Monday, January 26, 2015

What to Expect: Postpartum Sex

Before our baby was born, sex was part of my daily routine, even throughout the pregnancy. As something important to myself and my husband, we were anxious to know when things get back to normal – at least in that regard.

Everywhere I read, people said: six weeks. If you feel like it, earlier is okay.

I felt like this was a little dodgy. I would have been okay with sex – at least emotionally – the day after labour. Physically, no, but if it was supposed to be determined by whether or not I felt like sex, it should be safe.


My husband, thinking that a week or a few days earlier would be fine, asked my lactation consultant what she recommended. She said twelve weeks would be ideal; the body takes awhile to heal. Even though the usual recommendation is six weeks, she said some women are still bleeding by that point, and that means you risk infection. I expected my husband to protest, after she left, but instead he said: “I can wait twelve weeks if that's best for you.”

So we did. And, I must say, I did need that time. Even now, I can still feel that my body isn't fully recovered, but waiting that long gave me the time to prepare my body and my mind.

Would I recommend waiting longer? Not really – unless yours is a special case of extended recovery or your husband isn't interested. Husbands really need that connection, and you having it again is also healthy for you. It is something that the two of you share that the baby doesn't have a part of (though the little one may interrupt), and it is something from the life before baby that can reassure you that not everything changed. It's a little normalcy.

What should you expect, post-baby?

Expect a little pain. If you wait twelve weeks, you can avoid a lot of pain. It's not like virgin sex, though it is similar to the feeling of having sex when you're too dry. Use lots of lube and take things slowly.

Don't get angry if the baby interrupts. Some people say to hire a babysitter, but many of us won't take that step. Pick a time when your baby is settled for awhile and go for it. If you're interrupted, take care of the baby and try again.

Don't focus on how it feels different, because it probably doesn't feel as different as you think; it's been too long for you to remember that many details. Let it be new and different – something to rediscover.

Don't over think it. Talk about it with your spouse – before, during, and after the act. This will ease tension, letting you talk through your fears and what you're feeling. Don't expect it to be full speed right away. Make an effort to please your husband – it will take your mind off yourself, which is the point anyway.

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