Anxious about sex after pregnancy? Don’t worry, most new moms are. There are a lot of what-ifs that come with intimacy after giving birth. How long should I wait? What if I just don’t feel like it? Will it hurt? Those questions, and a million others, are natural. Your body has been through a lot during the last ten months and you may not be completely comfortable with the changes yet. Add to that all the hormones that are having a major impact on your body, and it’s easy to see why there are so many questions about a once natural act. But really, there’s no need to worry. We’ve put together a list of must know tips to help you rekindle the romance after pregnancy.
1. Give Yourself Time To Heal
Giving yourself time to heal is an important first step on the road to sex after pregnancy. Remember, your body has just been through a lot, and whether you had a cesarean section or vaginal delivery, your body needs time to recover.
Most doctors recommend refraining from sex until after your six-week postpartum visit. And that number isn’t just one they pulled out of a hat. Those six weeks help to:
- Reduce the risk that you might develop an internal hemorrhage or a uterine infection.
- Give your body time to stop bleeding.
- Ensure that any stitches you were given—from an episiotomy or the like—have had time to do their job.
- Stabilize hormone levels.
Instead of worrying about the whens and ifs of having sex again, take those six weeks of healing time and focus on establishing a routine with your new baby.
2. Don’t Put Pressure On Yourself To Have Sex After Pregnancy
Once you’ve received approval from your doctor, feel free to start having sex when you think you’re ready. It’s important to remember that the emphasis in the previous sentence is on the word you. Just because you’ve hit the magical six-week mark doesn’t mean you have to jump right back into it. You can, of course, but you may need more time before you’re ready. That’s okay. Every new mom is different.
Above all, don’t put pressure on yourself to have sex as soon as possible after giving birth. Chances are, you’re just not going to feel like it yet. This is especially true if you’re breastfeeding. Breastfeeding your baby releases the hormone oxytocin, which triggers good feelings toward the new bundle of joy in your arms. However, that same hormone also suppresses your libido. So there’s a perfectly legitimate reason why you might not be into sex right away. Don’t worry, your hormones will settle down and you’ll get your sex drive back over time.
3. Go On Dates Again
Reestablish a sense of intimacy with your partner and rekindle the romance by going on dates like you did before you became parents. Once you’ve established the new rhythm of your life with baby, take some time for yourselves. If your parents or friends offer to look after the little one for a night, let them. Your parents need to bond with the baby too. Use that time to get dressed up and go out to eat, see a movie, or visit a museum or art gallery. Talk about something other than the new member of your family for a while. Get to know the person sitting across from you again and start to fan the flame that brought you two together in the first place.
4. Spend Time Apart
It may seem counterintuitive, but spending time apart may actually bring you and your partner closer together. This is the sentiment behind the saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” After your baby is born, it’s time to use this simple, yet powerful, fact of life to rekindle the desire you have for your partner.
Of course, we’re not suggesting you spend days apart or anything like that. But before your baby was born, you both probably had activities you did on your own. Maybe it was working out at the gym or spending some time with your friends. Whatever these activities may be, don’t let them go. Have your partner watch the baby for an hour or two while you take a cycling class. Then give your partner an hour or two to do the same. This time apart is necessary for your own mental and physical well-being, and can make time together again all the more pleasurable.
5. Take It Slow At First
When you do decide to have sex again, it’s important to take it slow at first. This is because your hormones are still having a powerful effect on your body. Your estrogen levels have dropped, which can affect the elasticity of your vaginal tissue, while other hormones such as prolactin and oxytocin have increased to make nursing easier. Unfortunately, prolactin and oxytocin often combine to produce menopause-like symptoms, including:
- Night sweats
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Pain during intercourse
As such, it’s important to remember to take it slow at first.