Having sex after delivery will be the last thing most women will want to engage in. As a new mother, your hands will be full. You will battle exhaustion.
Your attention will shift from your partner to your newborn, and in most cases, you will not be physically and emotionally ready for any extra activities between the sheets.
The period it will take to resume sexual activity will vary depending on how complicated your delivery was. In most cases, it is recommended that you don’t get physically intimate until after six weeks. But the actual period might be longer.
“It might take months before you can regain your pre-pregnancy libido mainly because of persistent pain around your genital area, nursing, postpartum, and hormonal imbalances such as oestrogen drops,” says Michael Castleman, a sex therapist and the author of Great Sex.
He also says that there are women who will not regain their interest in sex until after they have completed weaning. “Generally, very few women will feel interested in sex during their first few months of breastfeeding,” he says. Dr. Rebecca Booth, a gynaecologist and the author of The Venus Week explains that when you are nursing, the decrease in oestrogen together with high prolactin and oxytocin levels will tend to mimic menopause in the first two to three months.
One of the critical things that suppress your pre-pregnancy interest towards physical intimacy is the changes that having a newborn heralds.
For example, after delivery, there will be a high chance that your body will sustain permanent changes. “A woman’s breasts might grow permanently, and the abdominal stretches sustained in the nine-month gestation period might result in a permanent, slightly stretched belly,” says Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright, the author of The Better Sex.
There are also women who will put on weight that they later feel unable to get rid of. “These changes will inevitably affect the woman’s self-image, especially if her partner is not assuring or accepting enough.”
What to do:
Sarah Hunter, a sex therapist and the author of Not Always in the Mood, says that while you may not always be in the mood, you will do well to schedule quality time with your partner.
“Get a babysitter, even if for just an hour, learn to embrace, sit on the same couch and hold hands, arrange dinner dates and cultivate romantic gestures until intimacy returns,” she says. Also, Dr. Fulbright says that communication will be a key determinant of how soon sex resumes, how it happens, and how often it occurs.
“Don’t assume that your partner comprehends your situation. He might be thinking that you don’t need him anymore. Also, don’t assume his hesitation to get intimate is because he no longer finds your post-pregnancy body attractive,” she says.
One of the ways many women try to get their sexy back after delivery includes taking physical exercises to cut baby weight or get rid of the baby belly.
But not all exercises are recommended for all types of deliveries. For example, women who have a C-section should not engage in exercises such as abdominal curls, sit ups and chin-to-chest which stretch abdominal muscles.
Always bear in mind that if your caesarean wound has not healed properly, you might suffer ruptures around your abdominal wall. You might also start having abdominal pains which last for long periods or which are periodically recurrent.
But with your gynaecologist’s approval, exercises that you can do include low impact aerobics such as walking short distances, knees rolling, pelvic rocking, and knees to abdomen, and behind lift.