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Couples Corner

Reclaiming Your Sex Life After the Baby

Reclaiming Your Sex Life After the Baby

"Sex!" you laugh, "What's that?" Sure, distant memories of candlelight dinners, slinky negligees, and drinking champagne in your high-heeled shoes can still stir a nostalgic sigh or two. But even months after the birth of your baby, the last thing on your mind is a romp in the hay. That's perfectly normal and the reasons are myriad. Factors include:
  • Exhaustion
    When you find yourself with some downtime, sleep can seem a lot more appealing than sex. "Even if there's interest, it can seem like such a big production," says Kathy Kahn, a 33-year-old Denver mother of Tyler, seven months.

  • Discomfort
    In the months after birth, you may be sore, or have tender breasts. And if breastfeeding, your estrogen levels are lower, resulting in dryness and further discomfort. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), it's important to wait until tissues have completely healed -- which takes about four weeks -- before resuming sexual activity.

  • Decreased desire
    What goes up, must come down. This is true of post-pregnancy hormone levels, and consequently, sexual urges. "My libido was nearly nonexistent for about four months," says Kahn. "Because I was nursing, I had a closeness with my baby that my husband wasn't part of. I had intimacy all day long, so sex didn't feel as necessary."

    It's also not unusual to feel less attractive after giving birth -- which doesn't do much for desire. Chances are you've got some post-baby weight to lose, or are so busy caring for the baby that you haven't had time to devote to things that make you feel good about yourself, like exercise or getting a manicure. Rest assured, at some point you will probably feel ready, willing, and able to have sex again. Before you lower the lights and get down to business with your partner, get the OK from your doctor, and remember that rebuilding a sex life takes time. Some tips to help you get going:

  • Keep an open mind
    Getting close doesn't have to mean intercourse. Apprehensive? Try holding or gently massaging each other. Gradually include foreplay, and talk to your partner if you're uncomfortable.

  • Try lubricants
    They do wonders for dryness. ACOG recommends a water-soluble cream or jelly.

  • Be flexible
    Different positions can definitely help bring back spice. The woman-on-top position may make it easier for you to move, and more able to enjoy sex.

  • Relax
    Experts suggest waiting until you won't be rushed, such as when the baby is asleep for the night or off with relatives.

  • Use birth control (even if breastfeeding)
    Since your cycle is still off, it's difficult to know when exactly you will ovulate, which means you could get pregnant again before you want to.

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About The Author

Rebecca Geiger is based in New York City and writes frequently about children's health and development.

The content on these pages is provided as general information only and should not be substituted for the advice of your physician.


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