Five facts to note before getting intimate after delivery - Evewoman

Between The Sheets

What should you know before getting intimate after giving birth

In those fraught days, weeks and months following your baby's arrival , you learn how to cope without many of the things you used to enjoy, pre-baby. And you do so willingly because, frazzling and emotional as it can be, it's nevertheless a really special time.

Besides, who needs eight hours sleep, anyway? But as time passes and you get into the rhythm of parenting, you may start to think about having sex again.

No new parent - especially a mum - could be blamed for deliberating on this matter, but what are the exact guidelines?

The answer is as subjective as each parent is different, but there are some facts you should know - even if they're not easy to hear.

Sex after giving birth - the facts

1. The first time might not feel great

Even of vaginal trauma was kept to a minimum, your postpartum hormones can still pay havoc with you "down there".

"The assumption is that the pain is from the trauma of delivery, which it definitely can be, but it also has to do with low levels of estrogen that affect the elasticity of the vaginal tissues," Rebecca Booth, M.D., a Louisville, Kentucky, gynecologist and author of The Venus Week tells Fit Pregnancy.

"When a woman is nursing, especially in the beginning, the decrease in estrogen combined with high prolactin and oxytocin levels can mimic menopause for the first two to three months," she continues.

"Think night sweats, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and often pain."

2. If you had a vaginal delivery

Sarah McMullen, head of knowledge at parenting charity NCT, told The Sun it depends on both what sort of birth the mum had and on when she feels ready. "There isn't really a right or wrong answer here, it's very personal," she says. "But general recommendations are to wait until having your GP check after six weeks , just to make sure that everything has healed properly and that mum is feeling OK and ready. "Having said that, you might have got the OK from your GP and you might not feel ready."

The NCT also advise waiting until postpartum bleeding has stopped (often between 10–14 days, but it can continue for several weeks). This is because your uterus is still healing and therefore there's a possibility of infection. If you had a vaginal birth and had an episiotomy or a tear, while the stitches take around 10 days to dissolve, you'll be feeling sore and it can be two weeks for the healing process to begin.

The NCT advises: "If you do have stitches, you may want to try positions that limit penetration or reduce the pressure on the stitched area and remember to take it slowly and gently when you feel ready for sex." A natural birth with no tearing or cut may mean you feel readier earlier to have sex, but you should nevertheless take it easy.

3. If you had a C-section or an episiotomy

For mums who have a c-section or episiotomy, the scar should have healed by the time the stitches are removed. Try and find positions which don't put pressure on it. Even six weeks later, you may still be experiencing discomfort, in which case an over-the-counter, water-based vaginal lubricant can help.

4. Bear in mind there are several reasons you may not feel ready at 6 weeks

So the general advice is to wait six weeks. But your hormones won't return to normal till about 12 weeks after giving birth when you start menstruating again. This in itself will impact how you feel. Then consider th fact you'll be fatigued AND also "cuddled out" (it's a thing) from holding your newborn for a lot of the time.

But above all, take your time and wait until you're ready.

5. Use lube

We touched on this earlier, but it's important to be open to the idea of using lube post-baby. But as Rachel Needle, a licensed psychologist and executive director at the Whole Health Psychological Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, tells Parents: "Breastfeeding can reduce estrogen, thus leading to vaginal dryness."

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