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Do Babies Ruin Your Sex Life?

By Matty Silver, Sex Therapist on January 10, 2019 in Other

I’m watching you, by Filip Mroz

With all the media attention most celebrities receive showing off their pregnant bellies and photographs of their newborns, you’d think it was all so easy. Welcome to new parenthood! But for most couples, the joy of becoming a parent is often cancelled out by losing a healthy and active sex life. Sex after pregnancy may be the last thing on your mind after childbirth, as you will probably be too exhausted to even think about it. And it will most likely take a while for things to get back to normal.

It is recommended that you wait six weeks after childbirth before having sex, and it is best to wait for any bleeding to stop first to avoid infections. It is not necessary to wait for the six-week postnatal check-up if you feel healed and interested. On the other hand, you don’t have to rush it if you would like to wait longer. Men often worry that they will hurt their partner and women worry that their stitches may open up. Some women feel detached from their sexuality trying to adjust to being a mother, which is quite a normal response to having a new baby.

Caring for a newborn is exhausting. Some of the reasons for not feeling like sex are lack of sleep, changing hormone levels, sore or tender stitches and a baby who has problems feeding or has difficulties settling down. Sleep will become your number one priority and, thus, sex may take a back seat.

All of these concerns are normal and it is important for couples to talk to each other. Talking about sex with your partner will allow you both to voice your concerns so you can keep feeling connected, which is important for your intimacy as neither of you are mind readers.

Until you are ready to have sex, maintain intimacy in other ways. Be creative. If penetrative intercourse is difficult there are many other ways to be sexual. You can start with cuddling, kissing, giving a massage, oral sex or good old masturbation.

Try not to wait until bedtime. Consider having sex in the daytime, if possible, when the baby is asleep or a family member can spend some hours with the baby. It is also important to think about birth control. I don’t know too many people who would like to have two babies under the age of two, let alone sooner.

Losing interest in sex after a baby is pretty common. Some women totally lose their sex drive, but most sexual concerns resolve within a year. Of course, if couples have issues in their sex life before having a baby these will emerge more strongly after the baby is born. Some women do not feel like having sex when they feel let down, unsupported or angry with their partners. Being at home all the time without an external social life can also lead to low self-confidence or depression.

Babies bring a huge pressure to even the most stable and harmonious couples. It is important to set reasonable expectations as you try to adjust to parenthood.