After having a baby, there are a million questions you need answers to. Breastmilk or formula? Is co-sleeping really that bad? Where in the name of Baby Einstein did I leave my coffee? Your life has officially changed forever. For many parents, the most burning question becomes, when can we reclaim our sexuality and get back in the sack?
But seriously, what is going to happen when I’m ready to have sex after birth?
Childbirth, vaginal or surgical, significantly alters the body and mind. It’s normal to wonder when or if you’re ever going to get it on again. Sex after a baby can be terrifying. Everything seems to have shifted, and you may not even know where to start. It may seem impossible now, but you can have thrilling and fulfilling sex after birth. Here’s what you need to know when you’re ready to get back to what got you here in the first place.
What to Expect The First Time You Have Sex After Childbirth
It’s going to be awkward. Laugh through it. If you don’t like it, say something and try it differently.
Leaking Boobs. The good news: there are cute nursing bras out there if you’re not comfortable letting it flow… yet.
Vaginal Dryness. After birth and while breastfeeding your body will have a harder time getting and staying wet. It’s your hormones, not your desire. Find a lube that you like and use it!
How Long After Giving Birth Can I Have Sex?
At least six weeks.
After six weeks, your OBGYN will asses the situation and ask you how things are going. Based on that appointment, you’re either cleared to hit the sheets or prescribed a few more weeks of celibacy before engaging in postpartum sex.
Do not put anything in your vagina after delivery until your doctor gives you the go ahead. You are particularly susceptible to infection and further tissue damage after giving birth and do not want to be dealing with a vaginal infection when you finally understand what colic is.
Things like stitches, a slowly closing cervix or C-section sutures may prolong your abstinence, but that’s OK. You either pushed a human out of your body with only your uterus and vagina or had major abdominal surgery. Take as much time as you need to heal. Your body will thank you with enjoyable, pain-free sex when you’re ready.
What is Having Sex for the First Time After Birth Like?
Think about it like losing your virginity: it’s good to not expect too much from it, and even better to just get it over with. Except for this time, you’ve got the advantage of knowing how to give yourself an orgasm if things don’t go as planned. And, like losing your virginity, it’s a passage into a whole new world of sexual exploration.
Delivery is no joke. Your reproductive organs have really been through a lot. Even if you’ve been cleared by your doctor you may not want to, “go all the way.” That’s OK. If you’re nervous about the pain, have performance anxiety or are just terrified for your partner to see what happened down there, start out with masturbation. Grab your favorite vibrator and practice.
Getting comfortable with your new body is the fastest way to orgasm. It can give you a gauge of what you’re ready for and what you’re not. When you bring your partner into the mix, you can let them know what to expect. After getting comfortable on your own, the first time having partnered sex after childbirth will be enjoyable for both parties. It will be pretty awkward, but whose first time isn’t?
Healing from childbirth is a long process. Sex after birth may be a little painful, like having sex for the first time painful, but it should not hurt. The trauma inflicted on the vaginal muscles during delivery and wild hormone fluctuation cause acute sensitivity. Be prepared to use lube. Temporary burning sensations and uncomfortable tightness can be expected upon first penetration. Get. More. Lube. If you’ve healed, are ready to have sex and penetration is still very painful, schedule an appointment with your OB ASAP. There may be something else going on.
You may start fooling around and find you’re not ready for penetration quite yet. That’s OK too. There are many other ways to enjoy sex. Plenty of foreplay and clitoral stimulation can get the blood pumping and bring you to orgasm. Using sex toys to play with one another or even just starting slow with oral can help get you to your happy place. No penetration necessary.
Will My Vagina Ever Go Back to Normal?
The swelling will subside and your pelvic floor muscles will return to their former glory. It may take longer than you expect, but it will eventually go back to the vagina you know and love. Especially if you take care of yourself. Kegel exercises can help to strengthen those hard-working muscles. And once you’re back to feeling yourself, you can go ahead and get some real work in with these.
What are the Best Sex Positions After Pregnancy?
Whatever feels best.
It’s probably good to start with some JV moves the first few times having sex after delivery, but take it as it goes and sees what feels best. Missionary and woman-on-top are safe places to start because you can control the pace and depth of penetration. For those days when you’re both extremely exhausted, spooning can be sensual, relaxing and invigorating all at the same time. Start with the basics. Switch it up when you’re ready.
The thing about sex after a having a baby is that you only get so much time to get down in a given day or week, and in some cases, months – scary, I know, but it does get better. You want to make sure that the sex you’re having recharges you and makes you feel human again. Especially if it’s just a quickie in the pantry. Infants take a lot out of you and put a lot of strain on a relationship. If you and your partner can really connect and excite each other when you’re alone, you’ll find that co-parenting is that much easier. As time goes by, you won’t even be worrying about what position you’re in as long a the baby stays asleep and you’re reaching climax.
Will I Get Pregnant?
After the child you’ve incubated for the past few months has made its way into this reality, your hormones are going absolutely crazy. There is a chance that you may get pregnant if you’re having unprotected sex. Only your body can decide when it begins ovulating again. If you really don’t want to get pregnant, looking into your birth control options is a must.
At your six-week postpartum appointment figure out what you want to do. There are options that are safe for breastfeeding mothers and even ones you don’t have to remember every day. And guess what, condoms work if you use them right! Ask your doctor which option may be best for you.
Note: Breastfeeding can decrease your chances of conceiving, but it doesn’t eliminate the odds. If you don’t think you’re ready to go through this again in another nine months, wrap it up.
Can I Use Sex Toys?
Just make sure that they’re clean and body safe! You’re dealing with a lot of changes as your vagina returns to normal. Any shift in pH due to bacteria or sketchy materials can bring on yeast and bacterial infections. Neither of which should be the reason you wake up every few hours.
Sex toys are one of the best ways to get back to business after you’ve had a baby. If you want to test drive yourself before inviting your partner back into the room, using sex toys can show you that you are capable of orgasm. Staying playful and using sex toys can also help you redefine and reinforce your partnership after such a life-changing ordeal.
What are the Best Sex Toys for Women Who Have Just Given Birth?
Bullet vibrators are great for women who have just been cleared for sex after childbirth. Designed for clitoral stimulation, these types of vibrators are perfect for initial exploration.
Is Sex Ever Going to Be the Same Again?
No, but that’s not a bad thing. You can make it better.
Being confident in your sexuality and relearning your body after you have had a baby can be an amazing experience. It can awaken new thrills inside you and can help you reconnect with your partner. Keep having fun, keep trying new things and keep your lines of communication open. It’s not easy being new parents. You may have to be OK with scheduled sex for a while or even forego it for longer than expected. You’ve got a new life to care for, but don’t forget about each other. Have fun when you get the chance!