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Common sexual problems after having a baby

Too tired to be in the mood? Getting back the feelings after childbirth means allowing your body to heal and your emotions to settle down.

intimacy struggles for new parents

Everything changes when you welcome a baby into your life. The joy of new parenthood comes with less sleep, more responsibility, new emotions, and – no surprise – adjustments to your pre-pregnancy sex life. It’s not uncommon for couples to discover that there are challenges and problems to work through following the birth of their baby.

resuming sex

Many doctors recommend waiting four to six weeks after the birth before resuming intercourse. This allows time for the cervix to close and tears from assisted vaginal delivery using forceps or suction to heal. Initiating sexual relationships may be painful at first, but the pain should diminish in a short amount of time. If it persists, talk to your doctor. Normally cesarean births will result in less painful sex during the first three months after the birth, and many women find that their vaginal tone is unchanged. If you’re not ready to resume intercourse, there are other sexual activities to engage in. The one thing to avoid is oral sex performed by the man on the woman – it could introduce an infection into a healing womb or on rare occassions can cause a fatal event known as air embolism. All other love play that you are both comfortable with can be appropriate for now.

emotional issues

Many new mothers find that feelings for the new baby impact their sex lives. Your partner may feel that you’re pushing him away when in truth you are simply exhausted from lack of sleep and the amount of time you spend caring for the baby. Emotional issues can take the form of anxiety, uncertainty, and moodiness. Be patient with yourself – it takes some time to start feeling more like your old self!


If the delivery was long and difficult, women sometimes feel anxious about the possibility of getting pregnant again too soon. Men who have watched a spouse go through the pain of a difficult birth might be reluctant to resume relationships quickly. Working to keep your relationship one of mutual trust and respect will help you overcome emotional obstacles and renew the feelings you had for one another before you became parents. Give yourself time to work through any lingering anxiety.

Body issues

Childbirth brings on numerous hormone changes, so you may not feel very sexy in the first months after you give birth. Women are also frequently uncomfortable with the changes their pregnancy and the birth have made to their bodies. It’s not unusual for new moms to be reluctant to resume intimate relationships with their partners until they resolve these body issues.

Practice makes perfect

Don’t expect that everything will instantly return to normal. Both the mother and father should realize that lovemaking may not go perfectly in the initial months after the baby arrives. Women generally start to regain their normal sexual drive within a few months after giving birth. Patience and respect will help a loving couple meet these new challenges to their relationship.


More on new moms:

Simple ways to boost your sex drive

Restart your sex drive

How to deal with your post-baby body

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