Useful information on sex after the birth of your baby with advice on postnatal bleeding, pain and bloating and on regaining your libido.
Your midwife, GP and possibly a family planning nurse will ask you soon after you have had your baby what you plan to use for contraception. You may well be surprised by the question as sex is often far from your mind when you are recovering from the birth and you have a new baby to look after.
Both physically and emotionally it may be some time before you and your partner feel ready to resume a sexual relationship. Labour often leaves you feeling exhausted. The sleepless nights that follow can mean that it takes you a long time to recover from this. You may have needed some stitches to your perineum or have some grazes, bruising, or swelling in the vaginal area.
For the first week or so after the baby is born you will also have some bleeding, rather like a heavy period. On top of this no matter how you feed your baby your breasts tend to become full of milk a few days after the birth.
All of these things settle in time, but they might affect your enjoyment of sex and also how you feel about it. Memories of the birth can cause a reduced libido in both partners adapting to your new role as parents is also likely to have an impact.
There are no strict rules about sex after the birth. It is safe to have intercourse as soon as you feel physically and emotionally ready. Some women feel happy to have sex when their bleeding has settled. Others prefer to wait until they have seen their GP for their six week check. A significant number of women will need longer than this. It is important to discuss your feelings with your partner. If one of you feels ready to resume sex before the other, this can put some strain on your relationship. You may need to find other ways of expressing your love and affection toward each other for a time.
If you have sustained any trauma during the birth this should heal fairly quickly. Once the area looks and feels to have healed sex should not be painful. Some times the vagina can be dryer than usual for a time. If this is the case lubricating jelly may be useful. Sex may also be more enjoyable in some positions than others; it is worth experimenting a little.
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