Sex after pregnancy
Parenthood brings immense joy in every couple’s life. But along with all the happiness, a large number of changes also step in the lives of the new parents. These changes not only affect them as individuals but also change the relationship in totality. Once the baby arrives, the challenges of parenthood shift the focus of the couple from each other and move it to the newborn. Couples often experience lack of intimacy and a problem in bringing back their sex life to normal.
A large number of factors affect the sex life of a couple during the post pregnancy period. The changes in a woman’s body post pregnancy can be overwhelming for her. The entire process of conceiving and birthing a baby is quite exhausting and a woman might find it difficult to balance the demands of her baby and her relationship with her partner.
Some of the factors that can affect the sex life of a couple after pregnancy are-
- A woman’s body takes time to heal post delivery- During the post-partum period (the six weeks following delivery) almost all women feel a considerable decrease in their sexual desire. Incisions from episiotomy or abdominal stitches after a c-section take approximately four to six weeks to heal completely. The new mother often feels extremely sore in the abdominal area and this leads to lack of interest in sex.
- Post partum depression- Some women experience signs of depression in the post delivery phase. The symptoms could be extreme irritability, unusual impulsiveness, feeling fatigue round the clock, and experiencing difficulty in bonding with the new born. Any woman experiencing these symptoms should consult with a doctor immediately.
- Exhaustion- Handling a new born is a very challenging task. In most cases, new mothers experience extreme sleep deprivation which further adds to their exhaustion levels. At this time, getting intimate with their partners becomes a task which takes a backseat in their minds.
So what exactly is the right approach to get intimate again in the post delivery phase?
It is crucial for both the partners to openly communicate with each other. During pregnancy and post pregnancy as well, the body image of a woman changes greatly in her own mind. She might not feel as attractive as before and also feel extremely conscious about herself which adds to her hesitance in proceeding with sex. Therefore, it is important to make her feel happy and comfortable again so that she can feel completely at ease.
Women might hesitate because of the residual soreness in the body. Even after the soreness has subsided, women often worry about arousal, or fear that intercourse might be painful. Sex might be not be as comfortable because of the lack of lubrication in the vagina. The dryness in the vagina happens due to breastfeeding and can be easily handled with using a water based lubricant.
If still the fear of pain persists, it is better to have intercourse in a position which is comfortable for the woman. Intercourse with the woman on top gives her more control over the penetration and she can go ahead as far as she is comfortable. A woman should ask the partner to stop if the discomfort becomes unbearable.
It is advisable that instead of penetrative intercourse, the couple should start with intimate loving gestures like kissing and cuddling. This will make sex more like natural progression and will not be intimidating for the woman.
The physical intimacy is immensely beneficial to a couple’s equation and both can gradually become ready to have sex again.
One very important thing to be kept in mind is that a woman who is breastfeeding or whose menstrual cycle still hasn’t returned to normal still can get pregnant. So it is crucial that the couple uses effective method of birth control. Birth control pills can be taken with doctor’s consent, and a combination of estrogen and progestin can be taken. Vaginal rings should be avoided as they can cause blood clots to form.
There should be no rush to get the sex life back on its track. Motherhood is tough and a woman should be given the time she needs to establish a balance amongst all aspects of her life.
Many couples do not find sex pleasurable anymore because the vaginal muscles become loose. Women can do kegel exercises which will help in tightening the vaginal muscles over a period of time. Also, new mothers should take a healthy and balanced diet along with plenty of fluid intake. Taking care of one’s body is as important as taking care of the new born child. The focus should be on gaining health and taking ample rest. All this can make a new mother recover much faster which can help the couple regain the lost sexual intimacy sooner than later.