Sexuality and U

Sexual Health

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What to expect the first time after baby

You’ve just been through the life-altering and physically draining process of pregnancy and delivery. Although you adore your new little miracle, you are exhausted from being up at all hours for feedings and are still a little sore from the delivery. And you may not be feeling too sexy while adjusting to your new role as a mother with all the dirty diapers and demands on your time.

Sex is probably the last thing on your mind – right?

Well that won’t always be the case. Being intimate with your partner again is an important part of your relationship with your partner, in addition to the new joys and responsibilities of parenthood. Women and their partners often have questions about resuming sexual activity after a baby, and how to prevent another pregnancy.

In this section you will find general information and pointers, but it cannot replace professional advice. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have concerns about your particular situation.

The first time may be a little uncomfortable. Your vagina has recently been through some stretching and trauma so it is important to take it slow and use lots of foreplay to make sure you are “turned-on” enough. Even if lubrication was never a problem before, you may want to have some extra lubricant on hand. Breastfeeding especially can make the vaginal skin thinner and drier because of decreased estrogen, so if you are breastfeeding use a lubricant!

Be patient and realistic – don’t force it if it hurts, and don’t expect an earth-shattering orgasm the first time. It may not feel the same at first, as your body adapts to the physical changes that have taken place. With time, and practice however, you and your partner can regain your sexual chemistry.

I am breastfeeding. Can my partner still touch my breasts during sex?

Your breasts were designed for this dual role – for pleasure, as well as nourishing an infant. Having said that, both you and your partner may have mixed feelings as to whether your breasts should be just for the baby now. There is no right or wrong answer here, but will depend on how you both feel. If your nipples are cracked and sore, it is probably better to leave them alone for now.

You should know that milk could leak from the breasts during sex from direct nipple stimulation or from orgasm even if the breasts are not touched. The amount varies from woman to woman, from a few drops to a “squirt”. If this bothers you or your partner, avoid breast stimulation, and wear a bra with an absorbent pad inside. (Treat yourself to a new, sexy, non-nursing bra in a larger size!) Nursing your baby prior to intercourse can help empty your breasts and make you more comfortable. In any case, you might want to keep a cloth (and your sense of humour!) nearby.

If you are not breastfeeding, you want your breasts to stop producing milk, so avoid nipple stimulation at first as this can cause hormonal changes that continue milk production. In such cases, wearing a well-fitted, supportive bra at all times (not just with intercourse) is helpful. Your breasts may also be sore and engorged – try ibuprofen or Tylenol (if you have no allergies or contraindications) and cool compresses.