by Lisa M. Valle, D.O.
Sex after Baby
Feedings? Diaper changes? Utter exhaustion? Sex after a baby could be the furthest thought on your mind. Here is what you need to know…
How soon can I have sex?
Generally, we recommend some time for your body to heal whether you had a vaginal or cesarean delivery. I would advise waiting until your physician or midwife tells you that it would be okay. This is usually around four to six weeks after your delivery. The postpartum bleeding needs to subside and tears and lacerations need to heal.
However, there is an important emotional aspect that needs to be considered. Are you ready? Every woman is different. Some women are ready within a few weeks and others might be ready within a few months. Stress, lack of sleep, and fear are three factors that can also play into your desire to feel ready.
Feeling disconnected with your partner can determine how ready you feel. Realizing that physical intimacy can help with this is one factor that you should take into consideration.
Will it be painful?
It is possible that sex might be uncomfortable and painful initially. It is advisable to take it very slow with lots of foreplay. Lubricants are recommended since vaginal dryness is common when breastfeeding. Communication with your partner is vital. Mindfulness on the moment with your partner can help when you notice your thoughts moving to the baby and life stressors.
What type of Postpartum changes occur?
If you do experience painful sex after your delivery, it is most likely temporary. For most women, it improves between three and six months after your baby is born.
Estrogen levels decrease after delivery and breastfeeding also keeps estrogen levels low which can cause vaginal dryness, decreased libido and pain during sex. Lubricants can help with this.
Oftentimes decreased muscle tone in the vagina can occur that can influence arousal because of the reduced friction during intercourse. This is usually temporary.
If pain with sex is persistent, feel free to contact us for an appointment. There are various treatment modalities that we can use to treat this.
About the author:
As an integrative gynecologist and CEO/owner of Oasis Women’s Sexual Function Center in Santa Monica, I solely focus on female sexual dysfunction concerns such as decreased sex drive, inability/difficulty achieving orgasm, arousal disorders, various sexual pain conditions, vaginismus, vestibulitis, and vulvodynia. I have been in practice for over 12 years and women’s sexual wellness has been a special interest of mine since 2005. I appreciate evidence based practices of both Western and Eastern medicine and strongly believe that each condition needs a holistic, integrated approach to heal optimally.
I was born in Los Angeles, raised in Orange County and attended Loyola Marymount University for undergraduate school. I received my medical degree from Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (now known as Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine). I began the first half of my obstetrics and gynecology training at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, Texas and subsequently transferred and graduated from the University of California, San Francisco, Fresno Medical Education Program.
I am a board certified Diplomate with the American Board of Obstetricians & Gynecologists and a Fellow of the American Congress of Obstetrics & Gynecology. I am also an active Diplomate of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine. Memberships include: International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH), the International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM) and the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine. I have been featured as a medical expert on TLC, the Discovery Health Channel, radio, online and print media.