As a childbirth educator one of the concerns that many first time parents have is resuming sexual relations after the baby comes. While welcoming a baby is one of life’s biggest transitions and some change is inevitable, you can still nurture an intimate relationship with your partner. Here are a few tips on making the transition from couple to family a little easier.
Generally care providers recommend that women not resume intercourse for about six weeks after the baby arrives. Even after the most straightforward, natural birth, and even if there is no tearing or stitches, the body needs time to heal. Birth, while beautiful, is a big deal. Typically women are cautioned to not resume sex until the bleeding has stopped and any stitches have healed up.
Not only must the body heal, but babies require lots of time and don’t always sleep that much. In addition the female body biologically is devoting its energy to the baby and many women just don’t feel “in the mood” for a little while.
For some women the impact of childbirth on their body will be greater and they may require much longer than the typical six weeks before sex is desirable or even painless. Be patient with yourself and your parter and try to gently balance both of your needs so that everybody feels recognized and loved.
Does this mean that you can’t be intimate during this time? No, of course not. But your intimacy may change for a little while. Take time to spend time together. Touch, cuddle, hug, kiss, do kind things for one another, express love verbally, and remember that your relationship and it’s strength will one day be a strength to the baby. Of course, there are always other things you can do that don’t require penetration so that both partners feel satisfied.
Assuming the magical six week mark arrives and you are ready and able to once again make love, what happens next?! After birth sometimes a woman’s body isn’t quite the same again right away- sometimes never. This is nothing to fear or worry about. As life goes on and we experience more and grow older we will go through many physical changes.
Just take time, be kind and of course be gentle with each other. Expect some changes, but don’t expect them to be negative. Don’t rush and soon you will both find a new normal. Sometimes even if that six week mark has passed there is still some tenderness in the vaginal region and using lubrication and taking things slow can help ease back into intimacy.
Understanding and patience after a baby arrives is an important attribute for both people in the partnership to have. You will need the attribute of understanding not just in your relationship with each other, but with your relationship with your growing child.
Be understanding of one partners need for time, tenderness and care. But also be aware that for many people, physical manifestations of love are necessary to their own happiness. Don’t forget each other during this transitional time and you will find your relationship isn’t weaker, but grows stronger.
While the introduction of a child to a relationship or family can be a difficult and challenging change, it can also yield the greatest gifts. Increased love, understanding, and selflessness in the relationship can give great benefits, not the least of which is a stronger couple relationship.
Sarah Clark is a mother of four, a wife, an experienced childbirth educator and an instructor trainer for Birth Boot Camp, a company specializing in natural birth preparation. She blogs regularly at Mama Birth.