I hope your sex life to date has given you much pleasure and and fun… but maybe ‘after-the-baby’ launched a new, not so fabulous, post pregnancy sex reality.
Post pregnancy sex: the first 6 weeks
If you had a vaginal birth, having a whole baby pass through your lady bits makes them tender for a while. Your delicate vaginal tissues are strained, possibly bruised or torn and these injuries take weeks to heal.
Whether you had a vaginal birth or c-section, complication free, with or without intervention, emergency or elective, your hormones are rocking you. It’s an emotional earthquake, complete with after-shocks that have your moods swinging high and low.
Your breasts are painful, veiny orbs, stretched to the max, firing off jets of milk at anyone that dares to touch them.
For at least the first six weeks, any intimate activity will ideally be gentle and slow, and limited to touching, kissing and cuddling. Penetrative sex of any description can, and should, wait. Take your time, don’t be rushed, stop when you want to and above all communicate with your partner. They
The six week check
Let’s discuss the ‘6-week check’. That appointment with your Doctor or OB-GYN when you’re pretty much a zombie surviving on no sleep and you are still in shock both physically and emotionally about the heck just happened. Often it goes a little like this: your baby gets a check over and they ask you ‘how you’re feeling’ and if ‘everything has healed up okay’ and other such vagaries. Then assuming no urgent referral or issues, you’re sent on your way with a cheery ‘all-clear to have sex and start exercising’.
However the reality is that embarking on post pregnancy sex or any other definition of sex may not be your top priority right now. Know that your ‘six-week’ check is an arbitrary, and very early, postnatal check in. It does not mean you should be starting or dong anything at all you don’t feel like doing.
So when are you ready for post pregnancy sex?
In the midst of new motherhood, it might feel like your overstretched tender body will never feel like you again, tingle to the touch, or bend into any playful positions or moods. But post pregnancy sex will be fun again. Take your time.
But for now, concentrate on you, on healing and strengthening yourself physically and emotionally… on cherishing love, if not yet passion. Don’t rush your body. That birth thing was HARD and your body needs time. Be nice to yourself. If there is pain or something just doesn’t feel right at all, book in with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist (you can get a GP referral or go private).
How long will it take? That’s personal to you. You’ll get there when you’re good and ready.
Will sex after childbirth ever feel the same?
It might feel different. It might even be better. But yes it should feel good. Will you love your body and feel sexy once more? Yes, definitely! You can restore your body confidence after childbirth, but it takes, time, effort and the right postpartum exercises.
Use lube. Be comfortable. Say what feels good and what doesn’t (it might be different than before). Never continue through pain or discomfort. No, it’s not ‘supposed to hurt a bit’. Control speed, and intensity and call time whenever you need to.
So relax about post pregnancy sex… the truth is most women who have given birth have their priorities right: tea, sleep, cuddles.
Pelvic floor tips for when you feel ready to start having sex
Here are some ways you can nurture yourself both physically and emotionally as well as nurture your relationship with your partner during the whirlwind of postpartum:
Whenever *you feel ready* for postpartum sex, begin reconnecting to your pelvic floor through mind-to-muscle connection and breath work. No matter what kind of birth you had, your pelvic floor muscles have been through a lot.
Hypertonic pelvic floor and it’s role in sexual discomfort
A hypertonic (too-tight) pelvic floor can cause pain during intercourse so getting yourself reconnected with releasing those muscles, as well as properly recruiting them, will really help.
Not sure where to start with your breath work? Don’t stress, your MUTU breath and MUTU core has you covered!
Communication is key to healthy postpartum sex
Have open and honest conversations with your partner (and with yourself!) about what each of your needs are during this time.
Find ways to come together that you both feel good with, to keep your connection and intimacy (doesn’t need to be physical) alive. Being in tune with one another will just help you both feel better during the long nights and adjustments that come with that beautiful new baby. Lean on and support one another.
When you do get the all clear from your physician to resume activities (post pregnancy sex included) don’t feel that you HAVE to. You don’t have to do anything you are not ready for. Wait until you are ready, physically and emotionally. Communicate this with your partner.
Postpartum sex tips: Lubrication and Going Slow
When you do feel ready, have extra lubrication on hand. Postpartum hormones can affect natural lubrication.
Go slow, ensure your body is ready for penetration to limit pain and speak up if there is any pain or discomfort. Again, this goes for physical pain and/or emotional pain.
Remember, sex should be empowering, fun, and pleasurable for YOU. The moment it isn’t, slow down or stop.
Do you have feelings or symptoms you’re not sure about? Something not feel quite right?
Check out this post on What’s Normal and What Isn’t For Your Post Pregnancy Body