Sexual intimacy is a fundamental aspect of marriage. However, after birth, most women are reluctant to get back to their sex life. Understandably, the trauma of childbirth, whether cesarean or normal, make sex one of the last things in a woman’s mind. Some women have described sex after birth as “losing your virginity all over again.” Others say that they are just not interested in it anymore.
How long to wait before sex after birth?
Although technically it is not unsafe to have sex in the first week after normal delivery, most healthcare practitioners advise waiting for a couple of weeks or until the bleeding (lochia) has significantly subsided. The purpose of waiting is to give the body time to heal.
Vaginal bleeding or lochia can usually take place between two to six weeks. There are concerns that having sex while experiencing lochia may lead to infections.
You have probably heard of the “six weeks” waiting period after birth. Most healthcare practitioners advise mothers to wait up to six weeks before engaging in sexual intercourse. This is because, after birth, the body tries to get back to the pre-pregnancy state. The reproductive tract begins to return to its non-pregnant position, as well as the cervix and vagina.
The six weeks rest, which is also known as the pelvic rest will give your pelvic area the time to heal and your cervix the time to resume to its pre-pregnancy shape. All these changes take time. Therefore, it is advisable to wait for a “go-ahead” from your medical practitioner so that your body gets the rest and time it needs to heal after nine months of pregnancy.
How does it feel like?
As stated earlier, many women describe sex after birth as losing your virginity all over again. Well, it is true. This is definitely a new experience in itself and there is a possibility that you may not enjoy it. However, it is advisable to keep an open-mind and not feel pressured.
Talk about it with your partner and help him understand that you will need time to get it together (both physically and emotionally). Bear in mind that your partner probably has some concerns too. For instance, he may be worried that your sex life will never be the same, or that he might hurt you if you choose to engage in it. If you two are concerned about your intimate life, then start talking to each other.
Alternatively, it is probably a good idea to have coitus sooner rather than later once you have healed or are ready. This will remove the “losing your virginity all over again anxiety.” If you find sex after birth uncomfortable, then you and your partner can try out other ways of enjoying intimacy.
But I don’t feel like having sex after birth
After pregnancy, many women experience various physical and physiological changes. Up to one-third of the women experience the “baby blues.” This entails feelings of withdrawal, tearfulness, or anxiety. Nursing the baby also releases oxytocin. This hormone triggers positive emotions towards the baby at the cost of a low libido.
The low sex drive after birth is typically your body’s instinct or response to birth, and also a way to prevent another pregnancy too soon. Likewise, other issues such as concerns over the changes in the body and an overall negative body image may lead to sexual anxieties. The confusion regarding taking on the role of a nursing mother while at the same time being a lover may dissuade you from engaging in sex with your spouse.
The lack of interest in sex after birth can last for several months. Also, the reduced levels of estrogen may mean little or no cervical mucus. If vaginal dryness is the case, then you can opt for a water-based lubricant as you wait for your hormones to normalize. As time goes by, the hormones required for your menstrual cycle will start to build-up. This will lead to an improved sex drive.
The period of low-libido varies from woman to woman. To some, this period will last only a few weeks whereas to others it may go on for months. There are other external factors that can trigger this feeling, For instance, exhaustion from taking care of the baby or engaging in other responsibilities, lack of sleep due to the baby crying or waking up at night, frequency of breastfeeding, or insecurities due to the mommy-body.
Some women try to suppress breastfeeding so as to get their sex drive back. It is important to note that breast milk is important for your infant. Nursing your baby not only strengthens the bond between mother and child but also helps boost the baby’s immunity. Moreover, breastfeeding is important for you as a mother as it helps reduce the risk of breast cancer and in weight-reduction.
Communicating with your partner
It is important, to be honest with your partner. Try to help him understand that you will need time to get back to sex on a physical and emotional level. Some women find it difficult to say no to their partner when they ask for sex.
However, remind your partner that a low-libido is perfectly normal after birth. At the same time, do not use low libido or the baby as an excuse not to engage intimately with your partner. If there are any other unresolved issues then it is advisable to talk to a relationship counselor.
Do not go through the experience alone. Engage your partner by trying other forms of intimacy, and more play. Spend time together and be honest with one another. In time, you will enjoy sex again.