Back in the saddle: sex after baby

Talk it out ... Communication is the key to getting back to your old raunchy ways.
Talk it out ... Communication is the key to getting back to your old raunchy ways. 

So you’re a mum - congratulations! Whether you’re new to the parenting world or have been a mother for a while now, you might evenually find your thoughts – and conversations with your partner – turning to the very thing that got you into this situation in the first place: sex. You might find yourself fantasising about when you can get back into the saddle, so to speak … or wondering if you’ll ever have the energy to try again.

The good news is that once your body has healed after the labour and birth, you’re good to go. Sexual Health Australia recommends waiting for at least six weeks to make sure no infection occurs, and many mums prefer to wait until they’ve had the go-ahead from their doctor or midwife, but ultimately it’s up to you and your partner. Getting back to it certainly has its advantages – the hormones released during sex cause contractions that help the uterus return to its normal state, and the physical closeness can strengthen the bond you have with your partner. And, of course, it can feel darn good too!

But not all mums of young babies are ready to have sex again; some can take months, or even longer, to get back into the swing of things. It’s really not surprising if you’re feeling this way – there’s a cocktail of new hormones swirling in your body, you’re over-tired, your tummy isn’t quite what it once was, and you’re trying to adjust to life with a brand new human living in your home … hardly the recipe for feeling super sexy!

And it’s not just you – your partner might not have his pre-baby libido back, either. He might be exhausted and anxious about being a dad, he might be worried about hurting you ‘down there’, or he may be having trouble dealing with the idea of you being a sexy woman and the mother of his child. To get through this time as a couple you’ll need to discuss any problems either of you are having, talking openly about when each of you is ready to get back into it.

When you do decide to resume your raunchy romps, it’s important to keep in mind that without contraception, you could get pregnant again. If you don’t fancy having another child in the next year, it’s vital you use a contraceptive, such as condoms, or, after six weeks, a diaphragm or IUD. If you’re not breastfeeding, you can also take the pill. Some mums also use the lactational amenorrhoea method, which is based around breastfeeding, but you should talk to your doctor or midwife before relying on this method.

Eventually you might find your thoughts turning to the very thing that got you into this situation in the first place: sex

Once you’ve decided to go for it again, your partner is ready too, and you’ve got the contraception sorted, you might be tempted to go at it the way you used to – after all, you probably know what works what for you both. But it’s a good idea to take it slow, building up to things gradually, to make sure you’re both okay with what’s happening. Here are some other ideas to make sure it all goes smoothly:

  • You might want to avoid penetration the first few times, concentrating on oral sex instead.
  • Spend more time on foreplay, kissing and caressing, to help you both get aroused.
  • Until your hormone levels are back to normal your vagina won't lubricate itself very well, so try using a water-soluble lubricant.
  • You may also find that having a warm bath first can help – if your tub is big enough, invite him in!
  • If at any point you feel pain – especially if you had an episiotomy – stop and let your partner know immediately.
  • Don’t just revisit your old favourite positions – try new ones too. You might find that what worked before isn’t so great now ... and vice versa!