Help For Moms
Postpartum is defined as the six-week period after childbirth. This time is vital and sacred, both for the mother and her child. Through this adjustment period, you may experience perinatal discomfort such as dryness or tight muscles (resulting in painful intercourse), changes in emotional state, and body dissatisfaction. Many women over-look how much childbirth can affect their sex life and subsequent sexual experiences.
Since hormones are key components of healthy sexual response, low levels of testosterone-related hormones, estrogens, and DHEA-S can contribute to low sex drive. During and after pregnancy, a woman's body undergoes significant shifts in hormone levels, contributing to a loss of libido. Other factors such as stress, sleep deprivation, breast-feeding, and restricted calorie intake may also have an impact on libido.
We also created a free Postpartum E-Book. Download it now!
Many women express that they did not feel adequately prepared for the Postpartum phase of childbirth and the many ways it could affect their sex lives. At Maze, our all-female team of experts treat both the medical and psychological factors associated with low sex drive, orgasm challenges, painful intercourse and hormonal imbalances. If you are experiencing any of these issues, know that you are not alone and treatment is available. Contact us for a free phone consultation to see how we can help.
How long should I wait to have sex after pregnancy?
Well, that depends on several variables. And it depends upon what you mean by “sex”. If you’re asking about intercourse, it’s generally best to wait until you have your standard six-week postpartum visit with your midwife or OBGYN. Why? Because it takes 6 weeks for the uterus to shrink back down to its normal pear-like size. We refer to the first 3 months postpartum as the “Fourth Trimester” because it is a time of great recovery for a new mom’s body. And the first 6 weeks require special reverence.
That said, if you would like to engage sexually with your partner sans penetration before your visit, we recommend checking in with your provider for safety’s sake. Most women aren’t necessarily ready for a return to sex soon after the baby arrives. The biggest factor that determines when you can have sex postpartum is how you are feeling. You’ve just birthed a human, you’re in recovery, you’re sleep-deprived, you’re experiencing a hormonal shift, of which your body has never known (nor will it ever again). You might be experiencing postpartum anxiety or depression (1 in 5 women report some type of perinatal mood and anxiety disorder). Are you breast feeding (which causes a natural dip in sex drive)? Do you have any/enough support? Are you getting any rest? Is your baby healthy? Do you have other children? All of these factors can influence libido and how long you should wait to have sex.
I’m experiencing pain during sex postpartum – help!
If you’re past the six-week postpartum mark and you are experiencing pain during sex, talk to your midwife or OBGYN, or come see us at Maze Women’s Health. We’ll provide you with a comprehensive initial appointment, diagnosis and treatment options. Motherhood requires rest and recovery, but it doesn’t mean you can’t return to a satisfying sex life. Don’t let postpartum pain be a barrier to pleasure (even if you have to plan a bit more to get some)!
How long do Postpartum symptoms last?
Every new mother is unique, and no postpartum symptom is universal. That said, many women experience similar physical symptoms, depending upon whether they had a vaginal or cesarean birth, whether they had medical intervention during their labor/delivery, their medical/prenatal history, whether they are bottle or breast feeding, how their recovery is progressing, whether they are getting adequate nutrition, rest and support, etc. And 1 in 5 new moms report a mood/anxiety disorder (ranging from the benign “baby blues” to more serious postpartum depression, OCD, etc.). Because every woman is different and her circumstances can vary widely, it’s impossible to pinpoint an exact trajectory for healing.
Many women who experienced low-risk pregnancies, labors and births feel more like themselves by the time the Fourth Trimester is complete. No one should suffer in silence – whether discomfort or pain is behavioral or physiological, women should reach out to their care providers for help.
Postpartum Help - Dr. Bat Sheva and Jennifer Dembo (LMSW & Postpartum Support Specialist)
Other questions? Not sure if we can help? Take the next step and contact us for a free phone consultation.