Many women experience sexual problems after giving birth. This blog will discuss the issues and concerns associated with childbirth and its impact on a woman’s sexual functioning.
Most obstetricians\gynecologists recommend that women avoid vaginal intercourse for at least six week after delivery. Sexual function may not return to prepregnancy levels for up to six months following delivery. The causes are the mother’s concerns about caring for a new baby, breastfeeding, fatigue, pain during attempted or actual intercourse, postpartum depression, pelvic floor problems, urinary incontinence and body image issues.
Sexuality in pregnancy is different in every woman. The frequency of sex may change and sexual enjoyment may decline during pregnancy. However, the good news is that relationship satisfaction remains unchanged. Many women experience a decline in sexual activity during the first trimester of pregnancy as a result of fatigue, fear of causing a miscarriage, breast tenderness, and nausea. The third trimester is also a time of diminished sexual activity due to overall physical discomfort.
Many women may avoid sex and orgasms because of the mistaken fear of causing bleeding, infection, injury to the fetus, premature labor, or breaking the bag of water (amniotic sac) too early. It is true that penetrative vaginal intercourse and orgasms should be avoided if there is imminent danger of a miscarriage in the second and third trimester. Women need to know that amniotic fluid and a thick cervical plug that makes it unlikely that the fetus will experience any pressure or impact from vaginal penetration protect the fetus.
Pregnancy and child delivery may be a difficult time for the partner. Changes in sexual activities and stress about new family obligations make take an emotional or physical toll on the partner. Couples should make every effort to communicate their feelings in a sensitive but honest fashion. The partner may also benefit with a discussion to a friend, doctor, or a counselor about feelings during this time.
Bottom Line: Pregnancy and childbirth are a special time for the mother and her partner. Sexual intimacy can be an important part of life during pregnancy and after the baby is born. If you have concerns about engaging in sexual intimacy before and after delivery over your baby, speak to your doctor.