Sex might be the furthest thing from your mind as you now have to look after a newborn that likes to wake every 2 to 3 hours to feed, leading to very little sleep during the night and then being too tired in the morning to even take a shower. So when your husband/partner reaches over and wants to get intimate you just want to turn over and go to sleep. You might be wondering “Will having sex be painful after giving birth, vaginally or post c-section?” and “What is the right amount of time to give yourself until having sex again after you’ve had a baby?”
Regardless of whether you’re ready to have sex shortly after birth or take more than the often thrown around 6 weeks, know that there is no real set amount of time to give yourself; and know that it may take a few times of discomfort until it begins to feel normal again.
Not only are you healing from childbirth, your estrogen hormone levels are not may be lower (especially if you are breastfeeding), which means your natural lubrication is not there leaving you more dry than you would like. Low levels of estrogen also cause the vaginal walls to be thinner than normal, which is another cause for discomfort. With all of these factors in mind, you as a woman know your body best, how much time you need to heal, and when you feel ready. There is nothing wrong with waiting until your postpartum follow up with your doctor to go over all these concerns.
If you don’t ask your doctor about postpartum sex, they may ask you if you have already had sex and how it was; don’t be afraid to tell the truth if it was uncomfortable or painful. If sex after your baby is born is painful, your doctor may advise you to wait for another week or more before trying again. If you continue to have sex while it is painful for you, you could begin to associate pain with sex. This can then create more problems down the road emotionally and physically for not just yourself, but your partner too.
Let’s discuss your partner, someone who did not go through the physical part of birth:
They may feel anxious to get busy again. This is where you will need all your strength to stand your ground, if you truly do not feel ready. Be honest with both yourself and your partner, have an open conversation with them about how you are feeling and tell them that you would really appreciate their patience. They will not understand how you are feeling unless you tell them. Your body went through, and is still going through, a lot of changes both physically and emotionally; only you know your body best.
Check out Part 2 of my guest blog where I will discuss my top 5 tips on how to ease into postpartum sex and some on other ways you and your partner can be intimate without having sex.
Author Michelle Wagner is a Calgary Labour Doula and Postpartum Doula available for hire through Chinook City Doulas.