1. Being a mom
  2. Adjusting to motherhood
  3. Relationships and sex

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Why does sex hurt after having a baby? 9 reasons to consider

Wondering why you have painful sex after delivery? This is the article to properly answer all your questions and provide suggestions to how you can handle it.

You should understand that your body has gone through a lot during pregnancy and delivery. Most mothers do not even have it on their priority list to get back into bed with their partner. However, giving birth isn’t a reason to break up with your partner.

Of course, if you still feel so maxed out and sore due to the tears and stitches or uninterested due to baby blues or the fear of having a painful experience to deal with, your doctor might tell you to wait it out. Time will come when you no longer feel that way and that for you is the perfect time to have sex again. No matter how raging your emotions can be, doctors advise that you do not have sex during the first  six weeks after delivery. 

You have to gradually get yourself ready. Allow your body to heal. The healing process might take different times for different mothers and your partner might start feeling restless or agitated. Talk to your partner let him know you have to heal for you both to enjoy sex again and let him help you heal. 

After having a baby, a mother’s oxytocin level rises causing the estrogen level to fall. This enables to build the bonding between mother and child.

Therefore, your sex life after having a baby might be put on hold for a few weeks or months due to this overwhelmingly new responsibility. The fall of estrogen level can cause the vagina to be dry causing intercourse to be painful. This is the major reason most women flee from penetrative sex.

Also most doctors advise that since bleeding occurs after delivery, intercourse should be put on hold in order to minimize the bleeding. Vaginal delivery comes with tears, cuts and stitches. A perineum stitch could take a long while of about 4 to 6 weeks to completely heal so your doctor might advise you to stay away from penetrative sex to allow it heal.

Also, having sexual intercourse if your cervix is still dilated can increase your risk of having an infection. Therefore in order not to experience a painful postpartum sex or have a case of an outbreak, give yourself time, allow the stitches to heal before penetration will happen.

The same thing goes for mothers who had their babies through C-section. Just like in vaginal delivery, bleeding also occurs in cesarean delivery. Doctors mostly advise their C-section patients not to rush with sex and let their stitches dissolve to heal completely before they can indulge in sexual activities.

There are different reasons why postpartum sex is a painful experience. Here are 10 reasons you should consider.

If you get episiotomy stitches, the first postpartum intercourse can cause extreme pain and cause more troubles than pleasure. 

This dryness is caused due to the lowered estrogen level in the female body. Not only does it hurt but causes low libido therefore compounding your pain. An estimated 17–36% of women report dyspareunia (painful intercourse) at 6 months postpartum.

It can be managed locally with water-based lubricants and vaginal moisturizers. Low-dose vaginal estrogen can have excellent local effects on vaginal atrophy, with only minimal systemic absorption.

The pain for a female in this category is indescribableю Vaginal delivery and C-section will both leave their scars. Therefore, the pain will double.  

Having a natural tear comes with its own pain but compared to having a cut with a blade, the pain is subtle. Ever cut yourself intentionally with a knife? The pain is nothing compared to cutting open the vagina to allow enough space for your baby to come out. 

After delivery, your vagina becomes a lot loose and so this perineum stitch helps to hold it together and tighter. Now the scar it leaves is sensitive and if care is not taken during penetrative intercourse, it will tear again making your intercourse painful.

After this process you will have some incisions and some stiches on your uterus and in abdomen area. Give them some time to heal before getting back in bed with your partner. 

Breastfeeding can be challenging, particularly for the first-time mother.

You should remember that it can be uncomfortable and even painful. All postpartum patients need breast care, regardless of whether or not they are breastfeeding. Patients usually experience the onset of lactation, engorgement or "letdown" ap- proximately 24 to 72 hours postpartum. When this occurs, the breasts usually become uniformly warmer, firmer, and tender. Patients often complain of pain or warmth in the breasts and may experience fever.

For nonbreastfeeding patients, ice packs, a tight bra, analgesics, and anti-inflammatory medications are useful. Patients who are breastfeeding obtain relief from the breastfeeding itself, although this can lead to its own difficulties, such as tenderness and erosions around the nipple. While protective creams and barriers can help symptomatically for sore nipples/breasts, providers should also assess breastfeeding positions and the infant’s latch onto the breast. If the provider does not have this expertise, refer to the lactation consultant.

Some women may feel depressed, anxious, suffer from the loss of sexual attractiveness. Of course, these emotional issues won't help to make the intercourse a pleasant thing.

Talk to your partner, share his thoughts with him. After all, you're both parents now and should solve the issues together. 

Pregnancy and child birth stresses the bone of the pubic region and sometimes it ends up weakened or injured and so might cause pain during the postpartum intercourse.

It’s a different ball game if you have to avoid sex because of exhaustion, newborn induced distraction or the fact your body is healing. But what you should do if you have to avoid it because it hurts? You definitely cannot keep doing that to your partner forever. Therefore, some of the tips to help you get over this time of your life.

  • Be creative. Find other sex positions that would give you as much satisfaction as vpossible. You can decide to go for oral sex as oral sex after pregnancy won’t get you knocked up again anyway. Anal sex is another way to go if you can’t get enough with oral sex but you have to take care not to cause a tear or damage your butt hole.
  • Master your Kegels. Kegels help to close up and lift the pelvic-floor muscles. Learning to do them in a controlled way will go a long way to help your healing process.
  • Make use of lubrication. Take your time to get into the right mood. if you feel you need more moist than you naturally have, use a lubricant. If it doesn't help, talk to your practicioner.
  • Don't hesitate to say No. Openly discuss your feelings with your partner if for any reason you are on different pages at the moment. 

Good sex is all about communication. Trust your partner, share your emotions and feelings openly. If you have any issues that need closer examination, address your healthcare provider. 


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