New parents are often nervous to begin having sex again after the birth of a baby. Sometimes, even when the doctor or midwife gives you the “A-OK” to resume sexual intercourse, you might still feel a bit anxious. Rest assured, it’s really normal to feel apprehensive about this. You’ve both just gone through a huge transition into becoming parents (or adding to your brood), you’re probably exhausted from not getting much sleep at night, and the birthing person’s body has also gone through significant changes. From pregnancy, to the birth itself, and then to the hard work of recovering and healing from said birth, our bodies change–and continue to change. And, postpartum sex might not be high on your priority list. But, you can work with these physical and life changes and still have a lot of fun in the meantime.
It’s okay to take your time in deciding whether you’re both ready for postpartum sex, and it will be more enjoyable if neither partner feels pressured into having sex before they’re really ready. It’s also okay if you decide to wait longer than the typical 6-week moratorium on sex that is advised by midwives and OB-Gyn doctors. However, many parents find that sex can be even better after you’ve had a baby. When you do both feel ready to make sex a priority after baby has joined the family, it’s good to be prepared. Things will likely look and feel different. Here are three tips for making sex after childbirth more comfortable:
4 Tips for Doing It More Comfortably
1. Take it slow and communicate. Start with gentle and slow intimacy, allowing time for your body to adjust. Communication with your partner about any discomfort or concerns is crucial. It will ensure both of you are comfortable and enjoying the experience.
2. Use lubrication. Due to hormonal changes and common vaginal dryness postpartum, using a water-based lubricant can help reduce friction and discomfort during intercourse. It’s important to choose a lubricant that is safe for postpartum use and compatible with any methods of birth control you may be using. These hormonal fluctuations, particularly a decrease in estrogen levels, can affect the natural lubrication produced by the body, making intercourse uncomfortable or even painful. Additionally, factors such as stress, fatigue, breastfeeding, and postpartum healing can contribute to reduced vaginal lubrication. Using a water-based lubricant can help reduce friction and discomfort during sex by providing additional moisture, making the experience more comfortable for both partners. Two lubricants our clients love for postpartum sex are Good Clean Love’s Ultra Sensitive formula and this one from The Natural Love Company.
3. Experiment with different positions. Find positions that alleviate pressure on sensitive areas and accommodate any discomfort or changes in your body postpartum. Positions that allow you to control the depth and pace of penetration, such as side lying or woman-on-top positions, may be more comfortable. Experimenting together can help you discover what works best for both partners.
4. Consider wearing a bra. Those who have lactated before know that leaks happen. Temperature changes, certain fabric textures, sounds and smells of your baby, and–yes– nipple stimulation and sexual arousal can all make the milk flow. If ejecting breastmilk is not part of the experience you’re looking for, then you may want to wear a bra during sex. It will help you avoid leaking at inopportune moments.
Try these out to make postpartum sex more comfortable after baby has debuted and your healthcare professional has given you the green light. The postpartum time is challenging enough. Sex–even after birth–should be fun, comfortable, and bond-building between partners!