Having sex after delivery of a new baby can be a challenge for many couples. Most doctors recommend waiting between 4-6 weeks for sex to avoid pain and complications. It seems that most couples follow doctor’s recommendations as only 43% of parents initiate sex before 6 weeks after giving birth, according to a research in postpartum couples.
Welcoming a baby into the family brings a lot of different emotions and changes. Adjustments in the mother’s body, changes in the dynamics of the relationship, upkeep around the house, and new responsibilities are all happening at once. In addition, hormones may cause mood swings. You may also experience the loss of personal autonomy and freedom if this is your first baby.
The study cited above considered factors affecting sex after delivery such as discomfort, frequency, desire, a satisfactory appearance, type of delivery, feeding method, and other life stressors.
62% of women experienced discomfort during sexual relationships at 4 months after the delivery. This number decreased to 16% after a year of giving birth. The discomfort was also attached to lack of satisfaction during sex. For parents who have more than one baby, the time of their first post delivery intercourse happened faster than for those who were first time parents.
Some factors that may influence the lack of satisfaction and discomfort can include pain and vaginal dryness. Knowing this, you can plan ahead that first time after delivery. First –and this is very important, be gentle and careful; ask your wife what is comfortable and what is not; tell your husband if he is going to fast or too slow. Have a lubricant on hand in case it becomes necessary. Be open to stimulate your partner in different ways if penetration is painful.
Frequency of sex is another aspect that tends to change when you have a newborn at home. When there is a baby in the house requiring constant attention and care that translates into a lot of extra work and sleepless nights. In addition, multiple emotions may arise during the process of adopting a new role as a mother and father. The study found that at four months after the delivery, 84% of couples had less frequent sex than before the baby was born. Although the percentage decreased a year later, the frequency of sex was still lower than before the child.
Alternatives to increase the frequency of your sexual intimacy include scheduling time for sex when both of you can be as relaxed as possible. Another option is to incorporate “quickies” in your life. Take advantage of those short times when the baby is asleep and you and your partner still have some energy left.
The same studied shows that 60% of men presented no change in their desire to have sex, in contrast with only 37% of the mothers. This was also associated with 55% of mothers feeling more fatigue than fathers. A surprising finding was the fatigue was the same in mothers that were attending school, working, or staying at home. It is important to remember that intimacy -particularly for women, starts with a good conversation. Women enjoy having their feelings and stories heard and validated. Take 10 minutes when you get home to ask your wife how her day was, let her know what you appreciate about her, and how much you love her. Kissing, touching, holding, hugging should be your approach if your wife enjoys those things. Your wife may surprise you with wanting to be intimate sooner than later.
Satisfaction with appearance
A baby had been carried for quite some time and the body has adjusted to it. It is fair to expect that after childbirth some changes will remain. Weight isn’t the only concern of a mother, there are other outcomes that vary from stretch marks and muscle tone – even wider feet. It is common that mothers are concerned about their new body image and this is supported by the research. At four months after delivery, 70% of mothers were dissatisfied with their body appearance. 39% of these mothers continued having the same feeling 12 months later. Patience and self-love are essential. After all, you just made a human being! Remind yourself every day that you loved and accept yourself as you are.
If you’re a parent, what tips and trick do you have about staying intimate? How do you enjoy sex after delivery of a new baby?