Remember how worried you were before you lost your virginity?
You probably spent hours worrying about whether it would hurt, an equal amount of time wondering whether you’d be any good at it and then endless chats with friends dissecting exactly what had happened once it was over.
Well, you might be going through all of that again, because sex after giving birth can feel like a pretty big deal.
Sex After Giving Birth
Here are 10 things you should know about sex after giving birth:
#1: There’s No Right Time
Just because your mama friend with the super high sex drive put out before she’d even left the delivery suite, that doesn’t mean the clock is ticking on your own sex life. There is no such thing as the ‘right time’ to have sex after giving birth (if you don’t need to wait for medical or surgical reasons).
It’s important to wait until you are emotionally and physically ready, whenever that might be. Some women have sex pretty soon after giving birth and for others it can take a lot longer. Both are fine; just wait until you feel ready and try not to put yourself under any pressure to do it sooner.
#2: You’ll Need To Plan Ahead
Don’t worry, being a parent doesn’t mean that the spontaneity of your sex life is dead and buried, but it does mean you’ll have to plan ahead when it comes to contraception.
You might have only recently given birth, but your body could well be ready for another baby (even if you’re not), so you’ll need to take steps to prevent one if you’re hoping to avoid back to back pregnancies.
Speak to your healthcare provider for advice about which contraception method is best for you and meanwhile, make sure you use condoms to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.
#3: It Might Feel Different
You’re probably wondering whether sex will feel different after the birth. No matter how you gave birth, whether you had a natural birth, a c-section or an assisted vaginal delivery, you might find that sex feels different, at least for a little while. In fact, it could be downright uncomfortable.
Remember, your body is still healing after the birth, and it can take a while for things to go back to normal. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about it. Keep doing your pelvic floor exercises to encourage blood flow to the area (this is thought to help with healing) and be patient.
#4: Your Partner Might Be Worried Too
It’s all too easy to dismiss your partner’s feelings when it comes to postpartum sex; after all, he’s not the one who went through childbirth! His body is remarkably intact, and he doesn’t have a stretched out tummy, milk-filled boobs and sore genitals.
But he is probably just as worried about sex as you are. Why? Because he doesn’t want to hurt you. He doesn’t have firsthand experience of giving birth, but he watched you do something amazing. He knows that you need time to recover and he’s scared of hurting you.
#5: Be Honest
Chances are, you’re both feeling a little apprehensive. Communication can play an important role in your sex life. Nope, not dirty talk (though feel free if it floats your boat), but good old fashioned honesty.
Not knowing how the other person feels can lead to even more worry, so it’s worth getting things out in the open. If you’re worried, tell your partner. If you can’t wait to have sex with him, tell him. If you’re having sex and it’s uncomfortable, tell him! He doesn’t know how you’re feeling unless you tell him.
#6: Vaginal Dryness Can Be A Problem
Breastfeeding probably has you leaking out of your bra each and every time a baby cries in the grocery store. But down below is where you could really do with a little lubrication; giving birth leaves you as dry as a bone.
The hormonal changes in your body can lead to a decreased sex drive and vaginal dryness. One thing pretty much all new and breastfeeding mamas swear by is lube. Invest in some water-based lube now, and when you’re ready, you will have some to hand if you need it.
#7: Get Into Moreplay
Remember foreplay? Well, postpartum foreplay is like that, only longer. Yep, you’ll want as much foreplay as you can get before you get down to the final act. With the potential vaginal dryness mentioned above, combined with a head full of worry, you’ll need a decent amount of foreplay to take your mind off things.
Feel free to show this paragraph to your partner. You could also print the article, highlight this section, and fix it to the fridge if you like. Whatever it takes. Just make sure you get your foreplay.
#8: You’re Probably Too Tired
The problem with being a new mama is that you’re the most exhausted you’ve ever been. It’s not exactly great for your sex life and, sadly, there’s not much you can do about it. No matter how nicely you ask, that beautiful little baby of yours is just refusing to sleep through the night.
So, even when you’ve made it through that first attempt at postpartum sex, you’ll be too tired to do it again for a few more weeks. Don’t worry, you won’t be this sleep deprived forever. At some point, your baby will sleep. You hope.
#9: You’ll Be Interrupted
Ah, babies. They sleep all the time, but never when you really want them to. As soon as you start getting down to business, you’ll hear your baby stir in the other room.
It’s frustrating, but there’s not much you can do about this form of coitus interruptus. Try not to let it stress you out. If your baby settles quickly, you might even be able to pick up where you left off.
Remember, one day your baby will sleep through the night and then you’ll be able to have as much sex (or sleep) as you want!
#10: You Will Get Your Mojo Back
For some women, it can take a little while for things to get back to normal. Thanks to sleep deprivation, hormones and the general business of life with a new baby, your sex life simply won’t be top of your agenda right now.
But don’t worry, you’ll get there. In time, you will be having mind-blowing sex again (some mothers say their sex lives feel more connected and better than ever after giving birth), so try not to worry too much if your sex life isn’t up to scratch right now.
Focus on each other, nurture your relationship, and good sex will follow.