are afraid of hurting themselves, and some may feel like they would rather be celibate than getting down and dirty again. If the doctor has given you the green light, then the fear of the possible pain or injury is often worse than the actual experience. Give it a try when you feel comfortable, and ease into it. Try to experience the emotional connection that sex brings with your partner. There is no set time you should begin having sex again, it’s up to you and what you feel is right for your body.
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Your Partner and The Delivery Room
Being present for a birth is a magical and wonderful thing, but for some, it can be the opposite. In addition to the lowered testosterone men experience in the delivery room, many of them are traumatized by what they witness. It’s not a pleasant or even politically correct thing to talk about, and no one wants to hurt their partner’s feelings, especially not as they are giving birth, but the experience of watching a baby come out of a vagina, or seeing your partner cut open for a cesarean can really do a number on a man’s sexual vision of their partner.
There are a lot of well-intended doctors out there that will push people to look at their partners crowning baby. Yes, it is an incredible experience, but you don’t have to watch it in order to support your partner. Unless you want to see it, your partner would most likely appreciate you being up beside them to help them as they labor anyways. What matters most in the whole birthing experience is the support, the bonds and connections made in the delivery room, not how much blood and gore either of you witness.
Not only are there physical reasons you may not want to have sex, there are also significant psychological reasons why many new moms just don’t feel ‘in the mood’. Much like falling in love, becoming a new mother consumes your whole life. It is an intense and powerful feeling and leaves little other space in your mind for much else. Unlike adult relationships, your relationship with your child is based on a complete dependence on you to care for them.
Some new moms also struggle to integrate their new mom identity with their sexual identity. It can be a challenge to feel like you are doing your best as a mom and also feel like the person you were before, especially since your body has changed so much and you probably feel self-conscious about that fact. In addition to all the changes, your body has gone through, changing diapers and trying to find the time to shower, brush your hair or even pee, a lot of women don’t have someone who they can talk to about the transition into motherhood.
Another thing that might get in the way of you feeling like your normal sexual self is sleep deprivation. There is a reason it has been used to torture prisoners. Those first few months of your baby’s life can be agonizing for both you and your partner. Sleep deprivation lowers testosterone levels, which has a negative impact on sexual desires in both men and women. To make things even better, studies have shown that after men become fathers, their testosterone levels take a nosedive, and the more involved they are with raising their children, the lower it drops.
Your mind is a powerful decider on when you feel ready to have sex with your partner again. Postpartum depression affects roughly 10-20 percent of women. It is often detected between 3-6 months after birth, and can possibly cause issues with your libido. PPD can be caused by a number of factors, most likely a combination of chemical imbalances and circumstances. Seeking help for PPD is nothing to be ashamed of and seeking help is the best thing you can do for you and your family. If you think that you or your partner is suffering, it is important to seek help for the issue before it gets worse. Just because you may have PPD does not mean you’re not being the best mother you can be.
Remember, in the last nine months your body has gone through some major changes: making, growing, and finally giving birth to a baby. Don’t be afraid to give yourself some time to recover and heal before you jump back to trying to be your former sexual self.
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