Your body has been through a roller coaster of changes these past nine months (or more, if you had fertility assistance). Feeling sexy, and sexual attraction, is more mental than physical. So if you are having questions or trouble with postpartum intimacy, here are some tips to help you get you back to yourself.
Pregnancy and giving birth are no minor feat, physically, emotionally, and medically. First, be sure you speak to your OB/GYN about how your pregnancy and birth impacted you. They can help you understand when will be the best time for you to resume intercourse and other sexual activity, particularly if you had an injury or surgery. They can also advise when you can expect your vaginal muscles to retract to their normal size, which may make intercourse more pleasurable for you and your partner.
Sometimes, emotional and psychological impacts of having a new baby can get in the way of intimate life, even after you’re physically cleared. You may have anxieties like: what happens if I miss giving the baby something it needs while we’re having sex? Did the baby just cry? I’m feeling unattractive in my new body. I have postpartum depression, etc.
These anxieties are real concerns, but they shouldn’t govern your entire life. Try giving yourself permission to feel sexy and have an intimate life.
If you think you may be too distracted to focus on you and your partner, perhaps a trusted friend or relative can take the baby for a night or two while you and your partner reconnect. But before you can connect with your partner, you need to connect with you.
Having a baby does not mean that you have to put aside all of your own wants and needs. Quite the contrary! It’s important to keep maintaining your interests, hobbies, etc. – albeit on a re-prioritized schedule. Give yourself a spa day. Go to brunch with your girlfriends. Shop for comfortable but fashionable dresses that fit and flatter your new shape and make you feel fantastic. Do movement or exercise. Connect with your body. Don’t slack on your self care.
It may be tempting to stay in sweatpants for a week, but half of being sexy is feeling sexy to yourself. Affirm yourself every day that you are beautiful and vivacious. You absolutely do not have to lose yourself just because you’re a mom.
All through your pregnancy, and after the baby comes, keep the romance alive. Have a date night (even if it’s at home). Snuggle on the couch. Watch movies. Kiss. Hold hands. Trade massages. Hug often. Flirt. Maintaining contact and connection with your partner will help them feel included and reduce the chance of underlying feelings that the baby is your whole new world and your partner’s left in the dust.
It may take you some time to get back into your intimate swing and sex may feel a bit awkward, uncomfortable, or unsatisfying for a little while. This means keep trying. The most important part of sexual intimacy is the intimacy part – not the sex part. Showing yourself and your partner that you are invested in the connection, you should soon find yourselves rediscovering a wonderful, healthy sex life together.
If you are finding that postpartum intimacy is painful or uncomfortable, schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your situation.