For a while after childbirth, don't be surprised if you have little
interest in sex. Physical recovery, exhaustion, and hormonal changes often
affect sexuality after childbirth. Each woman's experience is different.
Together, you and your partner can connect emotionally and physically
by knowing ahead of time what is normal and why.
Physical recovery. It's
important to avoid sexual intercourse until you have stopped bleeding and
intercourse is not painful or uncomfortable. Your body needs time to heal after childbirth. This can take about 4 to 6 weeks, but it's different for each woman.
Lack of energy. Exhaustion, your baby's demands, and recovery from childbirth
may make sex less important to you. You will have more energy when you become
used to having a new baby and are healed, more rested, and settled in a
Hormonal changes. Until your
menstrual cycle starts up again, your estrogen is low and vaginal dryness may
be a problem. High
prolactin levels while breastfeeding also play a part
in vaginal dryness. If you have this problem, use a vaginal lubricant to
need to breastfeed often. This not only takes up your time and energy, but it
can lead to sore breasts. But this does not last long. You and your baby
will settle into a feeding routine, feedings will become further apart, and
your breasts will adjust. As the healing and feeding demands on your body
become less, you will feel more interest in sex again.
Talk with your partner about your feelings, concerns, and
expectations. Let your partner know that as you recover from childbirth, you
need extra support. Ask your partner to tell you about any needs and concerns too.
Try to set up times when you can be alone, unrushed, and
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Thomas M. Bailey, MD - Family Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology