After the Baby's Born
Post-pregnancy can be an awkward time for a couple.
What's Normal? continued...
There are health reasons for not engaging in sex too soon. "The biggest
risk of postpartum sex, particularly too soon, is infection," according to
Robin Weiss, the pregnancy guide at About.com. Bleeding is normal for up to six
weeks. First-time intercourse can increase bleeding, and it's not a reason for
alarm. If bleeding persists beyond six weeks, though, it would be best to
consult a health care professional.
Intercourse after childbirth can be quite painful. If the woman has had an
episiotomy or laceration, there may be discomfort for weeks or even months
after the stitches have healed.
Resume your sex life slowly, possibly with cuddling and petting, oral sex,
or mutual masturbation, but not with penetration. Many couples wait until well
after the recommended time to resume sex.
Keep a lubricant handy, since the decrease in estrogen after childbirth can
reduce vaginal lubrication.
Experiment. Side-to-side or woman-on-top positions allow more control of
penetration and put less pressure on parts of the body that may be healing. If
soreness persists, you might ask your practitioner to prescribe an estrogen
cream to lessen pain and tenderness.
Do not expect orgasms the first time you have sex after delivery. Some women
don't have orgasms for weeks after childbirth, even if they were highly
Try to spend some quality time alone with your partner regularly, even if
for only 15 minutes at a time.
Communicate. If either of you feels strange, scared, or sore, tell your
partner. Keep a sense of humor and don't expect too much -- there is always
Remember that even if you're breast-feeding you'll need a good form of
contraception. Ask your health care provider's advice.
Although most couples find this a demanding time, they also ultimately find
it very rewarding. Keep your expectations realistic, and it can be a time of
renewed intimacy and pleasure.