Scared To Have Sex After Baby?

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

How Do I Avoid Perineal Tearing?

 

The thought of a perineal or vaginal tear is, well, tearifying.

Your vagina is required to stretch significantly to accommodate your baby’s birth. And while your body is designed to stretch in this way, that doesn’t always mean you’ll escape the experience laceration-free.

So How Can I Prevent Tearing During Childbirth?

 

While nothing is foolproof, there are some strategies that have proven useful in reducing your risk, including:

·       Perineal massage. Some studies have shown that when giving birth vaginally for the first time, the risk of lacerations was reduced when perineal massage was used. Other studies have shown that perineal massage is not helpful, and may make tearing worse. Talk to your primary care provider about whether perineal massage is right for you, and how to do it safel. 

·       Different positions for pushing. You can try pushing on your side, on all fours, or squatting. Your doula or partner can help you get repositioned. Listen to your body and do what feels most comfortable for you. If something isn’t working, change it up.

·       Professional guidance during crowning. You may be asked by your primary care provider to pant or breathe deeply without pushing for a few moments, giving your perineum time to stretch more effectively. Follow these instructions to help ease your body through childbirth. One trick is to think about blowing like you are trying to keep a feather in the air; a sustained and upwards breath.

·       Warm compresses. Not only can warm compresses be very soothing, using them as the time to push gets closer will help relax your perineum.

 

Perineal tears happen as your baby’s head is being birthed. Most perineal trauma is considered superficial and either requires no treatment or minimal stitching. Should you require stitches the area will be numbed. If all is well with you and your baby, you’ll be busy snuggling your little one while your primary care provider repairs the area.

After birth your bottom will likely be sore, regardless of whether you have stitches or lacerations. You can ease your discomfort by using a perineal bottle (squirt bottles generally supplied by your hospital or midwife) to rinse your vulva while you pee. Rinse the area again after you’re done, and pat gently dry with tissue. You may find ice packs  comforting or, if it feels better, a warm compress.

There are several commercial products available to lessen discomfort as well.  They include numbing sprays, perineum healing sprays, or perineal spray of your choice) and herbal combinations for sitz baths. Talk to your primary care provider about what may work to speed up your own recovery.

If you’re feeling fearful about how perineal tearing may affect your postpartum recovery, talk to your doula or primary care provider. With a little planning for birth and post-birth care, you’ll feel more confident about the process.  Plus, being prepared will help get you back to feeling like yourself faster.  In this case, having more information is a win!