Having a baby is a truly exciting time in a person's life. Everything changes: your sleeping schedule, your day-to-day responsibilities, your priorities, your body... Oh, yes, and let's not forget: your sex life.
While some new moms may feel ready to jump back into the sheets, others may be hesitant — and that's perfectly normal.
"Post-pregnancy can often be a time of mixed emotions when it comes to sex," sex expert and educator at TooTimid, Bethany Ricciardi tells SheKnows. "The bodily and hormonal changes that occur can really dampen a woman's desire to have sex."
Ricciardi continues to say that even people who had the easiest of pregnancies — and the mildest of delivery complications — are bound to encounter certain discomforts or hormonal fluctuations that make easing into post-pregnancy sex a little tentative. "Add to that a new infant who requires all of her attention and who robs her of precious sleep," she says, "and you don't exactly have the recipe for seduction."
Typically, post-childbirth, an OB-GYN will insist on a six-week hiatus from sexual intercourse because the body needs to heal before resuming. And even after weeks of healing, your body may not feel the same as it once did. From engorged breasts (due to producing milk) and possible weight gain, stretch marks or C-section scars to a sore, dry vagina and fatigue, it makes perfect sense you may not feel as sexy as you once did, let alone ready for a romp.
"Being cognizant of these changes in yourself — or in your partner — are important to knowing when you (or she) will be ready to resume sex," Ricciardi says.
And that's the first rule of post-pregnancy sex: ensuring you're truly ready.
"If you have pain or discomfort when doing normal tasks or exercise, it may be wise to consult your OB-GYN before attempting intercourse," Ricciardi says. "If you feel fine physically and your doctor has given you the OK to resume sex, then it is most likely a good time to regain that intimacy with your partner."
Once you've established you are, the next step is knowing exactly which sex positions will be most comfortable for you — so as to not create any added trauma to the vagina, as it may still be tender.
Here are the four best post-pregnancy sex positions according to Ricciardi.
Choosing any woman-on-top position — including the cowgirl, the seated scissors or reverse missionary — means that you can control insertion, depth, speed and clitoral stimulation. "By taking control of all of this, she can ease herself into intercourse in a way that literally makes her the most comfortable," Ricciardi says.
"Sometimes fatigue may plague the new mom, so getting on top may not be choice No. 1," Ricciardi says. "In these instances, rear-entry positions may work nicely." However, if you have had any perineum tearing, "this position may not be comfortable,” she adds.
"Spooning can also be a wonderful position because it is intimate, not very deep-penetrating, and he is laying behind her," Ricciardi says. "So if she is at all conscious about her bodily changes, this takes the focus from her body."
Another plus? Your partner can reach around and stimulate your clit.
Ah, the old tried-and-true: the missionary position.
"Missionary position is a popular choice due to its extremely intimate face-to-face positioning, clitoral rubbing, which can aid in orgasm and normal penetration depth," Ricciardi notes.
Regardless of the position you choose, resuming sex is a healthy next step post-pregnancy — again, as long as you're ready. It'll benefit both you and your partner in the long run.
"Having that intimacy with your partner is important to your sexual health and happiness as well as his," Ricciardi says. "Sex decreases stress, increases happiness, aids in better sleep and builds a stronger parental unit overall. Never feel guilty about giving some time to your partner — or yourself!"
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