Having a baby with someone you love can bring you together in many ways. However, it can also change your intimate relationship—and not always for the better. With a little effort and knowledge, that doesn’t have to be the case. You and your partner can have a safe and happy sex life during pregnancy and beyond. Lupe Cruz, CNM, DNP and LDS Hospital Certified Nurse Midwife gives advice on how to make this a smooth transition.
Healthy communication is the key in any relationship. Talk about the following issues to get you and your partner on the same page regarding intimacy during pregnancy.
- Discuss body image concerns – Changes during pregnancy (i.e. gaining weight, enlarged and sore breasts) can leave you feeling self-conscious or unattractive. Open up to your partner about how you’re feeling.
- Your partner may be hesitant to be intimate during pregnancy and soon afterward. Know that sex does not harm the baby and is safe during any stage of the pregnancy unless otherwise specified by your provider.
- With all of the changes happening in your lives, it can be easy to put off talking about your needs and wants in your intimate relationship. Men have sex to feel close to their partner. In contrast, women need to feel close to their partner in order to have sex. This is even true during pregnancy, when hormones can leave women more inclined than ever to have sex. Take time to discuss your needs and wants with your partner.
Early Postpartum period
It’s important to communicate intimate needs during pregnancy, and even more important after the baby arrives. Although most doctors recommend avoiding intercourse during the 6 weeks after delivering a baby, you can still experience other kinds of intimacy with your partner. If you have stitches from childbirth this may further delay the healing process. Talk to your provider about when it’s safe to resume sexual activity.
She may have sore breasts and right now they belong to her baby. Her body and belly maybe sore from delivery. Her ankles may be swollen. Her hormone levels have dropped significantly. This combined with general lack of sleep means she will be emotional. Comfort her during this period and watch for signs of depression.
He may feel left out and unnecessary. He will be fatigued in a different way and may not know how to help. Remember communication.
Touch is important – even though one of you may feel over touched and the other may feel under touched. Talk about what feels good and what doesn’t. Remind each other daily that you are still attractive to one another. Plan dates, cuddle, and kiss. Be present when you are together. Don’t hurry back into sexual activity – just take time for each other. Do whatever makes you feel close and comfortable together without the baby in the same room.
Will I still have the same sex drive after baby?
- If you had a normal sex drive before pregnancy, it should return after recovery. The same is true if you had a low or high sex drive. All things should return to your pre-pregnancy state. In some cases, your libido increases during pregnancy and may stay high, even after you recover from delivery.
- It’s important to note that after delivery, your vagina may seem drier due to a decrease in hormones. This can also happen for breastfeeding mothers. Instead of avoiding sex, spend extra time on foreplay and consider using a personal lubricant.
Your intimate relationships during pregnancy and after the birth of your baby do not have to suffer. With extra care, you and your partner can enjoy the romance and relationship that you did pre-pregnancy.
For more information visit LDSHospital.org/healthyliving
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