Most expectant moms worry about what their sex life might look like after the baby arrives. With all the loose abdominal skin, enlarged breasts, stretch marks, scars, and excess weight it’s no wonder pregnant women and new moms have a hard time picturing themselves hopping in the sack with the same desire and self-confidence as before.
Since the days of partying until the wee hours, traveling to a new country on a two-day notice are behind you, it’s only natural that in this new role you find yourself worrying about two things – your libido and satisfying your partner’s sexual appetite when your lives are literally turned upside down.
Our couple’s guide offers insight into the changes that you and your partner can expect in the first year following the arrival of your baby, as well as some useful tips on how to overcome the obvious challenges and enjoy each other sexually even though so many things are now different.
What’s new in the bedroom?
Having sex and being intimate with your partner is tough once the baby comes. Undoubtedly, couples have less time and feel more tired, in addition to all the hormones still running wild and questions about post-pregnancy birth control arising rapidly.
If you and your partner lose interest in sex it’s no problem, but if your sexual desires differ, the relationship will be under some added stress.
For most couples, things return back to normal, but adjusting to the new circumstances definitely takes time and patience.
Speaking of normal, every couple is different and their post-baby sexual habits depend on a variety of factors, with time and mood being at the forefront. According to a survey conducted by a group of editors from WhatToExpect.com that included 1,200 new moms, the results show that couples of any age have sex one to two times per week on average in the first year after the baby comes, regardless of whether it’s their first or second child.
More than half of surveyed women say they first revisit sex two or more months after the birth of their child, and some even compare having sex to getting back in shape – the hardest part is to ‘get their behinds off the couch’.
If you find your sexual relationship has suffered more than expected, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t talk to your GP or your gynaecologist about it.
What do other couples do?
Getting creative is essential and as new parents, you need to find new ways to incorporate sex into your daily or weekly routine. During the first year, most couples say the solution is to get busy while the baby is in the room.
It’s important to note that the frequency of having sex doesn’t depend much on age, but younger and older moms disagree on whether they should do it with the baby within earshot. Moms aged 18 to 24 are more likely to agree to have sex with the baby in the room than moms aged 30 to 34, and this can definitely affect how often a couple has intercourse.
Scientifically speaking, a baby in the bedroom is no cause for concern. Research shows that children younger than three don’t retain memories in the long-run, and most kids only have a vague recollection of anything that happens before their seventh birthday.
In other words, you and your partner have nothing to worry about when it comes to exposing the baby to your sex life.
Birth control after a baby
As new parents, you might not be ready to consider having another child just yet, which is why it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about birth control suitable for new moms.
Your doctor might bring it up when you and the baby come in for your six-week check-up for several reasons, the two most important ones being that it’s safe to start having sex again about 1.5 months following the birth of your baby, and not all birth control methods are suitable for breastfeeding moms.
You might have heard that it’s unlikely you’ll get pregnant if you’re breastfeeding day and night, don’t give your baby any other food, the baby is less than six months old, and your period isn’t back yet.
However, there is no guarantee, and if you have sex, chances are you could get pregnant.
Rebuild your intimacy
You might be confused if you’re not interested in sex, and your partner might feel like a sperm donor who has outlived his purpose. This is all perfectly normal, and you can start working on rebuilding your intimacy before you actually have sex again.
Talk and share your feelings, put the baby in the stroller and go for a walk once the baby is asleep, or go have lunch together outside the house.
Cuddle and rest together, and remember there are many ways of giving and receiving sexual pleasure, and those small steps will definitely help you reconnect.