Sex After Pregnancy: What to Expect
A common question gynecologists and physicians get is: “what about sex after pregnancy?” This is a valid question - especially after you have just gone through the labor and delivery process. It can be hard to know what to expect if you have never been through it before. In this article, we will break down how long after delivery you can have sex, what to expect from your body and emotions, and how to have a healthy sex life after pregnancy.
How Long to Wait for Sex After Pregnancy
One of the biggest questions women have after giving birth is how long until you can have sex. Most physicians will recommend you wait six weeks. After giving birth your body has a lot of healing it has to do in order get back to normal after being pregnant. Your hormones have to balance back out, your vagina has to heal, your uterus has to heal, and you have to wait for any vaginal bleeding to stop. All of these things can take up to six months of healing - sometimes more, but by six weeks doctors say that it is safe to have vaginal intercourse again.
How Soon Can You Get Pregnant Again?
In order to become pregnant, you have to ovulate again, and for women who are not breastfeeding, that can occur as soon as six weeks postpartum. In contrast, the hormones produced during breastfeeding can act as a natural form of birth control, this is called the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) but this is only effective if done properly.
After giving birth, some women are ready to start trying to have a baby again but hold off. Doctors say getting pregnant so soon after giving birth can lead to complications in your subsequent pregnancy. It is for this reason you need to have a reliable form of birth control.
Condoms, IUD, or implants are the best forms of birth control right after pregnancy. Any form of birth control that influences your hormones can have side effects on your breast milk which can influence your baby. Talk to your doctor to determine the best form of birth control for you.
How Does Delivery Affect Your Emotional and Physical Health
There are many changes that occur in your body during pregnancy, and many more changes occur after pregnancy. Your body has to go back to normal and your hormones will have to balance back out. This can influence your emotional and physical health.
What to Expect Physically
After labor, your vagina will have to go through a healing process - particularly if you have had a vaginal delivery. The hormones in your pregnancy cause your pelvic floor to widen, this can stretch your vagina wider and cause it to loosen. Similarly, your body’s hormonal changes, and breastfeeding, can cause vaginal dryness. In addition, because your uterus is healing after pregnancy you will experience vaginal bleeding after giving birth. If you are planning on breastfeeding this can make your breasts feel tender and they may leak milk. All of these things can influence your sex life even after the six weeks have come and gone.
To combat this, many women perform kegel exercises on a regular basis to increase their muscles in their pelvic floor. This can tighten your vaginal muscles and help you bounce back faster. Some women may not feel comfortable performing kegel exercises so they choose to do pilates or yoga. These exercises will also help strengthen the pelvic floor.
What to Expect Emotionally
Many women have a difficult time getting used to their postpartum body and they may feel self-conscious around their partner. These feelings of self-consciousness, your changing dynamic with your partner, and lack of sleep can all cause you to have a low sex drive.
In addition, your hormones are changing. One of the hormones released during breastfeeding is called oxytocin - this hormone allows you to bond with your baby, but it also decreases your libido. This hormone is also meant to ensure you do not get pregnant too soon after giving birth.
So even after the six-week mark is up, some women are just not in the mood, and that is completely fine and normal. You can still be intimate with your partner in other ways.
Healthy Sex Life After Pregnancy
All of the hormones and changes to your body can create a new dynamic in the bedroom. You may experience some pain from sex after pregnancy. Vaginal dryness, breast tenderness, and vaginal stretching can all influence how sex feels. Thankfully, there are some great ways to combat these problems so you can get back to having fun in the bedroom.
- You can easily combat vaginal dryness by using a lubricant.
- Increase your foreplay, the more turned on you are the more your vagina produces a natural lubricant, which can help to combat dryness.
- Seek out alternatives - no one said vaginal sex is the only type of sex. If you aren’t ready to have vaginal intercourse quite yet there are plenty of alternatives. Your partner can perform oral sex, massage you, or you can both do mutual masturbation. There are plenty of ways to experiment. Remember sex is about intimacy with your partner, there is no right or wrong way, just do what feels good and leaves both of you satisfied.
- Try having sex in the afternoon. By the time the evening rolls around you are probably both tired and ready to go to sleep. Don’t put off sex until the evening when you are exhausted, have sex in the afternoon when you are both more awake and less likely to put it off.
Sex after pregnancy is a difficult situation to navigate. You love your partner and you may want to have sex with them but your body isn’t ready. In contrast, you may not be ready to have sex, but your partner may be. Your hormones and self-consciousness can influence your sex life and make you feel even worse.
Thankfully, Bellefit has a solution, our postpartum girdles can help you strengthen your pelvic floor, heal faster, and feel more confident in your body. Our girdles provide pain relief, compression, and stabilization that ensures you are feeling your best and looking your best. Get back to feeling sexy and beautiful by investing in a Bellefit postpartum girdle.
We hope this article has been helpful and that you now know what to expect when it comes to sex after pregnancy.