15 Tips for successful postpartum sex

15 Tips for successful postpartum sex

It’s no secret that having a baby can change your body and your sex life—but that doesn’t mean all the changes are bad. Here are some great tips for great sex after your new baby arrives.

1. Wait until you get the green light—From your doctor or midwife, that is. When you were discharged from the hospital, you were probably told to wait six weeks, so wait! And if at your postpartum check-up you are told you are not yet healed enough for sex, you should listen to that, too. Your body needs to recover after giving birth, whether it was a vaginal or Cesarean birth.

2. Wait until you are ready—On the flip side, if your doctor says you are all cleared for sex but you don’t feel up to it quite yet, don’t let anyone pressure you to do it. You need to feel ready, both mentally and physically, and when that occurs varies from woman to woman.

3. Use birth control—Unless you meet the strict criteria for lactational amenorrhea, you should plan on using birth control if you don’t want to become pregnant again. Yes, you can get pregnant before your first period after having a baby, so be prepared! Talk with your doctor or midwife after you deliver or at your postpartum visit to see what method is right for you.

4. Make sure baby is taken care of—Do whatever makes you feel comfortable to ensure your baby is fine so you can give all your attention to the task at hand. For some, that means leaving the baby monitor on, and for others it means shutting it off temporarily so they can fully focus. If you are breastfeeding, nursing your baby before you have sex can help your breasts feel more comfortable during the act.

5. Consider wearing a bra—Speaking of breasts, it is normal for them to be larger and feel more sensitive, especially if you are nursing. Leaking milk also commonly happens during orgasm. Some new moms wear a supportive bra to address these issues.

6. Set low expectations—You may start to have sex the first time only to stop because it hurts too much or you are scared. Or maybe your baby decides to wake up right when you are in the middle of things. Whatever the case may be, realize that overblown expectations put more stress on everyone involved. Setting the bar (temporarily) low will keep you from fixating on not having the “perfect” sex life right away.

7. Speak up if it hurts—Don’t grin and bear it for your partner’s sake or because you feel guilty that he hasn’t been able to have sex since your baby’s been born. If it hurts, say so.

8. Use lube if needed—Vaginal dryness is common after having a baby thanks to the drastic drop in estrogen levels, and this is more pronounced in women who breastfeed. This can make sex painful. Be sure to allow time for adequate foreplay, and use a lubricant if you need it.

9. Try different positions—Again, if it hurts, say something. Trial and error may be needed to find a comfortable position at first.

10. Get creative—You may need to creatively sneak in sex during nap times, or have sex other than in the bedroom if that is where your baby sleeps. Use this as an opportunity to think outside the box!

11. Stop criticizing yourself—You shouldn’t expect your body to look exactly like it did before you had a baby if your little one is only 6 weeks old. Go easy on yourself, and realize you just brought a new life into the world! If you are self-conscious, keep a shirt on or dim the lights, but realize you are probably being too hard on yourself. 

12. Keep a sense of humor—Breast milk may squirt across the room, you may pass gas, and your partner may be too afraid to hurt you to do much of anything. Laughing will help you realize the humor in these situations and make you fully realize that you are parents now!

13. Understand it will get better—This might be the most important tip. Just like you had no idea what you were doing with your baby when he or she first arrived, the same can be said for postpartum sex. Keeping open lines of communication mixed in with some humor and spontaneity can really help you keep things in perspective.

14. If at first you don’t succeed…

Try again. Things happen. The baby might wake up or you may find that despite an attempt you just aren’t ready. Go easy on yourself. Everyone’s timeline for sex after giving birth is different. Talk to your partner about your concerns and remember that there are plenty of other ways to “maintain intimacy” and show your partner affection.

15. Have some towels on standby

If you are breastfeeding there is a possibility for some leakage. Having towels nearby can help you quickly clean up any spills. Nursing or pumping beforehand can also help. Another solution is to skip the bedroom and, as one reader suggested, head for the shower.

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