Sex is the highest level of intimacy in any relationship. This can be challenged by the addition of a new family member. Despite the blessing of having a bundle of joy around, the couple’s sex life can deteriorate. The unfortunate truth is, pregnancy, delivery, and motherhood have a significant effect on women’s sexual well-being. With the several challenges experienced after delivery, how is a woman meant to get back in the saddle, and when is the right time to ‘gerrit’?
The thought of sex after childbirth can be nerve-racking. One determinant of women’s sexual health are hormones which play a vital role in post-delivery recovery and a return to usual sexual activity. After birth, estrogen drops to pre-pregnancy levels; if breastfeeding, estrogen levels are even lower. Low levels result in vaginal dryness as this hormone necessitates vaginal lubrication. This dry tissue can result in irritation and bleeding. Sexual issues arising with after delivery can include:
- Loss of elasticity in vaginal tissue if one has vaginal birth. Some women experience low self-esteem as most believe in the myth that their vaginal muscles may never get back to their pre-delivery size
- Perineal tear or episiotomy that occurs during delivery. Engaging in sexual activity before its healing can result in postpartum hemorrhage and uterine infections
- Bleeding before the uterus heals
- Low libido
Sometimes the desire to avert conflict may arise from lack of intimacy, and the need to ‘prevent’ your partner from having philandering ways has prompted several women to engage in sex before being medically safe. Doctors recommend that women engage in sex six weeks after delivery. However, they need to get the green light from their doctor. Regardless of the go-ahead, fatigue, postpartum depression, baby blues, breastfeeding and the physical impact of childbirth can challenge the resumption process.
Considering both parties should enjoy this form of intimacy, patience, understanding, and support from the husbands are required. Also, continually reassuring your woman can help boost her confidence. The act of lovemaking may not feel good at first, but it does get better with time.
Tips to enjoying post-natal sex:
- Be patient- try intimate activities like spending time together to warm up to the idea of sex
- Increase foreplay to aid your reproductive system release natural lubricants
- Use a water-based lubricant to counter vaginal dryness
- Reassure your woman about her vaginal muscles as this is of great concern to her
- Adopt comfortable positions that favor the woman
- Do kegel exercises to help tighten the muscles as well as manage incontinence
- Be intentional with sex. You can have a schedule on when to engage in the activity, maybe when the baby is asleep
- Understand your libido
- Communicate with your partner about any concerns you may be having and when you feel is the right time to have sex
- Adjust your expectations – intercourse may not feel great in the beginning, so have no expectations
- Ladies Look after yourself- instead of focussing on pleasing your partner, take your time till you are ready because you ought to enjoy it as well
As you focus on nurturing your baby, your relationship with your spouse also needs to thrive. Balancing it can be quite a task, but having a supportive spouse and family can make it easier. If only you take a day at a time, embrace the healing process and believe in yourself, then you are ready to get your freak on.