Does Having Sex Postpartum Decrease Your Milk Supply? The Two Are Connected
Getting back to bedroom activity after having a baby can bring up a mixture of emotions. There is the excitement of reconnecting physically with your partner. There is also the fear: fear of pain, fear of awkwardness, and fear of how it will affect your breastfeeding. All of these are valid, especially the ladder. After all, both acts stimulate and suppress certain hormones in your body. So does having sex postpartum decrease your milk supply? It's a possibility, but not one that would necessarily make you abstain from sex completely.
For starters, you have to consider your birth control. According to Kelly Mom, breastfeeding mothers who are taking contraception containing estrogen should be especially cautious. This is because, according to La Leche League International, high levels of estrogen can suppress milk production. Not exactly what you want when you're trying to feed a baby your liquid gold, right?
An alternative birth control pill for sexually active postpartum moms is progestin-only pills, though there are anecdotal reports of some women experiencing decreased milk supply while on these pills. If you do notice a decreased milk supply while on this type of birth control, know that modifications can always be made. The best advice is to talk with your healthcare provider to try one that works best for you and your situation. Also, there are condoms if you're not allergic.
If you're not taking an estrogen-heavy birth control, it makes you wonder if the act of sex alone can cause a woman's supply to decrease. Indirectly, yes. ? The answer is - it's possible. I found plenty of anecdotal stories of women in online threads stating that they think sex decreased their milk supply, but nothing scientifically definitive. In a search for answers, I reached out to and asked what she thought. "I have never heard this, but I do know that stress can inhibit milk supply," Leigh Anne O'Connor, an international board certified lactation consultant, tells Romper. "I am not saying that sex is stressful, but I do know that some women feel conflicted about their bodies postpartum."
To be clear — this is only a theory. But I think back to my own postpartum days, and remember my own feelings surrounding sex and my body. It was very complicated and yes, at times, stressful. "It can be hard to find the balance of being a sexual person and a mom," O'Connor says. "Breasts are both nurturing, reproductive organs as well as a sexual part of our body. I imagine this anecdotal information you are hearing is a result of this internal stress."
If you notice a direct correlation between a decrease in your milk supply and frequency of sex, it's certainly not uncommon. But before you say no to sex forever, consider there could be other factors at play here. The best advice is to consult with a doctor or lactation consultant. They'll be able to help you identify any possible issues with your supply. Additionally, an expert will be able to support your emotional and sexual health while you figure it all out.