There’s no doubt about it; the idea of sex after pregnancy can be a daunting one for both mums and dads. A lot has changed since you and your partner got busy trying for a baby, but maybe not as much as you think. You’re still two adults, hopefully very much in love, and jumping into parenthood together.
If you’re worried what your love life will be like with a baby on board, you’re certainly not alone. Knowing how to make that first move back to sex after pregnancy is something every couple deals with. Some may get straight back on the horse (did someone say reverse cowgirl?) while others need to take their time. No matter which side of the bed you land on, there’s no picture-perfect relationship to aim for. It's all about finding what works for you.
So whether you’re mentally preparing for life after your bundle is born or have already welcomed them into the world, here’s what you need to know about being passionate parents.
undressing your concerns
If you’re keen to get busy in the bedroom but aren’t sure if it’s safe, fret not. As is the case with intimacy while expecting, you are definitely allowed (if not encouraged!) to enjoy sex after pregnancy. The only time to avoid some fun between the sheets is when mum is still experiencing post-birth bleeding. Known as ‘lochia’ and lasting between two to six weeks, having sex before it has stopped can increase the risk of catching an infection. So be patient. Waiting also gives mum’s body time to start healing which should make those intimate moments more comfortable.
But perhaps both of you are simply not in the mood, and that’s normal too. Whether you’re adjusting to your post-pregnancy body or replaying what you saw in the delivery room, your libido may be non-existent. Rest assured, it’s not lost in the bundles of baby clothes! Your desire for sex after pregnancy will come back. And when it does, you might be wondering what it will be like. Will it feel different or hurt? Will there be more wiggle room “down there”?
The answer to both is probably yes, and it’s not surprising. Exhaustion and mucky clothes aren’t the only side effects to having a baby. Even mums who had a C-section can feel a little loose and drier than usual thanks to those pregnancy hormones. So while it may be painful at first and feel a little different, don’t be put off. You mums may even enjoy it more than you think, especially if a few Kegels have tightened your pelvic floor! With a little bit of understanding between couples (and perhaps some lubrication), sex after pregnancy can be really pleasurable.
how to switch off and be turned on
When it comes to parenting, there’s no 9-5 option! Looking after a newborn is a round-the-clock commitment and being a parent can change your relationship. With sleepless nights and endless nappy changes, it can be hard to remember that you’re more than a feeding and cleaning machine. That’s why sex after pregnancy is so important.
Being intimate with your partner, even when you’ve forgotten the real meaning of sleep, can help you feel human again. It’s time to be more than mum or dad and to reconnect. You’ll have less time for date nights, and romantic meals for two might go on the backburner for a bit. But you don’t need to book ahead or fiddle with the car seats for a quickie in the bedroom! Or the living room. Or anywhere that takes your fancy really. You get the idea.
When you decide you’re both ready to be intimate again, start slow. Remember foreplay? It’s that thing you had time for before you had children! When your little one is down for a post-feed nap, grab the opportunity to get a little cosy. Rekindle that flame with compliments, caresses and kisses as you move at your own pace. If that means more conversations than Kamasutra, don’t feel pressured to perform. Sometimes the best way to get things going in the bedroom is to start the bonding elsewhere. Talk lots, support one another and find your own way to have fun.
contraception after birth
While you’re surely enamoured with your new addition, you may not be ready for round two right away. That’s where contraception comes in. For breastfeeding mums, levels of oestrogen are likely to be low which can suppress ovulation but it’s not foolproof. And even if you’ve not had a period yet, you can still get pregnant. That’s because your body releases an egg 12 to 14 days earlier in your cycle, meaning you could be fertile sooner than you think!
So what are your options for postnatal contraception? Perhaps the simplest solution is to avoid taking any risks. Accidents can happen, especially in the heat of the moment, and the pull-out technique is less than reliable! That’s why the easiest method for many couples is condoms which you can use as soon as the mood takes you.
Other contraceptives are more one-sided. Short-term options like the pill, and long-term options including the coil and progestogen injection, can only be used at certain times after birth. Their suitability can also be affected by how you choose to feed your little one. The best way to find the right birth control for you is to speak to your midwife or GP. After all, a little protection goes a long way to giving you peace of mind as you enjoy yourselves.
the truth about sex after pregnancy
If you want the truth about sex after pregnancy, here it is…it’s great! But not always straight away and not for every couple. There’s no “normal” sex life so don’t worry if your friends are getting busy while you’re still fully clothed. Whether your libido takes a little coaxing or bounces right back, being a parent shouldn’t mean losing the passion. Intimacy in any form is important, but sex got you into this so why not enjoy it afterwards too!
So, when you’re not busy being a parent or grabbing a few moments of peace, spare a thought for your sex drive. Refuel it with intimate moments, be honest with each other about how you feel and enjoy going where the mood takes you. If that’s to the bedroom, all the better!