If you've recently given birth, you may be wondering if you'll ever want to have sex again. Perhaps you're missing intimacy with your partner, but you're afraid it will hurt. If you had a vaginal birth with small tears, you would likely be advised to wait until you are six weeks postpartum to have sex. You might need more time if you experienced severe tearing, had an episiotomy or gave birth by caesarean. Be sure to use a condom if you're not yet on birth control, which will generally be discussed at your six-week postpartum appointment with your doctor or midwife.
First of all, it might be a little while after your baby’s birth before you’re ready for sex. That doesn’t mean you must miss out on intimacy with your partner. Start slow, with cuddling, kissing, caressing, bathing and showering together. Make time for each other either when the baby is sleeping or while someone else cares for your baby for an hour or two. Maintaining your bond with your partner is important for both of you and your baby.
Once you are ready to have sex after your baby is born, there are a few things that can make it more comfortable:
1. Make time for romance. Run a hot bath with salts and bubbles, pour a couple of glasses of wine and enjoy each other's company. Even a bath by yourself while your partner puts the baby to sleep can help you feel refreshed and ready to enjoy some serious couple time.
2. Foreplay goes a long way. Think candles, massage oil, music and taking it slow. Hot and heavy make-out sessions, oral sex, lots of touching, eye contact and kissing.
3. Use a water-based personal lubricant. Varying hormonal levels following birth and while breastfeeding can leave you feeling dry. Combined with tender tissue, dryness can make sex after birth painful. Many couples find postpartum sex is more enjoyable when using a personal lubricant. Use something unscented and avoid lubricants that tingle or have hot and cold sensations.
4. Hire a postpartum doula. When you're feeling rested, supported, and understood, you're going to feel sexier and less "touched out." Your postpartum doula can help you throughout the day and even care for your baby at night allowing you and your partner some alone time and sleep.
The most important part of having a positive experience with postpartum sex is communication with your partner.
Let your partner know how you’re feeling. Share your fears, your frustrations and your hopes. Let them know how much they mean to you and be sure to show your partner affection in other ways until you are ready to have sex again.
It's a good idea to talk about the points above with your partner. Let your partner know that it's normal to need to take it slow. Explain that your need for a personal lubricant is hormone related and not because you lack desire for them. Ask them to be attentive and gentle. Plan a romantic evening together.
Postpartum sex doesn’t need to be scary. With communication, patience and these little tips, you’ll be feeling like your old self in no time