Resuming sex after birth: What to expect
Pregnancy can bring a world of difference to your life and your relationship with your spouse or partner. After childbirth, there may be many fronts where you may feel closer to your partner than ever before, but one aspect of your life may seem like it may have hit rock bottom! That, my dear, could be your sex life. There may be times you may wonder ‘how would sex feel after delivery’, ‘when is it safe to have sex after giving birth?’, ‘Can sex cause infection after birth’ or ‘Why is my libido low after pregnancy’? But take a breather. Sex after birth is not an alien concept. All you’ve got to do is take a plunge with a bit of caution.
According to Dr Pooja C Thukral, Consultant – Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Faridabad, it is normal for sex to take a backseat in a couple’s life after childbirth.
“The period of abstinence after delivery is four to six weeks. This is the time for the mother’s body to heal following a normal delivery or cesarean section,” explains the expert.
Why does libido or sex drive decrease after delivery?
Well, there can be multiple reasons for low libido in a woman after childbirth.
1. Busy lifestyle
A new mother has a lot on her plate. Looking after a newborn, especially for a first-time mother, is a daunting experience. From sleepless nights to managing pain in episiotomy stitches while sitting or pain in the abdominal scar after a cesarean section, these things keep the mother engaged.
2. Self image
Dr Thukral says some women may feel bodily changes after pregnancy may be less enticing for the man. So, working on building a positive self image. It is only natural that bringing a new life into the world will alter some aspects of your body and appearance. Embrace it.
3. Hormonal changes
While breastfeeding estrogen levels are low, prolactin and oxytocin levels are high. These may lead to vaginal dryness. But all’s not bad about it! The doctor says it may be physiologically beneficial to prevent a second pregnancy from happening too soon!
4. Cultural practices
The expert says that in parts of India, traditionally new mothers are either sent to their maternal home or are asked to sleep separately from the partner for 3 months or so after delivery to ensure the couples abstain from sex.
These reasons may not be the case for all couples. As per Dr Thukral, some couples’ sex drive increases more than ever after childbirth.
How to resume sex after pregnancy?
Here are some tips suggested by Dr Thukral for postpartum sex.
1. Consult a medical expert
When you go for a six-week postnatal checkup with your doctor, you can discuss contraceptive options and once she ensures the healing is good you can resume sexual intercourse.
2. Warm bath
Taking a warm bath or using lubricants may help ease the pain and vaginal dryness experienced during intercourse.
3. Focus on intimacy
Developing intimacy post-delivery may strengthen the bond between couples. Intimacy is not only sex. Try hand-holding, hugging, date lunches or dinners and massage sessions. These can be very useful in keeping the bonding alive.
Communicating with each other about the desire to resume sex and pleasurable experiences, go a long way in nurturing the relationship.