Sex after giving birth
Men are particularly likely to believe this. A lot of young blokes think that they’ll be able to have intercourse as soon as their partner gets home from hospital. But this just isn’t true.
You see, childbirth is a pretty traumatic process for a woman. Having a baby pass through her vagina is almost like having a small explosion go off inside her.
The delicate vaginal tissues are inevitably strained, bruised and torn – and it takes some weeks for these injuries to heal up.
Furthermore, childbirth involves considerable hormone changes – as well as emotional stresses. And as a consequence, very, very few women feel rampagingly sexy until a long time after they have given birth.
Therefore, it’s important for both mother and father to realize that lovemaking may not go brilliantly in the first six months or so after the baby arrives. So be prepared – and be patient!
How soon can you resume having sex?
Traditionally, midwives and doctors have advised that a woman shouldn’t consider having full sex (ie intercourse) until after her postnatal check-up. This examination usually takes place about six weeks after the birth.
However, in recent years several American medical publications have pointed out that there is no real scientific basis for this ‘prohibition’ until sex weeks. The idea seems to have just arisen over the centuries, and was perhaps based on the known fact that the womb takes about six weeks to return to its normal size.
But some mothers have recently stated in internet communications that they felt pretty sexy within two or three weeks of childbirth and wanted to resume. Some say that they have done so, without any ill-effects.
Others are not so sure, particularly if they are still exhausted after giving birth. For the moment, medical advice remains that the average woman should postpone intercourse till after that six week check-up.
Even then, she may not feel ready to ‘go all the way’ – particularly if she has had stitches and the opening of her vagina is sore.
If you’re in any doubt about whether to resume sex, ask the doctor who does your postnatal examination for advice – particularly about using additional lubrication.
Can you go in for any other sexual activity before resuming intercourse?
Yes – and it can be a good way of ‘letting off steam’. Couples do often get very frustrated when they’re waiting to resume sexual intercourse. This applies particularly to men!So, in the meantime, you can go in for love play – though there is one very serious danger, which we’ll explain in a moment.
Breasts after childbirth?
Is it all right for the partner to handle the new mother’s breasts? Yes, it’s OK – provided the woman feels happy about it. But don’t go in for ‘boob play’ if she develops any kind of breast disorder, such as a nipple crack or an abscess.
Caressing your breasts may well make you produce jets of milk. This is OK if the two of you don’t mind it. But if you find it off-putting, it would be a good idea to feed your baby before having sex, in order to empty the breasts as far as possible.
What happens to the female sex drive after birth?
Most women (though there are exceptions) don’t feel very keen on sex for at least a few weeks after childbirth, and the main reason for this is simply exhaustion.
If the delivery was long or difficult, the woman may also feel anxious about getting pregnant again. Generally, women start getting their desire back within a couple of months of having a baby. If your libido doesn’t return, you should seek help from a doctor.
Sexual intercourse after the birth of your child?
When you’re both ready to have intercourse after the birth, you should begin gently. If possible, try and find a time of the day when you are not too worn out. Also, try to find a time when the baby is not likely to wake up – so you can have some peace and quiet.
Hormone changes and worry can lead to some women experiencing vaginal dryness for the first three months after giving birth. But you don’t take hormones for this. Instead, buy lubricants over the counter from a pharmacist Some condoms have a built-in lubricant that may help.
For the first few sex sessions after childbirth, it’s a good idea to choose a position in which the woman can control the pace and depth of penetration. A position with her on top, or one where both partners lie side-by-side facing each other, may be more comfortable.
Note to male partners: be gentle and be patient. Don’t try and force your way in – and do not pressure your spouse into having sex before she is ready!
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