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Sex after childbirth: the most important information

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 252 views

It can sometimes take some time before you have sex after giving birth . Due to the physical changes, the exertion of childbirth and the new life as a third person, sexuality often takes a back seat for women. Read here what you can do if you have sexual problems, when sex is basically possible again after childbirth and which contraceptive method is suitable.

Not interested in sex after childbirth

It usually takes a while for the desire to have sex to return after giving birth . This is perfectly normal. Many women don’t feel particularly comfortable in their bodies at first: the stomach is still flabby, the breasts are strained by the milk coming in and breastfeeding, the wound after a caesarean section or a perineal seam may also have to heal. The hormonal changes after childbirth can lead to mood swings that affect couple life. Added to this is the care of the newborn – a 24-hour job that robs you of sleep and energy. At first, most women feel tired and listless. In addition, the hormone prolactin , which is responsible for milk production, inhibits itthe sexual desire.

The situation is also new and unusual for the fathers. Men are often insecure and irritated by the physical closeness between mother and child. Many men also worry that having sex after giving birth will cause their partner pain. In addition, the new responsibility and the changes in everyday life can sap the strength of the fathers. Couples who share night shifts both suffer from sleep deprivation.

A large portion of patience is therefore required from both partners, especially at the beginning, but also mutual attention. Talk to each other about your feelings, your fears and desires.

When is sex allowed after childbirth?

No woman is the same. Some want to be intimate with their partner again soon after giving birth. From a medical point of view, there is nothing to be said against it. Even if the weekly flow has not dried up, sex after childbirth is generally allowed. With an existing weekly flow, however, the wound healing is not yet complete, so that there is an increased risk of infection during this time. You should therefore pay particular attention to hygiene and use condoms to prevent infections.

Tips for the first sex after childbirth

The first sex after birth is usually not completely relaxed. Pain during sexual intercourse ( dyspareunia ) or previously unknown problems are not uncommon in the early stages:

  • When breastfeeding, the vaginal mucosa is often too dry due to the low estrogen level: the resulting pain during sex can be avoided with lubricating creams.
  • Especially when having sex for the first time after childbirth, women find positions in which they can control the intensity and depth of penetration of the penis themselves to be comfortable.
  • Breastfeeding puts a lot of strain on the breasts, which makes touching them rather uncomfortable. Point this out to your partner. Breastfeeding before intercourse can help.
  • Postnatal exercises not only strengthen the pelvic floor and prevent incontinence . It also gives women and men more intense sensations during sex after childbirth.

Sexual problems and pain during sexual intercourse are more common afterwards, especially if the birth was associated with an operation. If the pain during sex after childbirth persists, you should consult a doctor.

Sex after childbirth: which contraceptive method is the right one?

If you don’t want to get pregnant again immediately after having sex after giving birth, you should never rely on the reduced fertility caused by breastfeeding: Breastfeeding is not a reliable form of contraception! Every woman, regardless of whether she is breastfeeding or not, should deal with the subject of contraception in good time, because the first period after childbirth can begin shortly after the menstrual flow has subsided . If you ovulate about ten to fourteen days before your menstrual period, you could theoretically become pregnant again immediately.

Which contraception is suitable for the first sex after childbirth depends primarily on whether you are breastfeeding or not. Hormone preparations can reach the child through breast milk. Estrogen, in particular, is harmful to your child’s health and inhibits milk production. In addition, for some birth control methods, your body must first regenerate itself after the birth or the period must first start again. Natural methods such as taking your temperature are unsuitable for sex after childbirth, as the hormones take a long time to level off again.

In summary, the following contraceptives are generally suitable for breastfeeding:

  • Condom or diaphragm : safest shortly after birth; the regenerating body is not affected; breast milk remains hormone-free.
  • IUD : contains progestin only; does not affect milk and child health.
  • spiral : no problem for milk production and health of the child; before insertion, the uterus must have completely regressed (six to eight weeks after birth).
  • Minipill : contains progestin only; does not affect milk and infant; strictly adhere to the daily intake time; applicable no earlier than six weeks after birth.

Due to the side effects, breastfeeding mothers should only use the following preparations after thorough consultation with their gynaecologist:

  • Hormone implant: Can be used four weeks after birth at the earliest; Active ingredient passes into breast milk; does not affect milk and baby’s health.
  • Three-month injection: Can be used six weeks after birth at the earliest; side effects common; Liver damage in infants cannot be ruled out.
  • morning-after pill : only for emergencies; Active ingredients pass into breast milk, so a breastfeeding break of 36 hours must be observed before taking.

The following products contain estrogen and are unsuitable for breastfeeding women:

Lust takes time

Sometimes it takes a while for the desire to have sex to return after giving birth. There may also simply be a lack of opportunities for closeness and tenderness. Then it is helpful to organize a child-free time. Sexuality does not necessarily have to be in the foreground. Laughing together and togetherness can rebuild lost closeness – a prerequisite for a fulfilling sex life. One more tip at the end: A child that sleeps permanently in the parent’s bed is not necessarily conducive to sex after birth .

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