Pregnancy comes with plenty of physical and emotional changes. For most couples, sex drives decreases during the 3rd trimester as the belly grows big making it difficult to practice comfortable sex positions. Most women also tend to feel unattractive around this time, hence the reduced sex drive. The postnatal period is therefore a period awaited with bated breath for many couples looking forward to get back to their normal sexual life. But when this time comes, most couples find themselves battling with questions such as: when is it safe to start having sex again?; when will my sex drive come back?; what should I look out for?; and are there any tips to help me get through this period?
The question of the ideal time to begin having sex after birth is a very relative one. Besides the fact that we are all different, there is really no set time by when one should aim to start having sex again. A number of women wait till after the 6th week. This gives time for the reproductive organs to regain their physical strength and for vaginal soreness and wounds, such tears, lacerations and episiotomies, to heal. One thing that is important to bear in mind is that the bleeding from your birth canal (lochia) ought to have stopped by the time you begin to have sex again. The lochia usually takes about 3 weeks to clear and indicates that the wound left by the placenta is healed. Having sex before the lochia clears may lead to infection and should therefore be avoided. Your physical and emotional status should also be your key indicators of when you are ready to restart having sex. Ensure that both you and your partner are ready for it before you get to it.
There are a number of reasons that can lead to low sexual drive during the postnatal period. For some women, the thrill of having a new baby and the new responsibility that comes with it takes priority. For others, factors such as fatigue, soreness, hormonal imbalance and fear of pain may keep them away from considering it. In some cases, postnatal depression may cause reduced sexual drive too. Also, some women feel physically unattractive due to the physical changes that come with pregnancy and childbirth. However, all these disappear with time. The soreness may be among the first discomforts to disappear while the pain around the stitches may take a while. It is important that you allow your wound to heal and the stitches to dissolve before you can have sex. If you find you still feel uncomfortable even after the stitches are out, you and your partner could try finding more comfortable sexual positions. Preparing well emotionally and physically for the sex will also go a long way to make both you and your partner enjoy it.
If it turns out that you are not interested in sex at all, don't panic! Wait till you are ready. Remember your colleagues experience may not be applicable to your situation. We are all different and our bodies respond differently to different situations. However, there are a couple of things you could try. There are a lot of things you and your partner could do to remain intimate. For instance, you and your partner could try to create time to be together more often. Even a few minutes in between the baby’s short naps will help enhance your bond. Keep communication going by texting and calling as often as you can during the day. Communication should not be entirely about the baby. Try balancing it out such that it includes you and your spouse as well as the baby. Take time to go through pictures or other items that hold sweet memories of you and your spouse. You could also try re-live some memorable moments. If time passes and you find that none of this helps, seek help from your healthcare provider.
It may or may not take time for you and your spouse to get to where you were before as far as sexual pleasure is concerned. More often than not, both of you will need to put some effort to it to ensure it gets to the level you want it to be. Anxiety kills the excitement and reduces the lubrication necessary to reduce friction in the vagina. Talk to your spouse about your fears and how you prefer to go about dealing with them. A good place to begin is by rediscovering each other all over again. Gradually ease into the sexual mood by just cuddling and snuggling together. Take time to enjoy each others bodies and don't expect too much out of each other.
When you finally feel ready, take things slow and find the most comfortable position for you. For those who are breastfeeding, it is not uncommon to find that your vagina is a little dry for sex. Use a lubricant to ease the dryness. A lubricant will also come in handy if you feel sensitive around the perineal area. Since not all lubricants are safe to use in the perineal area, ask your healthcare provider to recommend one for you. If you feel uncomfortable at any one time, do not be afraid to ask your spouse to stop for a while. You can always go back once you have worked out what caused the discomfort.
In most cases, your ability to enjoy sex becomes affected when you are too tired. If you are having sex when your baby is awake and needing your attention, you are likely to get distracted and hence not enjoy. Plan your day such that you have quality time for your baby and for your spouse too. For instance, you could plan to have sex in between your baby’s naps. Ensure the baby is well fed and comfortable to avoid distractions. If you have anxieties or fears that could be leading to your low sex drive, talk to your doctor and find out the best way to handle them.
Remember you are unique and you will therefore have a unique experience. After delivery, there are a number of things that need to get back in shape before you can begin to have sex again. Once you are physically and emotionally ready, your body will let you know. Listen carefully to the signals your body gives you and do not forget to seek help when you are in doubt.
Attribution: Avallain Ltd