Sex After Baby: What They Didn't Tell You

Having a baby is hard work! You carry your child in the womb for about nine months and then endure the struggle that is giving birth. Mothers go through so much to ensure that their child is safe and healthy, but that's everything that they tell you. Your doctor, doula, mother, grandmother, sisters, etc. tell you what to expect when you're expecting. They don't tell you what to expect afterward! What happens after you take your baby home? Your life has changed in so many different ways like being responsible for another human life, but what about your body? It might seem completely different; your hormone level has dropped drastically and to top it all off you still look pregnant.

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The placenta houses all your hormones during pregnancy and so when you expel it, you lose all those hormones. Your estrogen levels drop severely, which can also lead to a drop in your libido. You may not be ready to get intimate with your spouse because you're concentrating on your baby. It's simply exhausting to get used to all the late night/early morning feedings and you're so busy with your newborn that you just don't think about anything else. Thankfully, you don't have to worry about rekindling your sex life, because most doctors ban sex for the next six to eight weeks after giving birth. You need to allow your body to heal after giving birth, so you shouldn't even be thinking about sex — if you have time to think at all — for a month and a half.

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It's hard to even think about having sex again because your body went through such a transformation in less than a year! After birth, your body continues to keep changing because it's trying to get your body back to normal. Most women experience what is called lochia, or you might just call it vaginal discharge. It is made up of blood, bacteria and sloughed-off tissue from the lining of your uterus. For the first couple of days, it will mostly consist of blood and will seem like a heavier version of your period. Every day after that, the lochia will start to peter off, looking more watery and pinkish with less discharge everyday. It usually goes away completely within two to four weeks. Another issue that women face is having problems with lubrication, especially if they are breastfeeding. That is due to your estrogen levels.

OBGYN Dr. Jennie Freiman, says that the lack of vaginal lubrication is called vaginal atrophy. This is completely normal and happens after childbirth, whether you had your baby naturally or by C-section. Your body lacks so much estrogen that your vaginal tissue actually looks similar to the vaginal tissue of menopausal women. Nursing tends to keep estrogen levels down too. There are also other reasons why your estrogen levels might be low, like sleep deprivation, exhaustion and anxiety about your newborn. When you are ready to have sex with your spouse or significant other, be sure to use a water-based lubricant and to go slow.

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There are likely to be other issues that cause you to put off having sex like being self-conscious about how much your body has changed. You might still have stretch marks, healing wounds from giving birth naturally, a C-section scar or maybe you're just sore and tired! Know that it's okay to put it off. It also might be helpful to sit down with your spouse before you have the baby. Have a discussion about the changes that are about to happen to your body: the physical as well as the hormonal changes. After childbirth, women often feel that their baby satisfies their need for intimate contact, while others feel that their sex drive returns rather quickly. It's different for all women, but the important thing is not to rush it. Both you and your spouse should be patient and figure out when is the right time to have sex for both of you.

When you have figured out a good time, taking it slow is ideal. Your body has changed and so your body might respond differently during sex as well. Dr. Freiman recommends planning a night out, a little time away from your baby. Try to get Grandma to babysit while you two have a relaxing time out and rekindle your love life.

Source: Medicine Net