Let’s Talk About Sex – After Baby

After having a baby, so many things about life change. Your sleep schedule – or lack thereof. Your responsibilities. Your free time. And, oftentimes, your overall priorities.  

Day by day, you learn and build your new routine and settle into the changes a baby has brought to your family. 

One post-baby change that we don’t always talk about are the changes in your sex life, especially shortly after giving birth.  

“Typically, women are instructed to wait six to eight weeks before putting anything into the vagina,” says Certified Nurse Midwife Stacy Hudepohl, of the Center for Women’s Health and Wellness, part of Premier Physician Network. This means you should follow your health care provider’s recommendation for how long to wait until you use tampons, douche, or have intercourse. 

During birth, your uterus is exposed, and your cervix is opened, Hudepohl says. And, even if you didn’t have any kind of laceration or tear during birth, it’s important to give your body time to heal before jumping back into sexual intercourse. 

Find What Works For You 

Along with giving your body time to heal, it’s important to find ways to ease yourself back into intimacy with your partner. 

Sometimes the feelings of pressure from breastfeeding, losing sleep, and caring for your new baby can seem overwhelming, and it can be difficult to be toggle between your roles as a mom and as a wife.  

Hudepohl says finding a happy medium and maybe even new forms of intimacy that aren’t focused only on sexual intercourse can be the key to feeling happy long-term. 

“The biggest thing we tell women is to make time for yourself and to realize that you’ve got to take care of yourself first before you can take care of everyone else,” she says. “All couples, I think, treasure that baby together and realize the strength that it brings them, but also need to remember not to lose sight of their relationship. Kind of like the old cliché of date night and making time for each other will do wonders for the relationship.” 

When you’re ready to have sexual intercourse and you’ve waited the amount of time recommended by your provider, take it slow the first couple times. Though you probably won’t notice a major difference, Hudepohl says, being on the same page as your partner can make a big difference. 

Breastfeeding can cause some vaginal dryness, so using a water-based lubricant can be helpful.  

“I would anticipate a little discomfort, maybe the first couple times, but it shouldn’t be painful,” she says. “So, any time there’s pain, we want our moms to give us a call. If there’s any unusual odor, itching, burning, anything that doesn’t seem right, those types of things obviously would trigger a phone call, as well.” 

Future Pregnancies 

Another thing to remember about having sex after having a baby is that there is no specific amount of time your body needs to be ready to get pregnant again. There’s no rule regulating when you’ll start ovulating again. 

“It could be in just a few weeks, it could be in a few months. If you’re breastfeeding, it could be several months, but we don’t know that until you’ve had a period,” Hudepohl says. “So, a lot of times, women will go several months and not even realize they’re pregnant because they haven’t had a period. They ovulated, didn’t realize it, had unprotected intercourse, and got pregnant.” 

Because of this, Hudepohl emphasizes the importance of using some kind of birth control measures when you do decide to have sex but aren’t ready to get pregnant again. 

Generally, it’s recommended that you wait at least 12 months between pregnancies to make sure your body has enough time to heal to have a healthy pregnancy the next time around.  

Waiting at least a year reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, pre-term deliveries, and pregnancy complications, she says. 

Source: Certified Nurse Midwife Stacy Hudepohl, Center for Women’s Health and Wellness