Let's Talk About Sex: Postpartum Sex talk with Dr. HANX
Sex may not be at the forefront of your mind when you've just had a baby, but someday in the future, we promise you'll want to get back into the bedroom (and not just because you’re longing to sleep)!
We spoke to the Dr. in the house at HANX who design the sleekest condoms for women we’ve seen, to ask those niggling questions we all have about postpartum sex…
When can I start having sex again after giving birth?
There is no hard and fast rule about when to have sex again after birth, and it varies from person to person with a whole load of influencing factors. These include your age, general fitness, mode of delivery (vaginal, instrumental or caesarean) and personal preference.
As a rule of thumb, four to six weeks after delivery is about the right time to wait before having sex. Around half of all couples start having sex again within 8 weeks after giving birth.
The risk of having a complication after delivery is highest during the first couple of weeks after delivery, and after six weeks your body is not deemed “post-partum” so hormones return to near normal and your body has recovered from child-birth.
Although you will also be super busy with your newborn, it’s important to make time for you and your partner too!
What if I feel the desire to have sex before then?
If you’re psychologically ready for sex before you are physically, then there are ways to satisfy this without going for penetrative sex.
Kissing, cuddling, touching and massage can help you feel close to your partner. Then when you do decide to try sex again, it will feel like a natural next step. Oral sex is a good way to ease back in, and some couples find sex toys can help too. Just remember to be gentle on your body and make sure you’re emotionally and physically ready.
It is important to communicate with your partner and not rush things. You should feel comfortable and not pressurised to have sex
Sex doesn't feel the same after giving birth - pain and dryness are killing my mojo, what is the cause?
There are many things that could be causing this, and often emotional and psychological factors play a huge part.
Feeling pain, and having a tight or dry vagina are the main worries for new mums, with most resolving within a few months. Around 20% of women continue to have painful sex up to a year after giving birth, and there is a lot of support out there is you’re struggling. Initially, your midwife will help and may refer you to a specialist physiotherapist if needed. Emotional issues, including postnatal depression can also affect sex, and health professionals such as your GP midwife or health visitor can offer advice and support with this. It is important to remember you’re not alone.
It is also worth noting that your hormones are all over the place and can take a while to normalise to pre-pregnancy status especially if you’re breastfeeding. These reproductive hormones can affect vaginal dryness, so make sure to use lubrication and keep well hydrated!
We're not trying for another baby just yet (or never again!), what are my options for contraception?
There are many options for contraception. If you’re looking for a permanent form, there is male and female sterilisation. It is important to note these are non-reversible on the NHS, and although some private clinical over reversing operations they are not always successful. It is also worth noting that male sterilisation is a safer procedure, with fewer complications, less anaesthetic risks and a more effective contraceptive rate.
Otherwise, there are many long-acting contraceptives, such as:
The implant, coil, and injection, all of which need careful consideration. See our blog on the contraceptive methods for more detailed information.
Of course, if you’re keen to not use any external hormones or long-acting options for contraception, condoms are a good and safe option. HANX are kind to women’s bodies too, with no nasty chemicals, made from all natural and vegan latex, we are ultra-thin and clean scented too.
I’m breastfeeding, will this affect the contraceptive method I use?
If you are exclusively breastfeeding, this can be used as a form of natural contraception known as lactational amenorrhoea method.
However, it is still possible to get pregnant as little as 3 weeks after delivery, even if you're breastfeeding and your periods haven't started again.
You're unlikely to have periods if you breastfeed exclusively, and your baby is less than 6 months old. However, if your baby if over 6 months, they are eating anything other than breast milk (formula milk, solid foods etc), you start bleeding again (even if just spotting), you stop night feeding or there are longer times between feeds, it's important to start using another form of contraception.
I just don't feel sexy anymore since giving birth, Do you have any tips to help me get back in the zone?
Make sure you take time for you! See friends, get your hair done, book a massage, or head to the gym. These little things make all a difference.
Buy something you feel sexy in, go on a date night, relax with your partner, and make sure you tell them how you feel too.
And most importantly, top any negative thoughts you have about not feeling sexy. After all, you have just done something truly amazing by bringing a new life into the world! So keep the positive affirmations coming :)
Note: Ladies, if you have any pressing concerns regarding intimacy or how you’re recovering it’s a good idea to speak to your GP, look after You!