This article was originally published in Best Holistic Life magazine
Whether you are planning to have a baby one day, are expecting, or have just brought your child into this world, at some point, you might wonder about what will happen to your sex life. Will the intimacy between you and your partner remain the same? Will you want to have sex at all or have time for it when you have a screaming newborn in your life? Will it feel the same? You might have so many questions! Yet, at the same time, it may be scary to ask those questions or hear the answer. Trust me, it is okay to feel these feelings, and you are not alone. Knowing the “Whys” and what you can do about it, though, can give you the power to take action if needed. Keep reading to learn about surprising truths about postpartum sex that you might not know about.
Every childbirth is different. Even for one woman, each birth story and recovery afterward will differ after each child. Imagine a new mom expecting her first child – it’s so easy to get confused and set wrong expectations of yourself and your life after having a baby.
When I was pregnant with my son, I heard all kinds of stories about life after having a child. Some people would say that nothing has changed for them and even gotten better, while others have pains and no intimacy with their partner. There is so much confusion and misinformation about the postpartum period in general, but also some mystery and shame around this.
Despite educating myself a lot during the pregnancy on what to expect, I still had that image in the back of my mind: after childbirth, everything down there will be stretched, obviously, and it’s expected to leak urine when you sneeze or laugh after that. Sex won’t be the same for both a woman and her partner, and that’s how you will live your whole life.
This image is deeply lived in our society, and that’s why so many women expect this to be true. Take every movie or TV show out there. Every single one that I personally watched sent a message that couldn’t be further from reality, starting with pregnancy until after having the baby. While it’s understandable that a movie isn’t real life by definition, this is what we regularly see and what we may start expecting.
The real problem starts when not only people around you but also women’s health professionals give you the exact same perception. In a university where I’ve studied, a female professor teaching a gynecology class to medical students would joke about leaking postpartum or other common struggles in a way that it’s so typical that it’s just how it is, and it won’t ever change.
Don’t let it all get to you. The point is that everyone is genuinely so unique and different that it is impossible to say how it will be for you specifically. Don’t put much pressure on yourself, and do not rush anything. All your concerns, struggles, and feelings are valid because it is your unique experience.
Timeframe: When Can You Do It Again?
Speaking of uniqueness, this is also how your timeframe is on returning to having a sex life again. While it is recommended to wait for six weeks postpartum until having sexual intercourse, mainly to prevent uterine infection and let your body heal, you might find out that you are ready to get intimate before the six-week mark. Or you might not be ready at all, even weeks later.
Hormonal changes postpartum, breastfeeding, tearing during birth, C-section, and heaviness in the pelvic area can diminish your sexual drive or even make your sex uncomfortable or painful. I’m telling you this not to scare you but to show that there is no strict timeline when it comes to postpartum sex. It should happen when you feel ready, physically and mentally.
It Won’t Be The Same, But Is It A Bad Thing?
The fact is that your body has just gone through so many changes, and it will never be the same. But is it a bad thing? Hell, no! It is only as good or bad as you want it to be.
You CAN change, if not everything, then a lot. If you have any uncomfortable feelings or even pains down there, never hesitate to speak to your doctor. If your doctor doesn’t take these things seriously, which sometimes happens, unfortunately, then seek a second opinion. You can and should consult a pelvic physiotherapist who may assess you both externally and internally and offer relief to many common postpartum struggles, like leaking or painful sex.
Don’t put stress on yourself! Your sex life can become even better postpartum. There are also many ways to stay intimate with your partner without having intercourse. Sharing your feelings and fears with your partner, longer foreplay, using a lubricant (there is never too much of it, especially if you breastfeed), and learning breathing techniques can help you tune in with your body faster and have so much pleasure like never before.