Let’s jump right into it… Sex after baby! Yes, I was told I could experience “some discomfort”… Some discomfort? Are you kidding me? More like excruciating pain!
It’s a secret we mamas keep to ourselves. WHY? Is it because this topic is still taboo, even after you’ve just had a baby? Or are we scared to frazzle our new sisters joining the mamahood? Is intimacy and a pleasurable sex life not important to woman, especially moms? How could no one have prepared me for what was to come? I remember feeling completely caught off guard; not sure if what I was experiencing was normal… Should we stop? Go on? Why doesn’t it feel “right”? Will it ever get better or be the same as before?
Sex after baby is a HUGE challenge every single time and I definitely feel we fellow moms need to speak up. Not to overshare or “talk out of the bedroom” but rather to help and encourage new moms going through the same thing also unsure and overwhelmed by this unexpected postnatal extra.
After my c-section I knew things would be different. We were told to wait 6 weeks and that’s it. Is seemed reasonable. At my 6 week check up my Gynecologist gave me the thumbs up and told me to make sure we bought a big tube of lubricant before attempting to get intimate. This should have been my 1st clue, right?
I knew that the placenta left a huge wound in my uterus and that it obviously needed time to heal. I did however think that as soon as the bleeding (lochia) subsided everything would be back to normal. Having just had mayor surgery could prolong my recovery with my stitches being sensitive, swollen and sore at times but this is all normal. We were prepared for “discomfort”, KY at hand. Discomfort however, is the biggest understatement of the century. Sex after baby is painful. And not just the 1st time. It stays painful for weeks, even months! To be honest it would be easier to just forget about it all together.
Currently we are 7 months post c-section (for a 3rd time) and now I feel “discomfort”. It was painful all the way up until our little baby started solids (as was the case with both our other girls too). I know this seems like an awfully long time, but don’t be alarmed. It is actually all normal, especially for woman who choose to breastfeed.
I exclusively breastfed for the 1st 5-6 months and sex was painful during that entire time. God is very clever in design,making sure mothers tend to their young above all else after birth. As soon as your baby is born, oestrogen levels fall while prolactin (the special ingredient needed to produce breast milk) rises. This new cocktail of hormones taking over your body has some side effects directly influencing intimacy.
The fall in oestrogen causes the vaginal wall to become thinner, less elastic, inflamed and much more prone to injury. Less blood flow to your “fun bits” also mean dryness, itching, burning, irritation and PAINFUL intercourse.
Will I ever enjoy sex after baby?
The good news is things do get better (otherwise the entire world population would stick to only having one kid – we’d be extinct). The bad news, it will take time and I can’t tell you exactly how long. It differs for each woman. For me it is painful until baby starts solids, then “discomforting” until about that 1st birthday celebration.
Usually only then do things usually start feeling normal again.
What to do?
- KY is your best friend and no matter how long you have for foreplay (which we all know can’t be very long with a young baby), still insist on using it. That being said, don’t skip foreplay, quickies will have to wait, it’s just not worth the pain – trust me!
- Communication is more important than ever. Having a wife that would rather jump out the window than get under the covers, must be hard on husbands. Always be honest and open about how you are feeling and when you are ready to make love. As longs as your Mr Perfect knows you still love him (not just your new little cutie), and that you still want to be with him he’ll get where you’re coming from.
- Kegels are still key. I’ll admit, I hate doing kegels. They seem useless but research shows that strengthening your pelvic floor will tone all those important muscles stained during pregnancy and child-birth. This in turn helps eleviate painful intercourse. Find out how to do kegels correctly and visit the “Today’s Parent” site by clicking here.
- Never try to rush things. It really is a normal response due to hormones. All moms will experience this on some level and there isn’t much to do about it. As your body adjusts in due time, so will your sex life.
- On the plus side painful intercourse is a great motivation to explore other, forgotten ways to be intimate. Kiss and cuddle more. Make an effort to touch each other in a loving way, even if it’s just in a brief passing by. Be playful and naughty like during those early dating days when it was almost impossible to keep your hands to yourself.
PHOTO CREDIT | Anje-Ilana Nel from Madison and West.