Sex After Child Birth

Don't Start Too Soon

Remember that sexual activity should not be resumed until at least four weeks after giving birth. This applies whether you give birth vaginally or by C-section, because your body will need time to heal. Many ob/gyns will recommend waiting 4-6 weeks before having sex. This allows time for the cervix to close, postpartum bleeding to stop, and any tears or stitches to heal. If you have sex too soon you risk pain, soreness, and infection. If you decide to have sex during this period despite your doctor's warning, be sure to use a condom to reduce your chances of infection.

Ready to Roll

Once you get the green light from your doctor: you can have sex again. But while this news will make your partner a very happy man, you may be a bit worried about resuming your love life. Something very large came out of that area, and it was traumatic, even though the delivery brought the gift of your beautiful baby. You're worried about sex—worried it will be painful—worried you'll have no sex drive. The truth is, these are reasonable fears, but facing fears is the best way to conquer them. Let's take a look at the issues:

New Responses

*Sex will be different now. You will want to have gentle lovemaking sessions at first. It may take a few months for you to learn your new sexual responses: what feels good, what hurts. Be patient. You may also have concerns about your fit with your partner now that you've delivered a baby. It may feel different for your partner and for you, but in general, the body is designed to return to its pre-pregnant state. Be religious about doing your Kegel exercises. This will strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor to help you regain that perfect fit.

*More breast changes. Just when you got used to burgeoning, sore breasts during pregnancy, you now have to deal with yet more breast changes. Your breasts may feel less full, less firm, and may even leak or spray milk on/at your partner during sex. Knowing that these changes are par for the course can help lead you to a place of acceptance and confidence.

*Hidden fears. You or your partner may have fears about your body and sex. Try to discuss your own fears and ask him to tell you about his fears, too. Half the battle is learning to discuss these things in an open, frank manner. It's hiding stuff that tears holes in relationships. Be respectful, be kind and think before you speak, but do speak. This applies to both of you. Remember too, that it's normal for you to be having less sex at this point. You can remark on the fact, but accept that this reduction in frequency is very natural for now.

Sexual Flame

*Remain sexual beings. You may need to make some adjustments now that the baby is here and your body is different, but keeping the sexual flame a-burning is more important than ever. If you allow your relationship with your partner to cool and become sibling-like, sex may vanish from the roster altogether. Staying lovers requires an investment of time and romance. This may seem mission impossible when you're so overwhelmed with the new task of mothering, but don't let your sex life stagnate. You can always fan a low flame into a blazing fire, but cold ashes can't be rekindled.

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