There is no doubt that pregnancy takes its toll on a woman’s body, and the physical effects can last long after delivery. If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, you may have questions about what happens to your body after you have given birth, especially relating to sex. Fortunately, with just a little information (and patience), you can and will enjoy sex after pregnancy. Keep reading to learn more about how to get back in the swing of things after welcoming new life into the world.
Understanding Postpartum Sex
Understanding how sex following delivery may be different allows you to take steps to enjoy it once again. Even if a woman feels emotionally ready for sex after pregnancy, she may not be physically prepared. A woman’s hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone, become elevated during pregnancy. But, following delivery, they plummet to their pre-pregnancy levels, potentially leading to the following uncomfortable symptoms.
- Thin or dry vaginal tissue
- Loss of vaginal elasticity
- Low libido
If you’re breastfeeding, that can exacerbate a lower libido. Further, for breastfeeding mothers, estrogen levels can often be even lower, leading to more significant vaginal dryness. While we’ll discuss tips later on about combatting this for more pleasurable sex, this dryness can be a friction point outside of the bedroom too. If you’re experiencing uncomfortable postpartum vaginal dryness consistently, ask your physician about lubricants or moisturizers to help.
In addition to fluctuating hormones, postpartum women deal with the exhaustion and mental stress of having a newborn in the home. Caring for a new baby will make spontaneous sex more difficult for some time. Still, it shouldn’t be neglected — instead, schedule time to enjoy intimate encounters and watch as your calendar becomes a whole lot more exciting.
Tips to Get in the Groove
Take Your Time
No matter the delivery method, most healthcare providers recommend waiting a minimum of 4-6 weeks before having postpartum sex so that lochia production, made up of blood, mucus, and uterine tissue, subsides, and the risk of infection decreases. If you had an episiotomy or experienced a perineal tear, more waiting time is needed to avoid uterine infections or hemorrhages.
Don’t Keep Quiet
Keeping an open line of communication with your partner so you can express what feels good to you and what doesn’t helps ensure you both enjoy your sexual experience together. While it may seem odd to reengage in this dialogue with an established partner, sex after birth can feel different for both parties, and your partner may have questions too.
Relax Your Expectations
Regardless of how long you wait to “get back to business,” your body goes through many changes during and after pregnancy. Initially, sex may not feel as it once did, and your responses to foreplay and intercourse may have changed. Sex following pregnancy may even hurt. Your organs may have shifted during the delivery, and your vagina may feel different to you or your partner, regardless of how you delivered.
Your body is a wonderland, after all, and sex after birth can be a wildly different experience for everyone, so let this new time of exploration be an exciting way for you and your partner to reconnect while navigating life with the addition of a new child rather than an added fear or stress.
Foreplay for More Play
After birth, your vagina may be far dryer than you’re used to, causing sex to feel uncomfortable and even painful. However, don’t underestimate the power of foreplay in helping your vagina relearn how to produce lubricant. Foreplay gives your body time to create its own natural lubrication. The more you allow your body to undergo this process, the more you will find your vagina easily lubricated. It may also be helpful to switch up your sexual routine to introduce non-penetrative acts first to give time for this process.
Adding an additional lubricant can also help make sex less painful during the first few post-pregnancy encounters. If you do, ensure to use a water-based lubricant. And, you can strengthen your vaginal muscles by doing Kegel exercises that aid your vagina’s ability to experience sexual sensations.
Wrap It Up
Being postpartum does not guarantee you won’t get pregnant soon after because there is no standard time that women ovulate for the first time following delivery. If you and your partner resume sexual activity, ensure you use appropriate birth control unless you are open to becoming pregnant again.
For women who haven’t yet started getting periods again, are less than 6 months following childbirth, and use breastfeeding as the exclusive means of feeding their baby, breastfeeding can be a natural birth control method. It is also important to note that while some women can get pregnant within a year of giving birth, having babies too close together increases the risk of congenital disabilities or prematurity.
Help Your Hormones
If you and your healthcare provider find that your hormones do not ever return to their pre-pregnancy, normal levels following delivery, hormone replacement therapy is an option to help you bring them back into balance. Estrogen cream, used in combination with effective progesterone cream to prevent estrogen dominance, allows your body to increase the ability to become sexually aroused as well as its production of natural vaginal lubricant.
Ageless & Wellness Center Is Your Partner to Get Back in the Sack Comfortably
Whether you are prepregnancy, postpartum, or any other stage of life, Dr. Randolph’s Ageless and Wellness Center is your partner for healthy living. We are passionate about all aspects of your life being at their best, including your sex life. That’s why we provide thorough hormone evaluations and medical insights on making sex enjoyable for you in addition to beneficial hormone treatments. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and start loving intimacy once again.