Having a baby can be a really traumatic experience both physically and mentally for any woman. Sure, not everyone will experience it in the same way, but we can all agree it’s not the most pleasurable process.
Sex after delivery can be painful, and the reasons for painful sex after childbirth are many, but there’s no reason to let them disrupt your intimacy.
What happens to your vagina after childbirth?
Your vagina stretches a lot if you have a natural delivery, but this isn’t the main reason why sex hurts afterward.
You often need additional cuts in case things get complicated, and your vagina can suffer tears and damage during the procedure. These heal naturally and fairly quickly, but having sex a couple of weeks after delivery can still be painful due to these scars.
However, the main change is how your estrogen levels drop and your vagina becomes dry. This is the main reason why sex can be painful even weeks after it should be OK to have sex.
What are the reasons for painful sex after childbirth?
We can summarize these reasons in 6 main points that can deteriorate your sex quality after the birth of your child.
The “husband” stitch is an additional stitch taken by some doctors for women who had vaginal births resulting in natural tearing or a need to cut the perineum; this is a really old measure, and it’s not supported by modern medicine.
The husband stitch is an additional method to make your opening smaller, and if the woman doesn’t say they don’t want it, old-fashioned doctors might assume you want it since they think it’s positive for your sex life.
The result is obvious: your vagina feels smaller, and unless corrected, you’ll have to get used to it even after it recovers.
Regular, necessary stitches can still cause pain. Stitches are necessary for your body to heal after childbirth, but they can leave scar tissue now and then, especially around the perineum.
This scar tissue makes everything more sensitive and tighter, which can clearly be a problem for sex. When they should relax, the muscles around your vagina can be overly tense.
Just like with stitches, natural tearing during delivery still results in scar tissue as it heals. You want to help it by massaging it and even kneading it. If you don’t, then it’ll take longer for sex to stop being painful.
Breastfeeding works a lot like a temporary menopause hormone-wise since it lowers your hormonal levels around your vagina, and while this lowers your sex drive, the main issue is how it increases dryness.
The lack of libido also means your vagina will have trouble lubricating, and lubrication problems lower your libido, so it’s a really uncomfortable situation.
Again, this is yet another reason to prioritize using enough lubricant that’s water-based.
Worrying about your baby
Your pelvic floor works in tandem with your emotions and thoughts. If you feel anxious or scared, these muscles will become tense. While they’re like that, your vagina and anus become smaller.
Now that you have a baby, you’ll probably be worried about them coming into the room while you’re intimate with your partner, or you might be expecting the baby to cry from hunger or
The c-section just repeats the repercussions from having stitches; after all, it’s surgery. The scars produced by c-section also need work, and if you don’t do it, it’ll form scar tissue beneath the tears and become really uncomfortable.
From bladder and bowel problems all the way to sex, you really want to prevent all the issues from these scars. And if you’ve had various c-sections, then you’ll learn why it’s important to treat it.
What can you do to make it less painful?
While it might sound like a bad idea to have sex with all these issues, there’s no reason to forget about your intimacy.
The most important way to keep away the reasons for painful sex after childbirth is to take things slowly. You want to wait for your body to heal before doing anything, and even then, you should always go slow and keep an eye out for any discomfort.
Use your pain relievers before the act
You’re probably taking pain medication to deal with pain post-delivery. Well, you might want to schedule these medicines along with your intimacy time. Another good idea is to use warm baths or ice if you aren’t taking drugs.
Try new positions
If you feel pain, stop, and try something new. With sex, you have countless ways to tackle the procedure, and if there’s discomfort with any position, you can change to a new one. You might even discover a new favorite in the process.
This one doesn’t need explanations; you’re producing less estrogen and vaginal fluids, so a lubricant can fix that quickly. You can also take a look at natural aphrodisiacs like Spanish Fly Pro to help you out. It offers natural vaginal lubrication, and you will experience higher libido levels. This makes for some great sex, and lesser pain – just like you like it.
Try more than just intercourse
There are more ways to feel satisfied than straight-up intercourse. Try other approaches to intimacy to strengthen your mutual bond and still find pleasure in the end.
Keep the Kegels
You probably were recommended to do Kegel exercises while you were pregnant, and they’re an amazing way to strengthen your pelvic muscles. This can even speed up your recovery and sexual performance, so there’s no reason to stop doing them.
Just hold your pee for a bit and let go, repeat about 10 times per set.
You don’t have to stop worrying about sex even after childbirth – all you need is to focus on the right steps.
- 7 Sexual behaviour in pregnancy, after childbirth and during breast-feeding | https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0950355289800665
- Contraception and breastfeeding | https://www.breastfeeding.ie/uploads/files/factsheet18.pdf
- Pelvic Floor Muscle Training During Pregnancy and After Delivery | https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228347010_Pelvic_Floor_Muscle_Training_During_Pregnancy_and_After_Delivery
- Sexual function after childbirth: women’s experiences, persistent morbidity and lack of professional recognition | https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1471-0528.1997.tb11463.x
- Your recovery after childbirth | https://www.ouh.nhs.uk/patient-guide/leaflets/files/4895Pchildbirth.pdf
- Women’s Sexuality After Childbirth: A Pilot Study | https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1018771906780