Intimacy After Birth
Every woman is different when it comes to resuming a sex-life after having a baby and while you may feel ready within weeks you may not be ready for months. There isn’t a ‘normal’ time for you to want to re-start a sexual relationship with your partner, and you should never feel pressured into making love before you are physically and emotionally ready. In the early weeks and months following childbirth you will be adjusting to the demands of being a new mum and this can be exhausting.
Resuming a sex life may well not be high on your agenda! Here are a few tips about sex and relationships with a baby:
- Let your partner know how you are feeling. Many women worry that their partner may not find them as attractive as before, some worry that their partner may want to have sex before they are ready and most certainly all new mums will be feeling exhausted at least to begin with!
- You don’t have to have penetrative sex to have a loving relationship. Take time to kiss and cuddle, just being physically close to each other is a really good way to resume your sexual relationship.
- Give your body time to heal. This will be different for everyone depending on what kind of birth they have had, whether there are tears or grazes around the vagina or maybe a caesarean scar. Find ways to make sex as comfortable as possible, maybe that means using some kind of lubrication and/or exploring different positions so that you both feel comfortable.
- Avoiding possible infections is also really important. Whilst you are bleeding or still have some vaginal discharge it’s probably better to avoid penetrative sex. If you prefer not to wait then using condoms will help to reduce the risk of infection being introduced into your uterus (womb). It is important to get guidance from your healthcare provider if you are still having discharge after birth.
- To combat tiredness, accept any offers of help around the house and with your baby. No-one can be expected to be in the mood for love if they are exhausted and don’t feel they have a minute for themselves. Making some ‘me’ time, having a nice bath or having your hair done could work wonders for your libido!
- Look after yourself. Your body needs time to heal which means having a good diet, resting when you get the opportunity, taking care with hygiene (wash your hands before and after using the toilet) and doing your post-natal exercises.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help especially if you are feeling low in mood. Tiredness often causes women to feel emotionally drained but some women will develop postnatal depression. Speak to your partner, midwife, health visitor or GP if you are concerned about how you are feeling emotionally.
With some forward planning , taking care of yourself and not expecting too much too soon, you will soon be back to having a loving sexual relationship again BUT, remember, you can get pregnant again quickly after having a baby even if you are breastfeeding. Speak to your midwife, health visitor or GP for contraceptive advice if you are thinking of resuming your sex life and ensure that they know you are nursing as some forms of birth control can affect your milk supply (it may only take once to make another baby!).