Restoring sεxual intimacy after giving birth—what you need to know

Couple Kissing

Having a baby can be one of the most memorable moments in a woman's life, and can bring about changes that make returning to pre-pregnancy activities difficult.

After many months of pregnancy, and possibly abstinence, most couples are eager to return to their previous level of intimacy. One of the first questions I am asked at the post-partum visit is, "when will it be okay for us to have sεx?" Of course, the answer may vary slightly from woman to woman, but the majority of women are ready at around 4-6 weeks simply because it takes that long for lacerations and tears to heal.

Just because physical wounds are healed, it doesn’t mean that the body is healed and ready to go. Women’s bodies heal at different rates and times and it really makes a difference in hormone balance if the baby is being breastfed or bottle fed. A woman who is breastfeeding has lower estrogen levels and higher prolactin levels to aid the body in making breast milk. It may take longer for her sεxual desire to return.

We all know that men are sensitive and more visual than women so their desire is aroused easily. Unfortunately, it is a little more complicated for women because of the extreme physical changes in their bodies and severe hormone changes. She may not feel attracted to her mate or afraid sεx might hurt. The post-partum visit just could not be more important as all these concerns can be looked into. For instance, the physical exam and pap smear can be used to help alleviate the fear of penile penetration. The skilled clinician can demonstrate to the patient how to use lubrication and pinpoint the area or areas of discomfort and how to manage them.

The post-partum sεxual desire for women depends on much more than genital stimulation and penile penetration. It involves a woman’s self and body image, sεxual desire and motivation as fatigue and care of a newborn can drain away all energy for sεxual play, the ability to set aside the “mommy” role and convert to wife and sεxual partner. The presence of a loving, patient partner goes a long way toward complete healing, and relationship healing for a complete healthy family.
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