Sex is very different after childbirth and expecting it to be back to normal straight away (as men expect it to) is setting yourself up for failure. Men are terrible when it comes to having an understanding of what a woman goes through after childbirth, and there are some who believe they can have intercourse again as soon as the baby has come out. They simply don’t comprehend that childbirth is like an implosion within the sexual organs, and not a pleasant one. The vaginal tissue is stretched and strained, torn and bruised and generally not comfortable.
How Soon Can You Have Sex?
Once upon a time, sex after childbirth was a no-go area for six weeks after birth, at which point a woman would have her postnatal checkup. This has now been proven to be totally unnecessary. Indeed, it takes about six weeks for a woman’s womb to return to normal, but the womb is not what people make love to. There are even women who feel they are incredibly sexy just a few weeks after having given birth (this is due to hormones), and they have had no negative effects from acting out on these feelings. However, technically, the recommendation is to wait for six weeks, particularly if she has had stitches or tearing “down below”.
What about Non-Intercourse Sex?
Having sex without intercourse is always acceptable – so long as it is what both partners want. It is a great way to let off steam, for men in particular. Love play and foreplay are all acceptable. Both men and women are able to climax after childbirth, and there is no reason why they should not reach an orgasm.
However, there is significant evidence to suggest men should not perform oral sex on their wives or girlfriends for the first few months after she has given birth. This is because:
• The vagina and the womb could become infected
• The man may, by accident, blow air into the vagina, which can then enter the blood vessels, leading to an air embolism, which is fatal
All other types of play are absolutely acceptable, including fondling with a woman’s breasts. Even if she is breastfeeding, this is not an issue, although the man does have to be aware that it is possible for a woman to “leak”. Also, should she have any soreness or, heaven forbid, mastitis, the breasts become a no go area.
Interestingly enough, it is now quite widely understood that women frequently have orgasms during breastfeeding. This is perfectly normal and is nothing to be embarrassed about. Many women fear it means they have latent sexual feelings towards their child, when it is actually simply a case of nerve endings responding to touch.
Taking Care of a Baby and Sex
One thing that men in particular struggle with is that the baby becomes far more important than them in the life of their partner. A woman would much rather give up on sex after birth and have cuddles with her baby, whereas a man would be more inclined to let the baby “cry it out” for the five minutes they may need to reach sexual gratification. Unfortunately, men can feel pushed away by this, and these feelings can last for a number of years.
Interestingly, some men who have been present at the birth of their child are quite horrified by what they have seen and suddenly struggle to see their partner in a sexual light. This is a very real issue that must be resolved if the relationship is worth saving. Sometimes, these feelings stem from guilt, because they have inflicted this pain on their partner.
The Female Sex Drive after Birth
The majority of women do not feel like having sex for the first couple of weeks after they have given birth. They are exhausted and sore and have different things on their mind. Furthermore, they may be afraid of falling pregnant again, particularly if they had a difficult birth. However, within around three months after giving birth, normal sex drive does seem to return. If not, it is recommended that a woman seeks help from a medical professional.
Resuming Intercourse after Birth
If both you and your partner are ready to have intercourse again, it is important to take it slow. Make sure you use plenty of foreplay and consider using lubrication as well. Try to pick a moment during which the baby is likely to sleep. Make sure you choose a position that allows the woman to be in control, such as side by side or with her on top. This ensures she is comfortable at all times. Men have to be patient and gentle and should never force the issue or even put pressure on their partner. And, of course, never have intercourse after having a baby until contraception has been arranged.