Resuming intimacy after giving birth

After giving birth many women go through a period of adjustment to their "new" body. You may wonder if you will lose the weight you gained during pregnancy and if you will ever get your figure back again. It can be very helpful to see that you are still desired by your partner.

The postpartum period is a good time to explore being close to your partner without sexual intercourse. You both may be eagerly awaiting the opportunity to make love again, and this is an important time to approach each other with tenderness and continued communication.

You may find that you have little or no interest in sexual intercourse immediately following childbirth. When you are ready, you can resume sexual intercourse when your perineum is comfortable, the episiotomy has healed, and the lochia has stopped.

It is common to feel very dry and lack the vaginal lubrication that had been normal for you. This is due to the reduced estrogen after the delivery of the placenta. Prolactin and oxytocin can also interfere with lubrication if you are nursing. It is normal for vaginal dryness to last up to six months. You can apply a water-based vaginal lubricant, such as astroglide or liquid silk, to help make intimacy more pleasurable. If intercourse causes you discomfort, you may want to wait a little longer or find other sexual practices that you and your partner enjoy.

Because there is decreased tone in the perineal muscles you may notice less pleasurable friction during intercourse. You may find that your orgasms are less intense for the first few months. These are normal occurrences after giving birth. To help increase muscle tone, resume your Kegel exercises (perineal tightening) that you learned in childbirth class. Practice Kegel exercises at least 50 times every day, slowly increasing to 100 repetitions.

 

Because you are probably fatigued after giving birth, you may want to experiment with making love in the morning or afternoon, rather than at the end of a day when you are already too tired. If you are breastfeeding, nurse your baby prior to your lovemaking to help extend the time you and your partner have together.

While conception is highly unlikely in the postpartum period, when exclusive breastfeeding, if another pregnancy is not desired at this time, it would be wise to resume the use of contraceptives. Discuss your options with your care provider.

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