Navigating Pain With Sex After Birth

First of all, congratulations to you and the new and amazing little person who just joined your family!  But the downside to having just gone through childbirth is that you may now be experiencing pain with sex after birth. Just know that you are not alone. Pain with sex after childbirth is actually quite common. Your body goes through A Lot during childbirth and is still healing. Your body needs some time off after delivery.

The good news is that it gets better with time. Have patience. Things will gradually get back to normal. Sometimes things can get a little messy after intimacy with your partner. You might bleed after sex. It’s not uncommon. It can be alarming, but there’s usually a reason behind it. 

Why is sex so painful after having a baby? 

The number one reason for pain during sex after childbirth is usually a pelvic floor dysfunction. Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles, supporting pregnancy and birth. They get stretched out during childbirth and might be a bit weak. Your vagina, uterus and cervix have to return to normal size.

Another common reason for the discomfort during sex after giving birth is vaginal dryness. This is often caused by hormones. It can make vaginal tissue thinner and more sensitive. Low levels of estrogen are normal for the first 2 months after giving birth. Breastfeeding will extend this low estrogen time period. Low estrogen can sometimes cause dryness and tightness down there. 

If you have had any tears or stitches from a vaginal delivery, this could cause the pain with sex. This will also need any time to heal. 

Emotionally, things might be different. A lack of arousal can play a role. Taking things slow and communicating openly with your partner is crucial. 

Let’s normalize this!

So now we’ve established that it’s totally normal to experience some discomfort during sex after giving birth. Your body just went through a major event and needs time to heal. Don’t stress – you’re not alone! Give yourself time and remember, your body’s a rockstar for bringing new life into the world.

How Long Does Pain with Sex After Birth Last? 

This is a common question I hear. The timeline for postpartum pain during sex can vary quite a bit. There is no definitive timeline. Doctors typically recommend waiting 4 – 6 weeks after you’ve had a vaginal delivery.

In one study, issues with sex increased significantly for women after giving birth. In fact, 83% of women experienced sexual problems in the first 3 months after delivery (Barrett G, 2005). During this time, pain with sex after birth was significantly linked to a vaginal delivery (Barrett G, 2005). But the good news is that 89% of women who gave birth had resumed sexual activity within 6 months of the birth (Barrett G, 2005). 

Some women might feel better after a few weeks, while for others, it might take a few months. It really depends on your body and how you’re healing. The key is not to rush it – give yourself time to heal physically and mentally. If the pain with sex after birth persists or worries you, talk to your doctor.  

Even after your doctor has given you the go-ahead to resume sexual activities, you may still need to take things slowly. In addition to needing rest & physical recovery, you’ll be getting used to your new little family member, getting a lot less sleep and getting used to the huge change in your daily routine.

You may also need to wait longer if you had a tear or needed a surgical cut to widen the vaginal canal. In this case, having sex too soon may increase risk of complications like infection, so follow your doctor’s advice on this one.

What Can You Do to Help Reduce Pain With Sex After Birth?

Pelvic floor therapy is a great solution to postpartum pain during sex. Pelvic floor therapy involves exercises and techniques to strengthen and relax these muscles. It can work wonders in reducing discomfort and improving intimacy. 

You can do these exercises lying down, sitting or standing. With practice, they can be done anywhere and at any time:

Squeeze and draw in your bottom as if you’re holding in wind.

Squeeze around your vagina and bladder as if you’re stopping the flow of urine or squeezing during intercourse.

You can do long squeezes. Hold for as long as you can, but no longer than 10 seconds, then relax.

Short squeezes involve quickly squeezing the muscles and then letting them go immediately. Do this until your muscles get tired.

You can build up to 10 repeats of each exercise, at least 3 times a day.

Breathe normally while you do these exercises. Make sure you do not pull in your stomach when you squeeze.

What Would Gwyneth Paltrow Do?

Ah, the jade egg therapy! It’s a practice that involves using a smooth, egg-shaped jade stone in your vaginal canal. People believe it can help with pelvic floor muscle strength, improve sexual health and even emotional balance. In energy medicine, jade is believed to help balance, regenerate and heal the physical body.

However, it’s a bit controversial. There is no research done on jade eggs and their effectiveness. Some swear by its benefits, while others question its safety and effectiveness. 

If you are going to try it, use a proper, non-porous and sanitized stone. Always practice good hygiene and don’t overdo it. Consult with a healthcare professional before diving in. 

Can Should You Be Resting After Delivering a Baby?

Absolutely! Taking time to rest after delivering is crucial for healing, especially when it comes to postpartum pain during sex. Resting gives your muscles, tissues, and hormones a chance to recalibrate and heal properly. 

Don’t rush into anything. Focus on self-care, bonding with your baby and gradually easing back into activities. 

Remember that you are doing great! Your body just did something incredible

Don’t hesitate to seek support from healthcare professionals. If the pain persists or gets worse, talk to your doctor. You got this!

Your body is always talking to you. If bleeding after sex becomes more than just an occasional surprise or if the pain is becoming a problem, then reach out to a healthcare expert. They can help you get to the root of the problem. You deserve to have an enjoyable and pain-free experience, both in and out of the bedroom! 

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