When to Have Sex After the Baby? After the baby is born, it’s best to take it slow when heading back to the sac. BY MACHELLE M. SEIBEL, MD
On your mark, get set, have sex!
Couples are often worried about what will happen to their sex life after
they have a baby. Will it be difficult to make time? Will we still be
physically attracted to each other, and how much time will we have to wait
after delivery before we can be intimate again? What will a new little
person in our house mean to our sex life, and how will we adjust to the
needs of the baby while still making time for ourselves?
The sexual implications of having a baby are twofold. First, there are the
physical considerations and second there are the psychological factors.
After delivery, a woman's body will need time to readjust. Having a baby is
a huge physical event, and whether the baby is born vaginally or by
C-section, a period of six weeks is often necessary for the cervix to close,
for internal tears to heal, and for postpartum bleeding to end.
Every woman may feel differently about when she will be ready or even have
the desire to have sex again. Some women may need many months, whereas
others will begin feeling ready to make love again within weeks.
If a woman is breast-feeding, her vagina may also be sensitive, and
therefore a couple should tread carefully back into a sexual routine. Start
slow. Plan on extended foreplay and realize that vaginal dryness can be
treated with over-the-counter solutions.
Kegel exercises can also be a good way to get your vaginal muscles back into
shape, and increase vaginal muscle tone to increase arousal. These
exercises are performed by tightening the vagina in the same way that you
stop the flow of urine and are highly recommended for women recovering from
pregnancy. Do 10 squeezes at a time, at least six times per day.
However, physical challenges are only part of the toll. Taking care of a
new baby can pose a psychological strain and it is likely that you may
simply be too tired for sex. You may therefore actually welcome a decrease
in desire. However, take advantage of when your baby naps. Those are great
times to catch up on sleep or to sneak in an intimate moment with your
Worries about body image and postpartum depression can also influence
arousal, so don't rush back into a pre-pregnancy sexual routine until you
are ready. Take it slowly and enjoy the new love and intimacy a baby
provides. If you are breast-feeding, you may enjoy breast stimulation.
A pregnancy can be a time to consider new sexual positions, learn more about turn-ons and turn-offs and get to know your partner in a different way.
You may be surprised by how little you think about sex and by how much time
and focus a new baby actually takes.
Don't worry, if things seem to be going slower than you may like, you'll be
back together before you know it. Even though your new addition is
permanent, it's just a matter of time before the necessary adjustments are
learned. Returning to a rewarding sex life is simply a matter of finding a
new rhythm that works and committed couples always find a way to make this
Dr. Machelle Seibel is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Massachusetts, and former Editor in Chief of Sexuality, Reproduction and Menopause, a journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.