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Your Sex Life After Baby

Challenges -- and solutions -- to getting your intimacy back on track.

Postpregnancy Hormones and Sex

Hormones are part of the sex problem, too. Estrogen levels go down after delivery. That can cause a shortage of vaginal lubrication, which can make sex painful or less pleasurable.

A simple solution: Use a topical lubricant during sex.

Experiment with different positions, too -- being on top may allow you more control during penetration, Saltz says.

If a lack of lubrication makes sex hurt, or if sex causes pain for a different reason, explain to your partner that you need to take it slowly. Be sure to discuss the pain with your gynecologist.

Lubrication issues usually go away after you stop breastfeeding or after your period resumes, Ross says.

Hormonal changes after childbirth might also be related to postpartum depression, which can stymie sexual desire. These feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritability, or just having the blues may last for a few weeks or even months.Talk to your doctor if you are having these feelings, especially if they worsen or if you feel hopeless or sad most of the time.

Breastfeeding May Get in the Way

Breastfeeding has many benefits. But it can create several pitfalls when you try to resume your sex life.

Spending tremendous amounts of physical and emotional energy feeding baby may block access to a nursing mom’s sexual mind and body.

“The baby is physically on you, sucking on you, cuddling you - leaving you ‘touched out’ by the end of the day,” Saltz says. Partners often say it leaves them feeling frustrated and left out.

Compassion is just as important as passion. Let your partner bring these feelings out into the open, so you can address them together.

Constant nursing or pumping milk can make your breasts feel so tender you just don’t want to be touched there.

Caressing a nursing woman’s breasts may cause her milk to let down, which can be a turnoff for both partners. Orgasm sometimes can also make milk involuntarily release.

If you’re worried about leakage or tenderness, try keeping your bra on during sex, Ross says.

Body Changes, Inside and Out

During pregnancy, a normal-weight mother typically puts on about 25-35 pounds. It can take a while to shed those extra pounds after the baby is born. Add on newly acquired stretch marks and a fresh scar if you’ve had a c-section, and it’s no wonder so many women say they feel self-conscious, turned off, and even depressed about their new body.

If you’re not feeling so hot about how you look, your partner's positive feedback can go a long way.

“You’d be surprised how many people say they still find you quite sexy. That’s what I usually hear,” Saltz tells WebMD.

Enlist your mate’s help in working toward your body goals. For example, you can ask for a half hour to exercise while they watch baby, or for more support in preparing healthy meals.

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