Having sex after giving birth is not as simple as just throwing a leg over (if only it were that easy!). It involves a process that can make the experience less daunting and more comfortable. Here are 11 essential tips to ensure a smoother transition into postpartum intimacy. It’s important to approach this with patience and open communication with your partner.
1. Assessment With Women’s Health Physiotherapist
Before you get hot and heavy under the sheets, it’s necessary to have an assessment with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist (WHPT) at 6 weeks postpartum. This step is crucial because the WHPT will assess and treat your pelvic floor’s scar tissue, pain, and any tension/tightness. This advice applies to both vaginal births and caesarean sections. By seeking this assessment early on, you can address potential issues and ensure a more comfortable and enjoyable experience when you’re ready for sexual intimacy.
2. Scar Tissue Massage
If you experienced a tear or episiotomy during childbirth, doing scar tissue massage is an essential strategy. This massage can help reduce sensitivity and pain in the affected area, allowing for more comfort during touch and, eventually, during sexual activity. Your WHPT will guide you through the process, teaching you the proper technique to perform. By incorporating this practice into your postpartum routine 3 x week, you can gradually reduce pain, sensitivity, and improve confidence in your body.
Click Here To Read: How To Care For Your Perineal Tear Or Episiotomy
3. Wait Until Ready
Take your time and wait until you feel ready. It’s perfectly normal if it takes longer than 6 weeks to feel ready for sexual activity after childbirth. Many women feel this way, so don’t feel alone. There can be numerous reasons as to why you might not be in the mood or feel ready for sex, and it’s essential to honour those feelings. Don’t feel obligated to engage in intimate activities until you genuinely feel comfortable and ready.
Prioritize re-connecting with your partner as a significant step before engaging in sexual activity. Emotional connection plays a key role in fostering intimacy. When we feel connected emotionally, the desire for physical intimacy can naturally follow. Organizing a date night at home is one effective way to rekindle that connection. It allows you to create a special and intimate atmosphere to spend quality time together. By dedicating this time to focus on each other and strengthening your emotional bond, you can enhance your sexual desire.
5. Calm Environment
Create a calm, relaxing environment that helps you unwind and feel at ease. Consider lighting candles, playing soothing music, or implementing other elements that work for you. This relaxing atmosphere can create a more enjoyable and comfortable experience to transition into intimacy.
6. External Touch/Massage
Engaging in external touch and massage is the first step towards physical intimacy. You are likely to feel a lot more relaxed if your partner gives you a back rub or a sensual massage. It allows both of you to re-connect, fostering a sense of trust and comfort in your partner.
7. Belly Breathing
Incorporating belly (diaphragmatic) breathing into your routine can help facilitate pelvic floor relaxation and promote a sense of calmness in your nervous system. You can practice this breathing technique in sidelying while your partner strokes your back. Focus on breathing into your belly rather than your chest, allowing the belly to expand with each breath in and naturally recoil on the breath out. Connect with your breath and your partner’s touch as you do this.
Engaging in foreplay is the next step in the process. Discover what feels good for you and your partner, and prioritize activities that promote natural lubrication. Introducing a clitoral vibrator can add an extra dimension of pleasure and stimulation to the foreplay experience without penetration. Remember to communicate openly with your partner about your desires and preferences, ensuring a mutually enjoyable and satisfying encounter.
Using lubricant is crucial, as postpartum and breastfeeding women commonly experience vaginal dryness. This dryness is a result of reduced oestrogen levels. Lubricant helps alleviate discomfort caused by vaginal dryness, ensuring a smoother and more enjoyable experience for both partners. Prioritize the selection of a high-quality lubricant that suits your needs and preferences, such as Olive and Bee Lubricant.
10. Go Slow
When starting penetrative sex, going slow and gentle is vital. Take control of the speed at which your partner enters, ensuring it aligns with your comfort level. Communicate your needs and preferences throughout the experience. Don’t hesitate to switch positions to find one that feels more comfortable and pleasurable. Explain to your partner that returning to sex is not going to be exactly the same as before baby (yet). Treat it like your first time again.
11. Stop If Painful
If you find that sex is uncomfortable during the first 1-3 times after childbirth, that’s normal. However, if you experience pain (more than 3 out of 10 pain), you should stop and seek assistance from your WHPT. Pushing through pain can lead to an increase in pelvic floor tightness/tension in anticipation of pain, and this can result in a negative feedback loop associated with sex. Thorough assessment and treatment will help to prevent further discomfort or potential complications.
Returning to a satisfying sex life after giving birth is a process that requires open communication, patience, and self-care. By following these 11 essential tips, you can navigate the postpartum period with confidence and rediscover the joy of intimacy. If you need assistance along the way, please don’t hesitate to contact Anna to work with her.