You may want to wait until you’ve had your postnatal check and your doctor has told you that everything has healed properly before you start having sex again.
A combination of readjusting hormones, sleepless nights and feeling sore can make sex an extremely unattractive prospect for a while, so don’t worry if you feel that way – you’re perfectly normal.
Your sex drive, and the pleasure you used to derive from intercourse, should return in a few months. So, in the meantime, tell your partner how you are feeling, so you don’t feel under pressure.
Don’t be disheartened if the first time you have sex again there is some discomfort. Even if you have not had stitches, some discomfort is usual after childbirth. It does get easier and pleasurable again.
But when you do feel ready to have sex – take it easy at first.
There are several things you can do to help the situation:
You may feel a little uneasy making love if your baby is in the room with you. Your baby will be oblivious to what is happening so try not to worry.
Maybe you feel uncomfortable with your postnatal shape and aren’t ready to be seen naked? Or maybe you are just too tired to make the effort to have sex.
Don’t worry, whatever your reason for feeling unenthusiastic about having sex, tell your partner how you are feeling and the chances are you can work your way around most of the obstacles.
A good sexual relationship is built on mutual trust, understanding and communication.
Try to relax, take your sex life one step at a time… together. You can always express your love for each other in other ways, cuddling and kissing, small romantic gestures, candle-lit massages, oral stimulation or mutual masturbation.
Many women who pre-pregnancy could orgasm easily find that postnatally it can take many weeks or months for the big “O” to return. With time, patience and a loving relationship all will get back to business as usual.
Fear of getting pregnant again is one more reason to feel unenthusiastic about sex.
Once you start having intercourse again you will also need to take contraceptive precautions, even if your periods haven’t returned to normal. It is possible to conceive before you even have your first postnatal menstruation.
If you are exclusively breastfeeding you may want to consider lactational amenorrhoea (LAM) a natural form of contraception. Your doctor will be able to give you advice about this.
Nearly every other method of contraception is available to new mothers, but what suited you before you had a baby may no longer be right for you. There may even be new options available that you didn’t even know about.
Your doctor will be able to advise you about what is right for you and your lifestyle, your medical history and your baby plans for the future.
Bruising and swelling can remain for the first couple of weeks after the birth, but will disappear with time. The vagina may be wider than before and feel more ‘open’ than before childbirth.
It’s really important to do pelvic floor exercises as these will help your perineum and vagina to heal by improving the circulation to the area. They also help to tone and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles which will have been stretched during the birth.