Straight from the Doc | Doctor Advice Sex After Baby
There’s a doctor in the house! Welcome our new contributor, Dr. Jennifer Frank, in her first post for MomCave. Doctor advice sex after baby.
I’ve been on both sides. Delivering babies and having my own delivered. Nothing can prepare you for the first time you meet the person you’ve gestated for nine long months. It is love at first sight – made possible in part by large amounts of oxytocin, the love hormone, surging through your veins. It’s nature’s equivalent of cocaine or shoe shopping – it hooks you and helps you bond with your baby. This is good because there will be a lot of crying, peeing, pooing, and spitting up in the next few months. You will definitely need some hormonal spackle to keep it all together.
Right after birth, your doctor gives you a generous gift – six weeks of the ultimate excuse. Better than a headache or your period. No sex allowed until you are all healed up. Your body, which just gave you a jolt of oxytocin to make you feel all relaxed and lovey, has some more hormonal surprises for you. All that wonderful estrogen you enjoyed during pregnancy that gave you big boobs and morning sickness dries up once you pop out your little darling. No estrogen is basically menopause – nature’s way of giving you a break before your next gestational adventure. But, this also means hot flashes and vaginal dryness. As an added bonus, if you are breastfeeding (which I strongly recommend – it’s healthiest for you and the baby), the prolactin that helps your body produce milk also can wreak havoc on any sexual desire that happened to survive pushing a watermelon out of…well, you know.
Getting Your Groove Back
So, what’s a girl to do to get her groove back? If you’re one of those lucky mommies who push three times, have no tears, wear your pre-pregnancy clothes home from the hospital, and start having sex after three weeks because you are feeling so horny, well, just shut up. If you’re like the remaining 99.7% of us, welcome to the club, girlfriend. It will take time, patience, and creativity. If things were amazing before pregnancy, they can be amazing again. If they were blah before pregnancy, it’s highly unlikely that the experience of having your vagina stretched to its limits and being on a hormonal roller coaster is going to heat it up for you. The good news is that a great sex life is possible after having a baby. The bad news is that, no matter how much pregnancy weight you lose, you will not be able to get your ass back into those skinny jeans.
The best advice I heard during my medical training was to “inebriate and lubricate”. Do this liberally in that first post-partum year. You may need some chemical relaxation to calm the near constant hum of tension that comes with being on continual alert for your newborn’s cries, burps, and coos. Plus, it could hurt. The last thing that happened down south involved (in no particular order) having your cervix checked by people you didn’t even recognize at least, a large and fairly firm head, a needle, scissors, and a pad the size of your grandfather’s Cadillac attached to underwear made out of a hairnet. Trust me – get a big glass and a bottle.
Try, try again
Remember the vaginal dryness? Well, that sucks. Do not – I repeat – do not do anything that hurts. Be willing to abandon the deed if you are in pain. But, you can prevent discomfort by lubricating generously. There’s no shame in that. Just think – your vagina is at war with your hormones. If you aren’t successful the first, second, or third time, it’s okay. It will get better.
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