It’s quite safe to have sex with your partner after the birth – after all, how do second babies ever get conceived? But the question is when…and that depends on individual factors.
Most women really don’t feel much like sex for the first few weeks after the birth, especially when they are still experiencing the discharge that comes for at least 10 days to a fortnight after the birth. There’s no ‘right’ time when you ‘ought’ to feel like it again. That goes for men and women, by the way. Surveys show that we all vary in our level of keenness, but most people have at least had a go by the time of the six-week check – though it may have been a bit tentative.
Parents who are tired from broken nights, women who’ve had a difficult birth and feel bruised and battered by it, men still getting used to the whole idea of being a dad – all of them might find sex just isn’t that high on the agenda. Babies who have unpredictable sleeping and waking habits may not give you much of chance to get things together, anyway.
Stay in close physical touch with your partner, though, and you’ll probably find things start to happen for you without really trying.
If things feel uncomfortable, be patient and gentle with each other at first. You may want to use a lubricant to help you. If sex actually hurts, it may be a sign that there’s an infection present. Another possible cause of pain is a problem with stitches if you have had an episiotomy (a cut in the perineum). If you suspect either of these possibilities, ask your doctor for a check. In a few cases, the episiotomy needs to be repaired again. Antibiotics can usually deal with infection.
Sex usually feels more or less exactly the same as before to both men and women. The body returns to its ‘pre-pregnant state’ amazingly well.
Your breasts may feel a little tender for a few weeks whether or not you’re breastfeeding, but this soon passes. A few women experience leaking of milk during sexual arousal. If this bothers you or your partner, feed the baby before you make love – it’s a good way to ensure no interruptions from the baby, if he then goes to sleep.
So – give yourselves time to get back to your previous sex life; take things slowly, if you prefer, and stay close with lots of cuddles and caresses if you don’t want to have full intercourse yet; see your doctor if you find sex is painful.