Sex and intimacy after birth can be different and even a bit of a daunting process. While there is no set amount of time to wait after giving birth to have sex, it is recommended to wait 6 weeks and until all your vaginal bleeding has stopped. Most general practitioner, midwifes and obstetricians will give you the ‘all clear’ at your 6-week check-up, however it may be longer in some circumstances.
- Think about contraception:
There is a misconception that you are unable to fall pregnant in the early period following birth and or even when you are breastfeeding. This is not the case!! Speak to your general practitioner, midwife, or obstetrician about the most appropriate contraception for you.
- Use lubricant!!
The change in your oestrogen levels following birth and when breastfeeding can leave your vaginal tissues and walls a little drier than they normally are. This can cause discomfort, pain, and irritation of the area. A lubricant with an oil or water base is best – you can even use coconut or olive oil from your pantry.
- Be in control of the speed and depth of penetration:
Being on top is a great position for the first time returning to sex. This will help your pelvic floor relax and help you if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort.
- Communicate with your partner:
Continue to speak to your partner if you are or not ready for sex. Intimacy in the early post-natal period may not be penetrative intercourse, and may involve other actions such as kissing, hugging or even massage. It is important that you are physically, emotionally, and mentally ready to return to sex after having a baby and this is something important to speak to your partner about.
- Seek help if something does not feel right:
Things will feel a little bit different down there and during intercourse compared to pre-birth, and this may take some time to return to normal. Muscular strength, tone and sensation can change after vagina birth and can remain this way for some time, however in most circumstances it will return. However, if you are experiencing pain, discomfort or difficulty returning to intercourse, be sure to chat to your health professional as there are many tips and tricks and treatment strategies to help you.