- So, when can we have sex again?
The world did some serious mental maths when mid-Superbowl, Rihanna revealed she was pregnant with second child within a year of having her first. Whilst the pop superstar revealed it was a surprise, it’s important to remember that there is no pressure or recommended timeframe for getting it on again. Whilst there are no hard and fast rules on when you should be having penetrative sex again, it’s best to wait at least six weeks to give your body time to heal, either from the general strain of giving birth or recovering from vaginal tears.
You might be raring to go - and if so, good on you! If you’re feeling a little more trepidation, the key thing is for you and your partner to take your time. Focus on foreplay without the pressure to go ‘all the way’, and work your way up to penetration, if that’s what you enjoy.
You might find you/your partner experience vaginal dryness, due to the fluctuating hormones as your body adjusts to not being pregnant. We’re advocates of a good, water-based natural lubricant at any, and all, occasions, and especially postpartum. Make sure to check the ingredients list and avoid any formulas which include glycerine or tingling gels, as they can irritate delicate vaginal tissues and even cause yeast infections.
- What contraception do we need?
As you hold your brand new baby, sex might be the last thing on your mind… but it pays to plan ahead. Not everyone knows that you can actually get pregnant just a few weeks after giving birth, before the return of your period, and even if you’re breastfeeding. So much of the pregnancy journey revolves around preparing for the arrival of your baby - and very little about preparing for post-birth pleasure. It’s important to have the conversation around contraception choice before baby arrives, so you have all the necessary essentials on hand. Condoms are an ideal choice as they not only protect against pregnancy, and STIs, when used correctly, but also help protect the sensitive vaginal tissue from infection as it recovers. Top tip: avoid harsh spermicides as these can also leave you with nasty, sore souvenirs.
- Why has my libido dropped?
Desire naturally fluctuates throughout our lives, thanks to everything from stress to medication. You might find that your libido naturally drops or disappears in the months after giving birth, partly due to the sudden drop in oestrogen post-pregnancy. Breastfeeding can also contribute to desire loss, as oxytocin (also known as the ‘love’ or ‘bonding’ hormone) produced during this process can replace the urge to connect through sex. Ensure you’re eating the rainbow, getting as much rest as possible (tricky, we know - we’ve been there!) and even exploring natural libido-boosting supplements to ensure your body is in the best place possible for pleasure.
- I’m not sure how I feel about sex?
Parents in our community have pinpointed guilt or awkwardness about having sex or masturbating with a baby in the room, or seeing themselves in a sexual sense when their body’s primary focus has been nurturing their child for nine months. Navigating your changing body, and differences in sex itself, can also be challenging. You’re not alone! Psychosexual Therapist Dr Kate Moyle specialises in helping those who are struggling with their sex lives, and has a deep dive into these very topics.
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