How Childbirth Affects Your Sexual Health (and What You Can Do About It)

After giving birth, it may feel like you’ll never return to sex. That’s far from the truth — but you must honor your own timeline. In this article, Dr. Sumedha Dalvi of Purple Lotus Aesthetics in Fayetteville, North Carolina, discusses sex after pregnancy, and what you can do if things don’t feel right. 

What is sex like after pregnancy?

It’s important to know that postpartum sexual intercourse is different for everyone. Some women have no issues, while other women experience pain, and still others experience emotional discomfort. Some women experience multiple forms of discomfort — for instance, physical pain, self-consciousness, and dissatisfaction — all at once. 

Some other scenarios or emotions you may experience when it comes to sex after pregnancy include: 

This is completely normal, and you must understand that nothing is wrong with you if sex doesn’t feel good or fun. In fact, for many women, sex is the last thing on their mind after giving birth. And that’s okay! Your partner should understand and give you your space until you feel ready. 

When can I start having sex again after giving birth?

Ultimately, your postpartum sex timeline is up to you. Your doctor probably recommends that you wait at least 4-6 weeks after giving birth to resume sexual activity. Those few weeks give your body ample time to heal, and can prevent many of the post-childbirth sex mishaps you may be worrying about. 

For example, waiting six weeks can reduce any vaginal laxity that childbirth caused, and it may be enough time for negative emotions to pass. But if you feel ready after two weeks — and you’re certain you don’t have any reproductive injuries that could be exacerbated by sex — talk to your partner about resuming sex earlier. 

What can I do if my sex life isn’t the same after childbirth?

First things first: Understand that it’s normal to feel differently about sex after giving birth, and try to let go of any feelings of inadequacy or low self-esteem. Changes to your body and mindset aren’t your fault. 

When you’re ready to resume sexual activity and find that things just don’t work the same, you have a multitude of options to consider. Here are just a few: 

Take pain-relieving steps before and after sex. You’d be surprised at how effective some simple actions can be for relieving sex-related pain. Before having sex, make sure to empty your bladder to ease unecessary pressure. You may also want to take an over-the-counter pain reliever about 30 minutes prior to sexual activity if you anticipate pain. 

After sex, try taking a warm bath to relax and ease pain. If you experience any burning, applying a cold compress to the pain site can help temporarily numb the area until the pain subsides. Just don’t apply ice directly to skin — wrap ice in a thin cloth or towel.

Use lubricant. Many women experience vaginal dryness after giving birth. If you’re struggling with dryness, there’s no shame in using lubricant. In fact, lubricant can make sexual intercourse more pleasurable even if dryness isn’t an issue. 

Try out alternatives. You may be interested in sexual intimacy, but not sexual intercourse — there’s definitely a difference. You don’t need to engage in intercourse to maintain a healthy sex life after childbirth. Experiment with other intimate activities, such as oral sex or sensual massage.

Practice Kegel exercises. During childbirth, your vaginal muscles may stretch or tear, which can cause vaginal laxity. To promote healing and help your vaginal walls return to normal, practice Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor. 

Consider professional treatment. If none of the above work, it may be time to seek professional help. At Purple Lotus Aesthetics, our sexual health specialists offer a suite of services for maintaining a healthy and fun sex life. One such service is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. 

PRP therapy uses a concentrated form of your own blood to promote healing of your body tissues. Growth factors, a special type of protein, stimulate tissue repair and new tissue growth, which can solve many of the problems women experience after childbirth. PRP therapy may help with: 

Additionally, Dr. Dalvi can perform sexual health screenings to make sure everything seems healthy. 

To learn more about PRP therapy for improving your sex life, or to get a sexual health screening, contact Purple Lotus Aesthetics today. Call our Fayetteville, North Carolina, office at 910-208-6069 or book your appointment online

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