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28 Oct 2015
The weeks and months after giving birth are so full of new experiences, sleepless nights and physical and mental changes, that sex may be the furthest thing from the minds of the new mums and new dads. However, the urge will start to emerge once again, and it can be important to regain intimacy so the emotional and physical relationships do not suffer.
It is entirely natural for new parents to have reservations about starting to have sex after giving birth – concerned it may not be healthy or wise. Some parents are so emotionally connected to their new child, that paying physical attention to another person may feel like a betrayal to baby.
There is no set date after giving birth when new mums should be resuming sexual activity – with the return date determined by a number of different factors. Many sexual health professionals will advise that the average preferred wait time for new mums is roughly six weeks – this gives any after-birth bleeding sufficient time to stop.
It is important not to set a concrete date to jump back into bed with your partner after birth, as this can place unnecessary pressure upon both partners during a period of time which is already quite stressful. As well as waiting for the after-birth bleeding (lochia) to stop, it’s vital that you feel mentally and physically ready to resume sexual relations.
Many couples use the six week postnatal check-up as an opportunity to check if the bleeding has stopped and mum is physically prepared for sex again. Baby Centre confirms that roughly half of new parents wait until this moment, just to double-check they’re not compromising their health. Some couples do find they can enjoy great sex before the check-up.
Many couples do not feel mentally or physically ready for sex after the birth of a child. This is completely natural with the life-changing events and hormonal changes taking effect upon both partners. However, it is often healthy to continue kissing and being physically close to one another in the weeks and months following the birth. This helps retain a strong physical bond, and can make the return to sex seem less daunting when both partners feel ready.
Even if your periods have not started again, it is still possible to get pregnant from post-birth sex. This means that you’ll have to use contraception – or risk giving baby a new sister or brother almost immediately.
It is strongly advised that the first time after the birth should be gentle, slow sex. Additionally, the hormonal changes (especially if mother is still breastfeeding) may make it more difficult for the vagina to self-lubricate – so additional lube could help make it easier and more pleasurable for both partners.
Pelvic floor exercises can help strengthen the muscles around the vagina – making sex more pleasurable for her and for him.
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