When researching for my Mindset Dad book I spoke to hundreds of frustrated new dads about the challenges they were facing, both physically and psychologically, and of course the way sex had changed in their relationship was a consistent theme. I have since helped couples navigate this delicate topic, and in this article, we will explore seven secrets that new parents need to know, offering valuable tips to navigate this transformative phase of life.
Becoming a parent is a profound and life-altering experience, and it can have a significant impact on your romantic and sexual relationship. While the arrival of a new baby brings immense joy and love, it also presents challenges and adjustments, particularly when it comes to your intimate life.
When is it safe to have sex again after having a baby?
The first question on many new parents’ minds is when it’s safe to resume sexual activity after childbirth. While the exact timing can vary depending on individual circumstances, medical professionals typically recommend waiting until after the postpartum checkup, which usually occurs around six weeks after delivery. This period allows the body to heal, and it’s essential to follow your healthcare provider’s advice to ensure your safety.
However, it’s crucial to remember that the six-week mark is a general guideline. Some couples may feel ready to resume sexual activity sooner, while others may need more time. Always prioritise open communication with your partner and consult your healthcare provider to ensure that you’re both physically and emotionally prepared.
Sex after birth: how your sexual relationship might change
After having a baby your sexual relationship can be a vastly different experience for new parents. Understanding these changes is essential for maintaining a healthy and satisfying intimate relationship.
1. Physical Changes:
- Vaginal Dryness: Hormonal changes postpartum can lead to vaginal dryness. Using a water-based lubricant can help alleviate discomfort during intercourse.
- Pelvic Floor Issues: Childbirth can weaken the pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises can help strengthen them, improving sexual function and comfort.
- Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding may decrease oestrogen levels, affecting vaginal lubrication. Staying well-hydrated and using lubricants can help with this issue.
2. Emotional Changes:
- Fatigue: New parents often experience exhaustion due to sleepless nights and round-the-clock care giving. Finding time for intimacy can be challenging but is essential. Consider napping when the baby does or seeking support from family and friends.
- Emotional Connection: Parenthood can bring a deeper emotional connection between partners. Use this newfound bond to enhance intimacy.
3. Time Constraints:
- Schedule Sex: It may sound unromantic, but scheduling intimate moments can be a practical solution for busy new parents. Setting aside time ensures you prioritise your sexual relationship.
Birthing mothers: how your body will change
For birthing mothers, the postpartum period involves significant physical and emotional changes. Understanding these changes is crucial to feeling comfortable and confident in your body.
1. Healing Process:
- Vaginal Delivery: If you had a vaginal birth, you might experience soreness and swelling. Using cold packs and pain relief medications can provide relief.
- C-section: C-section recovery can take longer. It’s essential to follow your doctor’s instructions and avoid strenuous activities.
2. Emotional Adjustment:
- Body Image: Many new mothers grapple with body image concerns postpartum. Remember that your body has accomplished an incredible feat, and give yourself time to adjust.
- Hormonal Shifts: Hormonal changes can affect mood and libido. Be patient with yourself, and communicate with your partner about your feelings.
- Breast Changes: Breastfeeding can cause breast enlargement and tenderness. It’s crucial to communicate with your partner about your comfort levels during intimate moments.
- Milk Leakage: Some women experience milk leakage during intercourse. Using breast pads can help manage this issue.
The man’s perspective
While much of the focus is often on the birthing mother, it’s essential to consider the man’s perspective as well. Men may also experience physical and emotional changes after becoming parents.
1. Emotional Adjustments:
- New Role: Becoming a father is a significant transition. Men may experience anxiety, stress, and changes in their emotional well-being. Open communication with their partner is vital.
- Supportive Role: Supporting their partner during pregnancy and postpartum can strengthen the relationship. Offering help with baby care and household chores can alleviate stress.
2. Physical Changes:
- Sleep Deprivation: Like mothers, fathers also experience sleepless nights. This can lead to fatigue, which can affect sexual desire. Finding moments of rest and relaxation is crucial.
3. Understanding Partners:
- Communication: Discussing desires, concerns, and feelings with their partner fosters understanding and intimacy.
- Patience: Patience is essential as both partners adapt to their new roles. Remember that it’s normal for sexual frequency and dynamics to change temporarily.
Rebuilding intimacy after having a baby requires effort and understanding from both partners. Here are some tips to help you reconnect and rekindle your passion:
1. Start Slowly:
- Begin with non-sexual intimacy, such as cuddling, kissing, and hugging. Gradually progress to more intimate activities.
- Talk openly about your desires, concerns, and expectations. Be attentive to your partner’s needs and feelings.
3. Be Patient:
- Understand that it may take time to feel comfortable and confident in your new roles as parents and as sexual partners. Avoid rushing the process.
4. Seek Support:
- Don’t hesitate to seek support from a therapist, counseller or coach if you’re facing challenges in your intimate life. They can provide guidance and strategies to navigate these changes effectively.
5. PRIORITISE Self-Care:
- Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally is essential. This includes getting enough rest, eating well, and finding moments for self-care.
Incorporating these tips and understanding the changes that come with parenthood can help new parents maintain a fulfilling and satisfying sexual relationship. Remember that every couple’s journey is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
The key is to communicate openly, support each other, and embrace the new chapter in your lives with love and understanding. Read more on how to rebuild intimacy here.
Clinical Study Reference: According to a study published (2019), titled “Postpartum Female Sexual Function” researchers found that most women experience a decline in sexual function during the postpartum period, including decreased sexual desire and satisfaction.
However, these issues tend to improve over time with 89% of women resuming sexual activity within 6 months of giving birth, emphasising the importance of patience and communication between partners during this phase.
If this is a concern in your relationship or you would like to improve the intimacy, affection and passion to redevelop the connection, drop me a message below and let’s see if you’re right for one of our programs.