Sex after Baby—Rediscovering Your Sexual Self

sex after baby - couple sitting with newbornYou've waited nine months. Delivery is over. Now you're home with this lovely infant. But sleep? What is that? Your body is experiencing a number of postpartum changes that make it difficult to perform some of what used to be its easiest functions. And let's not even talk about how your body looks. You may think you looked better when you were six months pregnant! All you can think about right now is a shower, an uninterrupted meal and the bliss of getting more than two hours of sleep.


But someday—someday soon—you'll adjust so much to this new lifestyle that you and your partner may actually begin thinking about sex again. The question is: How do you reclaim your sexual self after having a baby?

The answer? Slowly.

The amount of time before resuming lovemaking is an individual matter—take as much time as you need. Six weeks after birth has become the accepted "norm" because that's when most women have their postpartum checkup and get the "OK" from their health care professional. But studies show a wide range of times before couples resume intercourse. One study of 212 couples found that half started having sex within the first two months, half after. Yet another study found half resuming sex within five weeks, half after, with 90 percent of women saying they had had intercourse by 10 weeks after birth.

If it takes longer, don't worry. The healing process is different for each woman. Remember, your body has been through a year of major changes—from pregnancy to delivery to the postpartum period. One study reports that 43% of women that attempted intercourse within two months experienced at least one difficulty relating to postpartum, including tiredness and soreness. So don't expect to return to normal in just a few weeks.

One day you will wake up in the morning and realize that your baby slept through the night—and so did you. You will fit back into your pre-pregnancy jeans—or come close. You will have an hour to spend on yourself or to meet a friend.

That's when you will start to notice that other person in the house. And that's when your thoughts might just turn to sex. This is a good thing! Sex can be a really important factor in many couples' relationships, but particularly for new parents. So, here are some suggestions for rediscovering the sexual you:

  • Choose an appropriate method of birth control. Even if you're still breastfeeding and haven't yet begun menstruating again, you could still become pregnant. Unless you are trying to conceive, knowing you have a reliable birth control method can help you relax and focus on sex instead of worrying about another pregnancy. Talk to your health care provider to determine which birth control is best for you.

  • Hire a babysitter. Create some adult space for yourself and your partner. If you don't know anyone, ask friends and family for a recommendation or hire someone from a day care center you trust and who can supply good references.

  • Plan a regular date with your partner. How about a sunset picnic by the lake? Or a hike through the park? If you're craving a nice dinner in a romantic spot or even at home with the babysitter in the other room, skip the wine—it might put you to sleep before dessert.

  • Add some exercise to your daily routine. It helps get your body back into shape and will help you feel better about yourself. After all, it's hard to feel sexy if a glimpse of your body makes you want to burrow under the covers. Try getting outside for a daily walk with the baby. It could be good for both of you.

  • Kiss your partner. We're not talking a peck. We're talking a kiss that makes you weak at the knees. Do this at least three times a day until you feel the tingling that means you're ready for more.

A word of caution: Don't expect the romantic spark to be exactly the same as it was before the baby. Most women find their sexual desire has changed after giving birth.

Lastly, take it one day at a time. Remember that you are both in this together, and never stop talking about how you feel about one another and about your sexual and emotional needs. Now that you're a family—keep your eye on the prize: a healthy family starts with a healthy relationship between parents. Don't neglect yours.

ADVERTISEMENT

Without Ginsburg, Judicial Threats to the ACA, Reproductive Rights Heighten

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg puts Obamacare, abortion rights and brith control at risk.

Your Care

The Wonderful World of Your Microbiome

What you need to know about keeping your gut and vaginal microbiomes in balance.

Your Health

The Only Way Out Is Through: How I Healed From the Trauma of Chronic Pain

After years of fighting my pain, I learned posttraumatic growth starts when you're in the midst of struggle.

Real Women, Real Stories