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Returning To Intimacy After Baby

This can be scary for most moms. Let’s be honest. You grew a human in your belly, aka uterus, which is connected to your cervix which then expands to let the baby out or is cut open to pull the baby out. That may be graphic or hard to hear but birth is real. Both types of deliveries are massive events on a women’s body. Some women have lots of sex during pregnancy, others have very little or none. Whichever category you fall into, thinking about having sex or being intimate after you have just had a human extracted from your body is pretty hard to wrap your head aroundI work with lots of women and some feel inclined to return to sex right away, while others wait years. Some have strong negative feelings or resentment of their partners enhancing their aversion to intercourse. Decreased estrogen levels can vastly affect your sex drive. So there’s that. There are a lot of considerations that affect the desire or “readiness” to jump into the sack. For one, hormones change after you have a baby.If you are breastfeeding you will produce prolactin which suppresses ovulation and decreases estrogen.

For women, estrogen is a sex hormone that assists in vaginal lubrication and desire. Other things that adversely affect the desire to engage in intimacy can be the fact that your body is healing.Healing after birth is a process. Just because you are cleared at 6 to 8 weeks doesn’t mean that you are ready to engage in intercourse. That is simply when your uterus stopped shedding and you are no longer “bleeding.” There is no actual scientific evidence as to why physicians began clearing women for sex and exercise at this time, there has been speculation that the 40 days is Biblically related. Probably because it is when most women stop bleeding by and so they were then deemed “fit or clean” for intercourse. Alison Stuebe, an associate professor of maternal-fetal medicine at UNC Chapel Hill writes “Waiting [40 days] to check in doesn’t make sense,” Stuebe said, a main researcher for the 4th Trimester Project, which aims to shed light on the health of the mother postpartum.

A greenlight from your doc at 6 weeks by no means does this mean that is when you are fully “healed!” This is a benchmark but healing is a continuum. You probably have scar tissue either in your perineum (right where the baby came out of the vaginal canal or across your stomach if you had a birth by cesarean section). Please don’t be fooled, if you had a c-section your pelvic floor is absolutely affected too.There are fascial connections between abdominal fascia and pelvic floor fascia.This means that being cut open in one place can make tightness and pain in another. So having scars can be painful, numbing and irritating and therefore you probably don’t want anyone near them. The last thing you are most likely thinking is that this is an area for pleasure. These scars can also have lots of emotion wrapped up in them. They can be areas of deep routed pain and trauma. Giving birth is not always a picture perfect dream. So to think that one will engage in sex after all these things have happened is actually pretty overwhelming and all these things considered you could have a straight aversion to intimacy.The last thing I wanted to touch on, that may be affecting intimacy after you have a baby, is simply the fact that your whole life is now wrapped up in another’s life.

Typically that life is not your partners life but is your new child. This is the one that most people blame their lack of desire and aversion to intimacy on but as stated earlier there are physical and emotional reasons that play a major factor as well.Women deserve a real chance to heal after baby. Having your scars released, getting your tissue to come back together, restoring normal body movement will allow you to feel more “normal again.” It’s with that sense of feeling normal, that confidence begins to improve and with confidence you can then feel empowered for intercourse and intimacy.


Allison Feldt

Body Motion Physical Therapy

"We Help Women Through Fertility, Pregnancy, Birth, Postpartum and Beyond So They Can Live Active, Confident, Healthy Lives Without The Need For Medication Or Surgery"

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