By Cristina Mestre Ferrer BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 12/28/2015

Experiencing a loss of libido is a normal thing after childbirth. A great number of women do not wish to make love during the first days or even months after labor.

Your body is now recovering from childbirth. Gynecologists recommend waiting two or three weeks—i.e. quarantine period—, although each couple and pregnancy is different. You may feel comfortable after or before this period of time.

In case you have perineum scars derived from an episiotomy or childbirth perineal tears, you should wait a bit longer, since penetration may delay the healing process or even cause any infection.

Hormone changes

After childbirth, women experience a decrease in their estrogen levels, something that may lead to vaginal dryness and therefore cause some discomfort. You can resort to water-soluble vaginal lubricants to solve this problem, since vaseline compounds get attached to the vaginal mucosa and can hide small infections.

While breastfeeding, this situation of dryness may remain the same. Besides, women produce oxytocin, an stimulating hormone whose function is indulging your sex drive.

Also noteworthy is the fact that the baby’s arrival can have an impact on male libido as well and even lead to a loss of erectile capacity.

Psychological factors

Some women are afraid of feeling some discomfort or falling pregnant again. Stimulating other erogenous zones as well as being patient, tolerant, and affectionate are key psychological elements throughout this stage. Thus, having oral sex at the beginning is the most advisable sexual activity, and then gradually engaging into sexual intercourse involving penetration.

A great number of women are unsatisfied with their physical appearance after childbirth, being this the reason why many of them try to avoid sex. Not only your body looks different as it did before, but also flaccidity and fluid retention do not improve this situation. Look after yourself, do exercise and you will see you start thinking of yourself as a more attractive woman little by little. Pelvic floor muscle training exercises help you strengthen your vaginal muscles.

You life is not as it used to be anymore. Your are getting used to the baby and focused on taking care of him/her; therefore, it is only logical that now you prefer spending more time in your role as a mother. This, at the same time, may lead to a loss of libido.

Tips to enjoy a full sexual life

Here you will find a series of tips that will help you enjoy your sexual life after childbirth. By following these recommendations together with a great deal of patience, your sexual life can be even better than it was before pregnancy.

Effective communication

Although communication with the partner is essential in every relationship, it becomes especially important in this very moment.

If you do not talk about this issue, sex drive may become suppressed because each one of the members of the couple may think the other is not in the mood to have sex.

The more you talk to each other, the more you will enjoy your sexual life.

Kegel exercises

Kegel exercises strengthen pelvic floor muscles. That is the reason why practicing them after childbirth is strongly advisable to recover both strength and the resistance of pelvic muscles.

Apart from being effective against urinary retention problems after childbirth, they help increase pleasure during intercourse.

Choosing the right birth control method

The use of contraceptive methods is a key element in sexual life after labor.

During this period, it becomes necessary to use an accurate birth control method that allows the couple to enjoy having sexual intercourse without fearing getting pregnant again. This is because fear is one of the main reasons why recovering the normal sexual life becomes difficult for a great number of couples.

Using lubricants

Hormone changes may cause vaginal dryness, which leads many women to feel pain during intercourse.

Using lubricants and vaginal gels can help solve this problem. Those based on water, water-soluble, or with balanced pH levels are the most recommendable ones.

Benefits of intercourse for new moms

The following are the two main advantages of having postpartum sex:

  • It allows time for the cervix to close after delivery, since it causes its contraction and improves its muscle tone.
  • Feeling desired increases the production of endorphins, your self-esteem, and moreover reconnects and strengthens your relationship.

In conclusion, sexual life may become a little bit worse after childbirth because of pain, exhaustion, fear, hormone changes, etc. However, sexual desire can be recovered gradually after the first six weeks postpartum.

Three months after childbirth, female capacity to have an orgasm is the same or even better than it was before getting pregnant, so by then most women have restarted having intercourse.

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Authors and contributors

 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information
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