SEXUALITY AFTER CHILDBIRTH:
For a while after childbirth, don’t be surprised if you have little interest in sex. Physical recovery, hormonal changes and exhaustion often affect sexuality after childbirth. Each woman’s experience is different.
Together you and your partner can connect emotionally and physically by knowing ahead of time what is normal and why.
- Physical recovery- It’s important to avoid sexual intercourse until you have stopped bleeding and stitches have healed. This can take around 6 weeks but can be different for each woman.
- Lack of energy- Exhaustion and your baby’s demands may make sex less important for you. It comes back as you get used you this new routine and are more rested.
- Hormonal Changes- Until your menstrual cycle starts again, your estrogen is low and vaginal dryness can be a problem. High prolactin levels while breastfeeding also play a part in vaginal dryness. You can use an over the counter lubricant to provide moisture.
- Breastfeeding- Frequent breastfeeding needed by newborns can lead to sore breasts. As the healing and feeding demands on your body become less, you will feel more interest in sex again.
- Sex drive
- Most women have no libido (medical term for sex drive) immediately after delivery and it can take up to six months (or more) to return to their baseline.
- Lack of sleep, caring for a new baby, lactation, pain, and discomfort can all affect a woman’s sex drive.
- As babies grow and sleep for longer periods of time at night, libido usually improves.
- Women overwhelmed by caring for their baby, nursing, household work, and other life responsibilities often find their libido suffers.
- Time for self-care is important for a woman to feel herself again.
Talk to your partner about your feelings, concerns and expectations. Try to set up times when you can be alone, unrushed, and uninterrupted.
Rest whenever possible.
FERTILITY AND BIRTH CONTROL AFTER CHILDBIRTH:
Your menstrual cycle and your ability to become pregnant again will return at your own body’s pace. Remember that you can ovulate and get pregnant even though you are not menstruating, as early as 3 weeks after childbirth. It is recommended not to get pregnant for 12-18 months after childbirth and hence important to use a more reliable birth control method. We will talk to you about options of birth control methods that are safe for breastfeeding and more reliable than condoms or natural methods at your postpartum visit.
Click HERE for more information on birth control postpartum.