Painful Sex After Delivery
Painful sex after delivery may affect nearly a third of women in the first year after they give birth, a new study suggests. Once their child is born and the difficult challenges of pregnancy are behind them, many couples look forward to having a normal sex life again. Nearly nine in 10 women experience pain the first time they have sexual intercourse after childbirth. What’s more, almost one-quarter still report painful sex 18 months later, a group of researchers found.
While there’s no required waiting period before you can have sex again, many health care providers recommend waiting to have sex until four to six weeks after delivery, regardless of the delivery method. The risk of having a complication after delivery is highest during the first two weeks after delivery.
But waiting will also give your body time to heal. In addition to postpartum discharge and vaginal tears, you might experience fatigue, vaginal dryness, pain and low sexual desire. If you had a vaginal tear that required surgical repair, you might need to wait longer.
Painful Sex After Birth
Having a baby is an amazing, life-changing experience. But no matter how in love you are with your little one, caring for a newborn can take a serious toll on your sex life. The pain of childbirth may linger for several weeks after vaginal delivery for women. The vagina naturally changes after giving birth, and might feel wider, dry or sore for some time. Nearly 75 percent of women experience painful sexual intercourse, known as dyspareunia, at some point in their lives, which can stem from many causes, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Most women receive the OK from their doctors to have sex between four to six weeks after delivery.
“Six weeks; that’s what the doctor said,” said one woman. Others felt the six-week timeline meant that’s what their body needed to recover from the birth. “We waited for six weeks because I wanted everything to heal properly,” said another.
Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to get back in the game, there are a few things you can try to help minimize any painful sex after delivery.
Be sure to talk with your partner beforehand about any anxiety you’re feeling. You will need their support and patience in order to make this a pleasurable experience.
If you were taking pain reliever to help with any pain, you might want to take some prior to having sex. Also, a warm bath beforehand can help relax your body. If the pain and burning come after having sex, you can apply ice wrapped in a towel to the area help relieve some of the discomforts.
When it comes to sex, there are lots of different ways to make it more pleasurable. If your “go to” position is causing you pain, try something different. You might need to experiment with a few before you find the one that takes the pressure off of any sore areas but still lets you control the depth of penetration and gives you the pleasure you need.
Another deterrent to having sex after pregnancy is a C-section. This creates scars which, if not taken care of, grow down into the underlying layers to create problems related to bowel movements, bladder, and even painful sex. If you’ve gone through repeat C-sections, then you’ll really need to take care and break down those scars with massages and therapy. And if you initially attempted a vaginal delivery, after which you had to go for a C-section, well, that’s a lot your body had to go through!
Be it sex after vaginal delivery or sex 4 weeks after giving birth, breastfeeding and vaginal dryness can cause pain. You have reduced natural hormone levels, both within and outside your vagina, and this lowers your sex drive. If your vagina feels dry, try a lubricant during sex to see if that helps. If you have discomfort around your perineum, it might be worth your doctor having a look to check it’s healing in the right way.
Now is not the time for intense or aggressive sex. Like most things in the postpartum period, slow and steady wins the race. Take this time to explore each other and engage in a little foreplay. Wait for your body to relax before you move to penetration. If you’re stressed or anxious, it may take longer for you to become aroused.
It’s not unusual to feel less like having sex than you used to. You have given birth, you’re looking after a tiny baby, and you’re probably feeling very tired. It’s important to talk about this with your partner, rather than just avoiding sex. If you both know what the situation is, you can deal with it together.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with oral or manual stimulation, especially if you’re having pain from penetration. Who knows, you might find that you experience more pleasure and better orgasms this way.
Exercise After Delivery
Kegel exercises are a pregnancy favourite and need to continue post delivery too, to ensure that the pelvic floor is strengthened. This exercise will help to reduce painful sex after delivery.
When to Visit Your Doctor
Although sexual intercourse may be uncomfortable the very first time, it should never be painful. If you suddenly begin having pain before, during or after intercourse, see your doctor. It is important to seek care early, before you begin to avoid sexual intercourse or feel anxious in anticipation of your partner. This will reduce any painful sex after delivery.
Painful sex after delivery: precautions
There’s no right or wrong time to start having sex again after you have had a baby. You deserve to have non-painful sex after the baby, especially when your body has gone through the rigour of childbirth and is in need of pleasure to drown everything else. However, with the complications that childbirth and scar tissue can bring, it’s a good idea to rest and heal a bit more before you indulge in sexual intimacy! If sex hurts, it won’t be pleasurable.