Many parents find that adjusting to their new roles involves changes in their sexual relationship. Therefore, it is important that you and your partner talk about the way parenting is affecting your life, your sexual response to each other, and your feelings and needs.
Many new parents initially experience a decreased desire for sexual relations because they are too tired from the night feeding s and the constant care the baby requires. Other parents are concerned about interruptions in their in their lovemaking by a crying baby, infection or fear of another pregnancy.
Intercourse may be safely resumed when your bleeding has stopped and the stitches have healed. Some new parents prefer to wait until after the six-week check-up with their doctor/midwife. To assess for vaginal tenderness, you or your partner can insert one or two fingers in the vagina and gently check for any painful areas.
There are a number of physical changes after pregnancy that may make changes in your lovemaking style. You may experience:
- Decreased lubrication
- Longer arousal time
- Shorter and weaker orgasmic spasms
- Slackness of the vaginal muscles
These changes last about 2 to 3 months after which sexual responses gradually return to normal. The decreased lubrication will last longer in women who are breastfeeding.
You may find the following suggestions helpful for dealing with the temporary changes described above
· Try using more kissing, cuddling and fondling to get each other interested in lovemaking Use a lubricating jelly or a spermicidal cream/foam to help lessen the discomfort resulting from decreased lubrication. Vaseline is not recommended.
· If the scar tissue at the vaginal opening is tender and tight, place pillow under your hips to tilt your body at an angle to decrease the pressure on your bottom
· Initial penetration should be gentle and slow to allow for the vagina to relax and stretch. If penetration is uncomfortable, try using different positions that lessen the pressure of the shaft of the penis on the episiotomy area. A side-lying position or a position or a position where you are on top of your partner may be more comfortable.
· Conscious and active relaxation of the pelvic floor muscle will increase your comfort level and the elasticity of the tissues. Daily repetition of the pelvic floor exercise will promote a more rapid return of the elasticity and tone on the vaginal muscles.
Some breastfeeding women find their breasts are tender when they are full and may experience milk letdown reflex with orgasm. Breastfeeding before you make love will help with these concerns and will decrease the chance of being interrupted by a crying baby. You should also explain to your partner about the chance of milk letdown from you breasts with sexual excitement and/or orgasm.
Since fear of another pregnancy can also interfere with your enjoyment of sexual activity, discuss which method of birth control you will use with your partner. If you need to consult your doctor about your choices, be sure to use a condom and foam for the love making until you talk with your doctor. Almost all mothers who are totally breastfeeding their babies (i.e. No bottles and no soothers) do not resume their periods for the first six months. You can however, still become pregnant.