What happened to the pelvic floor?
How long to wait to have sex after a baby is a question I get all the time. Every women needs to understand the changes that took place to your pelvic floor. What happened to the pelvic floor? After delivery, whether c-section or vaginal delivery, there is a need to allow the body, pelvic floor muscles and tissues to rest and heal. Let’s not overlook the amazing event that just occurred at the culmination of your pregnancy. Here is a great article on understanding pain your pelvic floor.
When can I return to sex? How long to wait?
Wait until your doctor gives you clearance to return to sex after a baby, usually at the 6 week postpartum visit. You don’t want to have sex after baby to early and you want to be sure to talk with your OBGYN.
What if I return to sex early?
- There could be disruption to the healing of the vaginal tissues in the perineum or the abdominal incision.
- There’s an increased risk for a vaginal infection.
Why you might not feel like having sex after a baby?
- Fatigue. This affects libido, and fatigue is so common postpartum.
- Hormones. Especially if breastfeeding, a drop in estrogen can contribute to vaginal dryness.
- Body Changes. Yes, your body has changed, but this is a time to appreciate your body for all it has been able to do. As well as providing it a time to rest and heal.
What to remember:
Sex after a baby is an important aspect to your relationship, but it’s not the only aspect.Heather Marra, PT
Intimacy can be overlooked during this time. Intimacy can occur during this postpartum period with physical touching, kisses, hugs, encouraging and affectionate words, and a new appreciation for each other. This increased intimacy can help with time lapse before having sex after a baby.
It is a time of transition.
Your body has changed and your roles have now changed as now you have a baby to care for. Celebrate this new chapter, don’t compare it to the past. Learning about each other’s needs, wants and desires can provide time to strengthen the relationship during this time without intercourse.
Important to think about:
Even if your healthcare provider has given you the green light to return to sex after a baby, ask yourself if you are ready physically and psychologically. If you are anxious or fearful, seeking additional help from a professionally trained counselor may be helpful too.
Sexual pain should not be ignored. It can indicate that scar tissue may be contributing to pain. Don’t just push through the pain. Seeing a pelvic floor PT can be helpful to address pain or scar tissue and provide needed treatment to return to enjoyable sex, not just pain-free sex.
Vaginal dryness is common in the postpartum period. Using lubricant can be very helpful. Dryness could be part of the reason for pain. Choosing a safe lubricant is important. It is important to Avoid lubricants that contain harsh chemicals, such as petroleum, glycerin and parabens. One water based lubricant is Slippery Stuff, a brand I recommend.
Returning to enjoyable and pain free sex is often desired, but there may be a few bumps in the road. If you experience some set backs, be sure to discuss with your doctor, mental health therapist or pelvic floor physical therapist. Don’t blame yourself or suffer silently. Support is available.