09:26 09 June 2009
How different will things be when you get down to 'it' after the birth? And how soon can you expect to return to your usual sex life? This article also appears on www.bbc.co.uk/parenting/having_a_baby
That depends on you and your partner as individuals. It's normal not to feel much like having sex for the first weeks, at least, and to approach it all gently and tentatively for a while.
Perfectly understandable things might make sex seem like a big step. For instance:
If you just let things happen, stay close to your partner emotionally, and remain patient, you'll probably resume your sex life gradually " without it becoming a major issue.
At first, you may need a lubricant if you are nervous about stitches or tears. If sex hurts despite the use of a lubricant, you still may not have quite healed. Any infection can be cleared up with a visit to your doctor.
The vagina usually returns to its former shape very well, and there's normally no difference to be aware of. If you have concerns, though, speak with your health professional.
If breastfeeding, your breasts may feel a little tender at first. Sexual arousal can cause milk to leak. If this is something that you or your partner find off-putting, perhaps try and feed your baby before you make love. This should help reduce the leakage!
"...tiredness is the biggest dampener on libido..."
Remember to discuss your feelings together and to take things as fast or as slow as you want. If you find you are still not interested after a few months, and it worries either of you, take the time to talk about it. You may want to have a word with your doctor if it continues.
Tiredness is the biggest dampener on libido, and you may find you need to 'schedule' time to spend together, be close and make love. Choose times when you are less likely to be sleepy. Afternoons at the weekend can be a good time " if your baby naps then. You know your baby's routine " try and 'schedule' your sex life accordingly!
If you are sharing a sexual relationship with your partner straight away after the birth and you don't want to become pregnant again, remember to use contraception. Just because you've just had a baby doesn't mean you can't immediately become pregnant with another. People have been known to turn up to their six-week check-up, pregnant!
If you don't fancy sex don't feel pressured to have it! Lots of women go off sex for a while after giving birth. Make sure you discuss it with your partner and be sensitive to each other's needs. Perhaps share a massage together. Even if you just hug one other, the closeness you shared can still be there.
"I wondered at one point how second babies ever got conceived. If one of us was up for it, the other was too tired to even think about it. We had to make the time, in the end, and not let this part of our relationship drift... and it was worth it!"
You've just become a new dad with all its up and downs and you may be wondering when you and your partner will share the intimacy you had before the baby arrived. Remember to discuss your feelings with your partner, who may also be wondering the same thing!
It's important to talk together, be as understanding and accommodating as possible, and spend time together as a couple. If penetrative sex is not viable you can still pleasure each other in different ways.
Obviously, post-birth you will both have more on your minds than just each other. If your baby sleeps in your room you may feel more comfortable having sex somewhere else or if you move the baby out of your room.
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