Postpartum Sex: What To Expect

by | May 24, 2018

What to expect with postpartum sex.

Once your beautiful new baby has been born, there are so many questions surrounding their health and well being. Is their poop normal? Are they eating enough? What do I do about this diaper rash? When will they finally sleep through the night? However, despite all the attention a newborn needs, it’s important not to forget about you and your partner as well. Wondering what postpartum sex will be like, what to expect, and when you can get back in the sack, are perfectly valid questions and not something that often gets discussed at your weekly mom’s group.

 

Recovery Time

Regardless of whether you had a c-section or vaginal birth, many doctors recommend waiting at least 6 weeks before resuming intercourse. There are reasons why they say 6 weeks, although some women don’t wait quite that long, while others wait even longer. One of the reasons for this is that once the baby is delivered, the placenta detaches from the uterine wall, leaving an open wound. If you needed stitches, it can take about 6 weeks for the stitches to completely heal ‘down there’. It’s also important to remember that your cervix opened up wide enough to let a squishy watermelon through, and therefore needs adequate time to contract back down to a normal size before having postpartum sex. 


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Lack Of Libido

After growing a human, having them exit your body and now caring for your postpartum self, as well as a brand new baby, sex is most likely the last thing on your mind. After finally getting the baby to sleep, crawling into bed with spit-up in your hair, coconut oil on your cracked nipples and a padsicle in your pants, don’t feel bad if you don’t want so much as a peck on the cheek from your partner. Having a little one attached to you all day long can feel overwhelming and intense, and by the end of the day, it’s more than normal to just want to be left alone! In no way does this mean that you don’t love your partner anymore, but you’ve been through so much and you’re completely exhausted. If you are breastfeeding, it is likely that you may have a lower libido for the duration that you nurse, whether it be 2 months or 24 months, breastfeeding messes with your hormones. One of the major players in sex drive is self-esteem, so for the first few months after having a baby, a person may not feel completely comfortable with their new body. Of course, your body has done an incredible thing and you should feel nothing but proud, but it can be hard to shake the insecurities.

What To Expect

Postpartum sex is not a one-size-fits-all experience, a majority of what it may feel like for you will depend on the birth experience you had. Did you have a big tear or episiotomy? Then it may be a little bit uncomfortable at first. Did you have a c-section? Certain positions may not work for you. Hormonal changes have been known to leave your vagina more dry than usual, and therefore intercourse may feel painful. It is also likely that at 6 weeks you may not be ready for penetration itself, but could begin to ease back into things with other forms of pleasure. Keep a bottle of your favorite lubrication on hand, go really slow, and communicate! Try different positions to see what helps ease the discomfort of a certain area and do not be afraid to stop your partner completely if you are in pain or decide that you are simply not ready for this yet. You partner should never expect anything from you, especially after you’ve just given birth, the first few times back at it will consist of slowly dipping your toes in the water. Sex will most likely feel different for the first little while, for some women it’s only a few weeks and for others, it can be months or even years before sex feels like it did pre-baby, everyone’s body will heal at a different pace. 


READ MORE: YOUR BODY AFTER BABY, WHAT TO EXPECT

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Birth Control

There is an old wives tale that breastfeeding is natures birth control, and while some women may have this experience, breastfeeding is in no way a reliable source of birth control. You do not need to have your period back in order to become pregnant again, and so if you do not wish to have another baby yet, use protection! If you are breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about what forms of birth control are safe.

 

When it comes down to it, nobody knows your body better than you do. It is important to take your doctor’s recommendations into consideration, especially when it comes to healing your body internally, as well as externally. However, if you do not wish to wait quite that long, or if you prefer to wait longer, you have final say. Never feel obligated to get back in the sack, just because everyone says that you ‘should’, listen to your body. It’s important that your partner is understanding, patient and supportive. They can do things such as chores around the house, holding the baby so you can shower, or give you a romantic back rub to help you relax and feel good about yourself. There’s nothing sexier than a partner who does the dishes! Keep in mind that sometimes sex might be just what you need. When you do feel ready, remember to take it slow, use a lube and don’t be afraid to speak up. Your body will begin to feel normal again and until then, just take it day by day.


RELATED: HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS AFTER A NEW BABY

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I grew up on the West Coast of Canada and currently live in Northern California with my amazing husband and our beautiful vegan daughter. I love researching all of the amazing benefits that go hand in hand with being plant-based, so I was thrilled to find Raise Vegan and become an active writer for this inspiring team. When I’m not writing for Raise Vegan, you can find me on Instagram!

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