Don't Be Afraid to Talk About Postpartum Sex With Your Doctor, Study Says
It’s the question all new parents want to know: What will sex be like after birth?
A recent study published in the journal Culture, Health and Sexuality documented the good and bad of women’s postpartum sexual experiences, and hopes to educate new moms on what it’s really like to become intimate with their partner again. Most importantly, it calls on doctors to be as transparent as possible when discussing sex with new parents, and for parents to turn to their doctor for any guidance along the way.
Most experts say to wait at least four to six weeks to have sex after baby is born, but it often takes couples much longer than that to get back into the groove. There are a ton of reasons—physically, emotionally and mentally—why women need time to heal before sex, but they’re often unaware of all this themselves.
Common factors getting in the way of sex for new moms include physical discomfort, psychological discomfort, exhaustion and difficulty finding time. Lots of women are nervous to return to sex because of soreness, but very few have discussed it with their providers, the study says.
After having a vaginal birth, doctors say to wait until the cervix, episiotomy/perineal site and any tears heal. Your ob-gyn is usually able to identify if your body is physically ready at the six-week postpartum clinical visit, but 40 percent of women don’t attend their check-up, the report states.
Besides physical pain, there are a lot of other factors at play. While some women fully embrace their bodies after baby, it takes others a little getting used to before they are proud of their amazing postpartum bods. This may psychologically be playing into your sex drive (or lack thereof) without you even realizing it.
That said, you may not have any problems getting back into the swing of things. Some women even experience a stronger sexual arousal after giving birth.
Considering how different each person’s birthing experience is, there can’t be one definitive answer to what it will be like when you and your partner start getting intimate again. Sex is a big part of your relationship, so of course you want to make sure it’s still just as enjoyable, if not more, after baby is born.
The only way to reassure you those new—and in some cases conflicting—feelings you’re going through are normal is to talk to your doctor about postpartum sex.