So, it’s been 6 weeks and your doctor gives you the all clear to return to sex and exercise…umm what?!?
Sex… now… really??
For most women this is the first thought running through your mind. The doctor proceeds to talk about your contraception options and in your head your thinking ‘abstinence’ is my contraception method right now. The thought of getting back on the horse so to speak its daunting, will it hurt, will it feel the same, will the baby wake up…
There are loads of different feelings that will arise and many of my clients have said ‘it’s like doing it for the first time all over again’. It is the unknown again for something you once new well, in a body you knew well but now it’s not quite the same. This is totally NORMAL and a lot of women feel this way. In my experience the average return to sex or even considering for most women has been at least 4 months postpartum.
You also may not feel like having sex for some time after having a baby, this can be a result of low energy and stress from being a new mama. Feelings of being less attractive and uncomfortable about your postpartum body can also play a role in your lack of desire. Open discussions with your partner are important during this time to explain how you are both feeling and expressing the postpartum effect you are experiencing.
Some postpartum sex tips:
- Talk to your partner about restarting sex, how you would like to be touched and how you would like to go about the whole process
- Try on your own gently exploring your vagina with your fingers as this will allow you to identify and pain spots before you begin
- Start gently and make yourself comfortable to relax your inhibitions about any pain
- Try and match baby sleep time with sex so you can get into the zone uninterrupted
- You may experience breast tenderness and leaking from nursing resulting in discomfort during sex. Try to nurse before so your less full and leaving a top/bra on to give them support
- Use lubrication, the vagina can be dry in the postpartum period
Things to look out for when returning to sex:
- Is it painful? There may be some light discomfort if you had tearing or an episiotomy however if it is a strong pain stop. Sex should not be painful, and pain may be an indication that you have pelvic floor weakness, a prolapse or a poorly healed scar. Seek professional help
- Do you feel comfortable? Talking with your partner about how you are feeling mentally about returning to sex. It is different for everyone and there is no right time except the one that suits you
Six weeks in the minimum timeframe to return to sex, this gives your body time to heal after giving birth and lowers your risk of infection. This is especially true if your vaginal tissue was torn or cut during delivery.
If you have any concerns about returning to sex or any pain from sex speak to your health care professional.