Have Sex Again After Having a Baby—Really!
Everyone's experience (and timing) with post-baby nookie is unique. Whether you jump in right in or wait a while longer, these tips will help you find your way back to frisky, whenever you're ready to go there.
Take Your Time
“It usually takes about six weeks for the vagina and pelvic organs to return to close to their pre-pregnancy state,” explains Dr. Lissa Rankin, an OB-GYN and mom of one in San Francisco and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist if She Was Your Best Friend. “If there was a tear, episiotomy, or C-section, six weeks is when we expect complete healing.”
For some moms, even that can feel way too soon. “Most of us are exhausted, leaking from multiple body parts, and far too busy keeping this very small, vulnerable person alive to even think about sex,” says Jenna McCarthy, a mom of two in Santa Barbara, California, and author of The Parent Trip: From High Heels and Parties to Highchairs and Potties. “And frankly, raging hormones and ravaged nether-regions aren’t generally conspiring to make a gal feel her sexy best.” Meanwhile, your sex drive may be taking a permanent detour for quite some time. “Which isn’t to say you can’t have or won’t enjoy sex. You just might need some (OK, a lot) of extra warming up,” McCarthy says. “But if what you really crave is a nap, that’s OK, too.”
Tip: Have Great Sex (Even With Yourself)
“A celibate mommy is not a happy one,” says Dr. Rankin. If you’re feeling a hint of a spark, but are still a little weirded out by your post-delivery lady parts, “do some exploring solo.”
One Word: Foreplay
Everything down there tends to be on the dry side the first weeks and months post-baby, especially for women who are breastfeeding. “Foreplay gives the body time to naturally lubricate the vagina,” notes Dr. Hilda Hutcherson, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. “With more arousal, natural lubrication and blood flow are increased in the whole area, increasing the chance that the sex will be pleasurable.” More foreplay equals more fun for you, so take your sweet time in the heavy petting zone (and remind him to).
One More Word: Lube
“Even if you think you’re fine, and especially in those first few times after delivery, use a lubricant to reduce friction and pressure,” says Dr. Hutcherson. “I personally love natural coconut oil,” adds Dr. Rankin, “but don’t blame me if you find yourself jonesing for a post-coital macaroon!” If lubricant doesn’t do the job, talk to your doctor about prescribing an estrogen cream, like Estring®, which can produce more natural moisture; it’s not known to affect milk production.
Tune Out the Baby
“Luckily for me, my husband was so mentally scarred by watching the birth that my body had plenty of time to heal and rest before he had any desire to fool around!” jokes Kristabel Hibbard, a mom of one in Enid, Oklahoma. “Seriously, by the time I had energy for hanky-panky, too, the baby was on a more predictable sleep schedule, allowing us a good chunk of time to ourselves. We quickly learned to keep the baby monitor turned down—little hiccups and grunts are not the ideal background soundtrack for this particular activity!”
Tip: Take It from the Top
“The position that I recommend for women who’ve just had a baby is woman on top, which gives you total control of depth, speed, everything,” says Dr. Hutcherson. “If things aren’t feeling so great, you can stop. When he’s in control, it can be like a runaway locomotive!”
Keep Up Your Kegels
“Kegel exercises help the vagina bounce back faster in terms of tone, which increases pleasure for you,” explains Dr. Hutcherson. If you did Kegels throughout pregnancy keep at it, squeezing the muscles that stop the flow of urine whenever you think of it throughout the day. If you’re not already in the habit, start! “The beauty of Kegels is that you can do them anytime and anywhere,” says Dr. Hutcherson, “whether you’re standing in the shower, waiting in a grocery line, or just about to fall asleep at night.”
Tip: Kick the Granny Panties to the Curb
After you have the baby, “get some sassy lingerie,” says Dr. Rankin. Even if you’re not ready to have sex, “you’ll know it’s there, and it will remind you that your mojo is always with you!”
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