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Ask a Childbirth Educator (May 2022)

“So……..are there rules around resuming sex postnatally?”

Unless medically indicated otherwise, the only rule to resuming sex postnatally is that it is comfortable for both of you, and you are both ready.  It is generally considered ideal to wait until the lochia (bleeding after birth) has stopped, but that’s not a hard and fast rule.

There are challenges that both partners can face during this period, including lack of time, stress, fatigue, work pressures, fear of getting pregnant again.  For the pregnant person who has just birthed, there are further challenges which may include healing, lochia, exhaustion, anxiety, leaking breasts, vaginal dryness.  Feeding baby first, and using a vaginal lubricant is recommended, and don’t continue if it hurts.

But none of these things are great ingredients for a recipe of romance!

Sometimes you might feel touched out.  It may have been one of those days where baby is going through a growth spurt or may be a little more unsettled than usual; there’s been the need for a lot more consoling and feeding baby, and even the cat wants to sit on your lap!

Understanding all of this and communicating any concerns both ways with your partner is essential.  Satisfaction and closeness with your partner can come from random acts of kindness, cuddles, time out together, a massage, a bath together.

If resuming sex continues to be painful, despite going about it carefully and gently, talk to your LMC or Doctor.

If you have vaginal discharge that smells unpleasant, you could have an infection that requires medical attention. If you are still losing blood from your vagina after four weeks, or have a sudden increase in blood loss, also get this checked out by a professional (NICE 2006: 9).  Also talk to a health professional for contraceptive advice.

For some however, this postnatal time can be one to feel very sexual and absolutely complete, having bought new life into the world; a completion of sexuality.

It is important in the postnatal period that you ensure you are eating well, drinking plenty of fluids, doing your pelvic floor exercises which will increase your enjoyment of sex and taking opportunities for power naps when you can……and don’t forget, try not to make love on a full breast!

References:

https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a536362/sex-after-the-birth

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