Sex after pregnancy

There are no hard and fast rules of when to start have sex after giving birth. As the baby passes through the cervix and the vagina, the skin and entrance to vagina stretches and there might be tears. These tears are repaired by stitches which heal within a few days of weeks. The women after giving birth may experience wider vaginas, dryness, soreness or pain.

 

Wider vaginas: The vagina may feel wider due to childbirth. This is normal. It may also feel swollen and bruised. All of this will subside with time. It is recommended to the pelvic exercises this will help to tone the vaginal wall and pelvic floor muscles. This will also help prevent incontinence and increases the vaginal firmness. Sex may also feel better. You may not find time to dedicate to do the exercises however such exercises can be done whilst washing the dishes and ironing! The pelvic floor exercises can be done this way:

 

  • Squeeze and draw your anus at the same time and close up and draw your vagina upwards
  • Do it quickly, tightening and releasing the muscles immediately.
  • Then do it slowly, holding the contractions for as long as you can (for approximately 10 seconds) before you relax.
  • Repeat each exercise 10 times, 4 to 6 times a day.

 

Dryness in the vagina: Due to low oestrogen level the vagina may be dryer. For mothers that are breastfeeding the hormone levels are lower and the symptoms may be more pronounced. Once breastfeeding stops, hormone level return to normal and the symptoms may alleviate themselves. If dryness becomes a problem talk to your gynaecologist or midwife or else use water-based lubricants as oil-based products can cause a lot of problems. It is important to talk to one’s partner about the situation to create an understanding environment at home.

 

Soreness and stitches in the perineum: if tears occurred and stitches were done, it is normal to feel uncomfortable and even pain in the perineum. You can talk to your doctor or midwife on possible ways to alleviate the discomfort or pain especially if you are breastfeeding. Change the sanitary pads regularly and always keep your hands clean before and after.

 

Pain during sex: DO not rush to have sex after having a baby as it might be uncomfortable or even hurt. You may also feel less interested in having sex as you might be over-tired with carrying for your baby and the rest of the family. Talk to your partner and share this experience with him/her. You are in this together. Partners may be also tired as much as you are and may be baffled at how they are going to approach the sex subject. You may also feel loved and happier in other close intimate ways such as kissing, hugging, mutual masturbation or oral sex. In the case of the mother one should first explore with the hands to reassure oneself that pain or discomfort is not present. This helps both the mother and partner to relax together and focus on each other. If you decide to have sex, try to choose the woman on top position in order to control the rate and depth of penetration. Take your time however if symptoms persist consult your midwife or doctor.

 

Careful: Choose a method of contraception appropriate for you if you do not want to get pregnant so soon, if you are not breastfeeding and your periods have not started yet. If you have a suspicion of a Sexually Acquired Infection get yourself and your partner checked as soon as possible. Looking after a baby can be a very demanding so rest when you can and look after yourself by eating well and drinking a lot of fluids.