There are so many things that change after you have a baby, and sex is one of them. Your body is healing, your lifestyle has probably changed drastically, and your view of sex may have shifted. These are all normal changes, and inevitably they can impact your sex life in many new, exciting, and sometimes awkward ways. How sex changes after having a baby is completely unique to each individual person, but there are some universals to be aware of.
Most doctors will give you the green light to have sex at around four to six weeks to promote healing, according to Live Science. Penetrative sex before then can be risky because of the chance of infection. (You're not even supposed to put a tampon up your vagina during that time frame, so it makes sense.) Some women have to wait longer than this period because of possible delivery trauma or hormonal fluctuations as explained in the same article.
Basically, when you're ready you're ready. But before you get your freak on again, you may want to be aware of the changes that might occur. And remember, not all changes are bad. Here are nine ways sex can change post baby.
1. Your Sex Drive May Vary
According to Parents, your hormones are fluctuating like crazy after having a baby, and if you're breastfeeding your estrogen levels are super low. This reduction of estrogen, as explained in the article, can cause vaginal dryness. You also have low levels or prolactin if you're breastfeeding and, according to Healthy Women, that also causes a reduction in sexual desire.
Add in the severe exhaustion of taking care of a newborn and feeling like you're "touched out," and you've probably got low libido. Heck, your tank for everything might be low. Thankfully, this is all normal and probably temporary. There's no reason to rush back into sex if you're not ready.
2. You May Feel Different Things During Intercourse
Maybe you've had some vaginal trauma during pregnancy and delivery like tearing or a C-section, or maybe your vagina just feels different after having a baby due to stretching. These are all normal feelings and nothing to be concerned about.
According to What To Expect, hormonal shifts that cause vaginal dryness after having a baby and breastfeeding, may also be contributing to sex feeling a little off and the solution may be a tube of lube. Lubrication can go a long way to make up for some discomfort. If you really are in pain, waiting until you're fully healed is totally an option and nothing to be ashamed of.
3. You May Need To Explore New Positions
What felt good pre-baby might not feel so hot post baby, but you're in luck because there are so many sex positions out there. Women's Health noted that positions that put you in control will probably work best, as you can control speed, level of penetration, and comfort. If you feel like penetration is too much for you, but you still want to feel pleasure with your partner, oral sex or side-by-side masturbation is always a good option.
4. Your Boobs Might Be Sore And Leaky
If you're nursing, or just recently weaned, your boobs may leak during sex as explained in the aforementioned What To Expect post. The same hormones that are released during an orgasm are the same ones released while you're breastfeeding which could result in a squirt fest in the bedroom. This is nothing to be embarrassed about and if you're worried about the mess, just keep a towel nearby.
5. You May Have Trouble Finding Time To Have Sex
Between feedings, diaper changes, and all of that laundry (seriously, so much laundry) you might find that finding time to have sex post baby is tricky. There are a few things you can do to fit in sex with a newborn around if you're feeling up to it. According to Baby Center, you can start thinking about sex outside of the bedroom. If your baby is napping in a bassinet or crib in your bedroom, move to the couch or the floor of another room. The post also recommended that couples not care if their infant is in the same room while they get it on. They have no clue what's going on so just go for it. Also nap time is a great time to get it on if you're feeling in the mood.
6. Your Sex Sessions May Change Times
The amount of time you used to dedicate to sex might change because to be honest, you probably have way more responsibilities than before. This is where quickies can come into play.
"Quickies are like a delicious junk food snack. They are a fun quick treat they can round out a full and varied sex life," Dr. Jenn Mann, author of The Relationship Fix, tells Romper. "It is important for couples to know how to make love, how to have sex and how to do it like animals. Quickies are a great way to add to the variety of a great sex life, and a great way to sneak in some lovin' when you don't have a lot of time."
7. Your Body Might Feel And Look Different
After having a baby your body will no doubt look and feel different. Pregnancy stretches and changes your body in so many physiological ways that are outwardly visible, and underneath the skin.
You may find that weeks after delivery you still look six months pregnant, which is totally normal. According to the previous What To Expect post, it takes two months or more for your uterus to go back to pre pregnancy size. Some women also develop stretch marks, scars, and even bigger feet. All of these changes might make you feel self conscious of your new body, but accepting these changes will be key to feeling sexy again.
I personally feel like the area below my C-section scar never went back to the way it was previously. As much as it used to frustrate me, I've learned to be kinder to myself because that's what housing a baby and surgery does to a body. It changes it, and that's OK.
8. You May Look At Intimacy Differently
You do not need to have sex with your partner to be intimate with them. There are so many ways to create closeness and have affection that have nothing to do with sex. According to Healthy Women, you can explore intimacy with your partner through non-sexual touching like hand holding, or you can do a fun activity together like a paint or dance class. Simply talking to your partner about their day, their dreams, and the future can create closeness. If these things lead to sex, cool. If not, that's great too.
9. You Will Learn About All Types Of Birth Control
If you're trying to space out your kids a certain way and are in a heterosexual relationship, you may be looking at birth control in a new way than before. According to Baby Center, there are less permanent birth control methods like condoms (male and female ones), diaphragms, and cervical caps. For a hormonal option that's good for breastfeeding moms or other women who can't take estrogen is the mini pill. As explained in the post, the mini pill releases a small amount of progestin and you can take it right after delivery or after you get your milk supply established.
If you want this to be your last child, you can opt for more permanent methods of birth control like a vasectomy or tubal ligation, both of which reduce the chance of pregnancy, according to Web MD.
Either way, the conversation surrounding birth control is bound to come up after you have a baby and your response may vary depending on your sex life and future family planning goals.
The key to navigating these sex changes after having a baby is being open and honest with your partner and with yourself. Be kind to yourself and understand that you've just been through a whole lot. Ideally, your partner should be really understanding to everything you're going through, but if they're not, a frank talk and a call to a sex therapist may be in order.