Sex after birth
Thinking about sex after childbirth? Whether you’re excited or scared about the thought of sex after the birth of your baby there are some things you should know. We’re going to talk when how, and changes that may happen down there and in your relationship after you have kids.
None of the information in this post or on this website should be used in place of medical advice. These are simply my opinions and insights based on experience and research.
When can you have sex
A common question women have is how soon can you have sex after birth? The general rule of thumb is to wait to have sex until your 6 week postpartum check-up. Generally, your doctor will clear you at this point if they find no issues.
Do people have sex before the six week mark? Sure they do, however, keep in mind that you have a wound the size of a dinner plate inside you so taking it easy is advised. Some women do heal faster than others or find their libido return earlier.
Do people wait longer than six weeks? Certainly, I’d say most probably wait longer than six weeks. Your body has undergone an enormous strain, you may still be feeling uncomfortable depending on any tearing you had during a vaginal birth or your c-section wound can still be uncomfortable.
It’s ok to wait until you’re ready, and it’s ok to tell your husband or partner NO. Don’t let them pressure you into it before you’re ready.
In general, men have higher libidos than women and after birth you will be tired and busy taking care of a newborn baby. You will be tired and touched out in a way your husband probably can’t understand. It’s important to talk about it to prevent resentment on either side.
Encourage your husband to make friends with some other dads who can give them perspective and help them to understand that this is normal. If he’s only talking to his single friends they probably aren’t going to be understanding.
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What will sex after childbirth feel like?
A second common question is Does sex feel different after birth. Probably yes, but different may not mean painful. And it may only feel different for a little while.
Will it hurt?
The biggest concern with sex after childbirth is generally whether it will hurt. IT SHOULD NOT BE PAINFUL. If it is, stop. You may want to have this conversation with your partner beforehand about going slow and that you may have to stop. You won’t really know if your body is ready until you try. If it hurts stop and try again later.
Lube is also your best friend for the first time after giving birth. Use plenty of it especially if you had tearing or stitching as you may have some scar tissue or still be tender in that area. In general, your vagina may be drier after childbirth. Breastfeeding can also cause this. Using lube can only help the situation.
Try something like slippery stuff. Make sure that whatever use is safe to use with whatever method of birth control you are using. Remember: breastfeeding does not prevent pregnancy!
If you’re breastfeeding be sure to check out the truth about these 7 Breastfeeding Myths.
Will your vagina be “loose” after childbirth?
Many women have a fear of being “loose” after having a baby. It’s something that’s often joked about on comedy shows. The truth is this may be true…but only for a while. While many women are afraid of pain the first time after having a baby, you may actually not feel that much.
Your vaginal muscles get stretched a lot during the process of childbirth. It takes a while for those muscles to tighten back up. Just like any muscle exercise can help it out. For your vaginal muscles, this means Kegels.
Kegels can help to tighten things back up. They can also help with other issues such as urinary leakage and incontinence. If you are still having problems months after childbirth please talk to your doctor about seeing a pelvic floor therapist or physical therapist as this is not normal!
Is it weird to have sex in front of your baby?
Babies often take short naps, some don’t even like to nap during the day. It’s okay to have sex with your infant in the room! If parents didn’t have sex with their infants nearby it might not ever happen! Put them in their bed or a bouncy seat facing away from you. Just make sure they’re somewhere secure. And if they catch a glimpse of something they won’t remember it anyway, you aren’t going to scar them for life.
Keeping the magic alive
Once you get over the first time having sex after childbirth what other changes should you expect? Intimacy after a baby is a common source of discord between partners. Often men expect things to go back to how they were. The reality is your sex life is almost sure to be different after kids.
You now have a very needy baby who wants all your time and attention. You will be tired and generally just have less alone time and time together in which to have sex. Here are some tips to keeping the magic alive and maintaining some semblance of a sex life after baby.
Remember, this will look different for every couple. Don’t compare yourself to others!
Ask a group of married women with kids what they recommend and most will say to schedule sex! (I’ve seen this question asked in many mom groups.) I know, I know, it sounds terribly unromantic. But, the time for spontaneity may be gone for the time being. As parents of young kids, you can sometimes feel like two ships passing in the night and if you don’t schedule it, it may not happen. This can lead to resentment or make you feel less close to your partner.
I also highly suggest you take, or retake the 5 love languages test to help strengthen your relationship in the postpartum period.
Scheduling it can also allow for anticipation which can be as sexy as spontaneity!
Take advantage of naptime
Take advantage of nap time to do the deed! Most people think of night time as more of a time for sex, but by the time the kids are in bed one or both of you are generally too tired or touched out to want to have sex. Naptime is the perfect opportunity to connect with each other while your little one sleeps.
There are always dishes, laundry, errands and a million other things that need to be done while your baby is sleeping. But, taking the time to connect with your partner is important too!
Do It Faster
Quickies may be your new best friend! Your kids probably won’t give you a long window in which to have alone time with your spouse. So learn to take advantage of what time you get and have a quickie if you get an opportunity!
Do it Tired
Women especially may find themselves tired and the idea of sex may sound unappealing. I highly recommend trying, even if you’re tired, to have sex at least once a week or every couple weeks. Try to get in the mood even if you’re tired and seemingly uninterested. Sex releases natural endorphins which can help with depression, anxiety, and just generally help you feel better and closer to your partner.
Note, I am in no way suggesting you give in every time your partner pressures you to have sex. It’s 100% ok to say no, but try to have open, frank discussions about this when you’re both in a good state of mind. But, throw him, and yourself, a bone now and again.
And if you find that your libido returns feel free to have sex as often as you can fit it in! At least when your kids are babies you don’t have to worry about them walking in on something they could actually remember!
As women, we frequently struggle with our postpartum bodies. Chances are that you see every new lump and bump way more than your partner will. If your partner has a problem with your postpartum body that’s an entire other issue you need to discuss.
Cut yourself some slack, it takes 10 months to make a baby and it can take that long or longer to get close to your pre-baby body. Treat yourself to some new lingerie to help you feel sexy and get in the mood. If you’re too nervous to walk into a place like Victoria’s Secret you can order just about anything online these days!
Have a day date
Don’t forget to still go on dates after baby arrives! Meet up for lunch once a week or so. Go out to dinner or a movie if you can get a sitter. Even if you have to take your baby along go and do something that the two of you used to enjoy pre-baby.
I saw on Facebook that friends of ours would meet for lunch once a week. They both worked so the kids were at daycare and they could sneak a little time together. My husband and I have started doing this recently and it’s been great!
I’m a stay at home mom with a baby that won’t take a bottle so she’s always along for the ride but it still gives us some time to connect. We find a sitter for our toddler or go on a day that she’s in preschool. The extra semi-alone time really helps!
Take turns planning the dates or picking a location for lunch.
Try new things
You don’t have to break out the kama sutra, although feel free to try that too! But try something different. A different location, different position, just something to help switch things up and re-engage your interest in each other if things are feeling a little stale or disconnected.
There you have it. The lowdown on the when and the how for sex after childbirth. Not gonna lie, sex will be different after your baby is born. But, this is just a short season in life and you’ll find a new rhythm with your partner. The most important thing is to keep the lines of communication open.