Even though your doctor may have already given you the okay for sexual activity from a medical perspective after you have had a baby, it might not be as easy as you think to get back into the groove.
From concerns about your body and the changes you experienced during pregnancy to breast leakage, it’s only natural to be a little apprehensive about some bedroom fun after childbirth. The following four ways to handle some common sex fears after childbirth can help you return that spring to your step!
1. You’re Not Ready
You may not be ready for sex even though your partner is, it’s been over the recommend waiting time and you’re not sore anymore. From hormone changes to breastfeeding and caring for a newborn, there’s nothing wrong with admitting you’re a little overwhelmed, tired and just not in the mood yet.
Don’t be so hard on yourself if you find you’re not yet interested in sex. Speak to your partner openly and honestly about your feelings, so they understand it has nothing to do with them personally and it’s only temporary. Suggest reaffirming your bond in other physical ways, such as kissing, cuddling and even just playing with your baby together.
2. You’re Too Ready
Pregnancy and the effects of childbirth vary by person, so you might find you’re actually ready to race back into the bedroom shortly after the child is born. Generally, you’ll be told to wait anywhere from four to six weeks, according to the Mayo Clinic. The wait time is set to allow for your cervix to close, any tears to heal, and for postpartum bleeding to stop.
Try to stick to what your doctor recommends, even if you’re really antsy to return to your bedroom aerobics. If you don’t wait long enough, you can end up having a painful experience or with more serious consequences, such as an infection. Check with your doctor if you believe you’re completely healed before your suggested wait time ends.
3. Your Breasts Are Leaking
Breastfeeding mothers often experience leakage and tenderness when they’re nursing. While this will fade over time, as you and your baby get into a routine, it can cause both discomfort and embarrassment during sex. You can use some workarounds during the initial breastfeeding phase.
Try pumping your breasts shortly before sex to reduce leaking and soreness. Wearing a tank top or your nursing bra during sex can also help by keeping your breasts in place and allowing for any leakage to be absorbed immediately.
4. Sex Doesn’t Feel The Same
If you had a vaginal birth or pushed before having a C-section, your vagina was stretched, with the vaginal delivery usually having the most effect. This is often temporary, but it may cause sex to feel different at first.
Try Kegel exercises to try to get your vagina back in shape, as hilarious as that sounds. Kegels, the contracting and relaxing of your pelvic floor, can be done just about anywhere throughout your day and will help you improve control and beef up your pelvic muscles.
Another issue you may be experiencing is discomfort during sex. Vaginal dryness may be the cause, and that can come from hormonal changes and breastfeeding. Try having a water-based lubricant on hand for sex and see if that helps.
If you’re having pain at a specific site, such as an episiotomy location, wait a week or two before having sex again to give yourself time to heal completely. Speak to your doctor if you’re having unexplained or sudden pain at different times during the day.