Post-Partum Sexuality

Michael Krychman MD

The birth of a new baby brings with it many joys and feelings of excitement. Post­delivery, the woman is often faced with a variety of biological, hormonal, and social changes that directly impact her sexual health and wellness.

Breast feeding is the time of maternal bonding. The cuddle hormone or Oxytocin is at its peak. However with this hormonal change that helps provide nourishment for the newborn, a woman may be suffering from severe vaginal dryness and painful intercourse. Your libido, sexual interest, or desire may be at an all­time low. Changes in hormones may also contribute to mood changes and feeling down or depressed.

Here are some helpful hints to navigate the 4th trimester or post­partum period.

Listen to your body

Fatigue, sleep deprivation, and stress can at times appear to be overwhelming. Rest when your baby is resting. Enlist the help of your support system. Be certain not to neglect yourself and plan special activities that allow you to recharge and nurture your spirit.

Communicate

Intimacy and sexuality may change as your family grows. Sexual connectedness need not only be about intercourse. There are other ways to maintain an intimate connection. Keep planning date night and special adult getaways together. Be creative and use your imagination.

Lubricate

If you are suffering from vaginal dryness or have an experience with painful intercourse, consider an over the counter lubricant. While both water and silicone­based products may be helpful, many women prefer the long­lasting quality of a silicone­based product since time to arousal or orgasm may be prolonged in the post­partum period.

Get Help

While many sexual health issues resolve, some may be persistent. Don’t be afraid to get professional help and a medical checkup. It’s not a sign of weakness. There are many health care professionals that specialize in the evaluation and treatment of sexual difficulties. Do not be afraid to speak to your obstetrician or gynecologist.