WHO IS KNECT FOR: POSTPARTUM
There are so many wonderful experiences that come with being a parent. But it’s also completely normal for new anxieties to crop up after having a baby - one being resuming sexual intimacy postpartum. Whether you’ve given birth naturally or by C-section, the changes your body experiences during childbirth can have a knock-on effect when it comes to being intimate with your partner. This, paired with all the new anxieties motherhood can bring, may not only disrupt your natural lubrication process, but lead to a drop in libido - which is completely normal!
Here we answer some of the most common questions sex and intimacy questions asked after having a baby - and let you in on how Knect may help you reconnect with yourself, and your partner, again.
HOW LONG AFTER HAVING A BABY CAN I HAVE SEX?
Contrary to popular belief, there’s no ‘set time’ that you can return to sexual activity after you’ve had a baby. All manner of factors are at play, from the difficulty of the birth, to your general mental state.
Generally speaking, health professionals recommend a minimum of four to six weeks after giving birth, whether vaginally or through a C-section. The birth canal is at the highest risk of postpartum complications around two weeks afterwards.
During these two weeks your body will be going through a host of changes which you may not have expected if you’re a first time parent. Here’s a list of the most common:
- Heavy, bright red discharge (which can be helped with pads)
- Tender breasts as they prepare for lactation
- Problems going to the loo (plus piles – the fun never stops as a parent!)
- The ‘baby blues’ as your oestrogen and progesterone levels dip (never feel afraid to open up to your partner, a loved one or a medical professional about how you’re feeling emotionally)
- Vaginal dryness – again, thanks to a dip in those hormones
IS IT NORMAL TO EXPERIENCE DRYNESS AFTER HAVING A BABY?
In a word… yes!
Experiencing vaginal dryness is a common complaint amongst people who have recently given birth, especially for parents who choose to breastfeed.
Oestrogen and progesterone are produced in a woman’s ovaries - these hormones are what trigger big lifetime events like puberty, breast development and menstruation. During menstruation, oestrogen and progesterone cause a build-up in your uterus; if a fertilised egg isn’t implanted in this lining, hormone levels drop and the uterine wall is shed each month as a period.
HOW DOES THE MENOPAUSE AFFECT YOUR SEX DRIVE?
Whilst pregnant, oestrogen and progesterone levels soar much higher than usual, and instead of the uterine lining being discarded, it develops into a placenta. Then placenta then begins brewing its own batch of hormones - so yes, you are definitely allowed to play the hormonal card whilst pregnant!
After giving birth, this influx of hormones dramatically drops. In fact, your body's hormone level tends to return to your pre-pregnancy levels within 24 hours of you giving birth. Oestrogen is a key hormone for sexual arousal, it helps boost the flow of blood to your genitals and increase vaginal lubrication - so, this lack of oestrogen postpartum is the main reason women experience dryness after having a baby.
HOW DOES BREASTFEEDING AFFECT VAGINAL DRYNESS?
Whilst nursing, your body will produce less of the hormone oestrogen, which can cause the vaginal tissue to become thinner and drier than usual. But don’t worry - this doesn’t last forever! Once your little one starts to wean and your body stops lactating, your hormones should level out and you’ll hopefully be back to your usual self.
Of course, being the parent of a newborn may result in you deprioritising sex and intimacy - which is totally OK. However, if you and your partner are trying to reconnect, you can use Knect’s water-based lubricant to help make you feel more comfortable, relieving any vaginal dryness you may be experiencing. If your symptoms continue past the nursing stage, or you’re generally alarmed by any changes in your body - always consult a GP.
HOW HAVING A BABY CAN AFFECTS YOUR SEX LIFE
As mentioned before, your sex life will most likely be on the backburner in the first few months after having a baby - and this is completely normal! Between night feeds, nappy changes and adapting to a new lifestyle, the last thing you’re probably in the mood for is sex.
The main thing to enjoy after having a baby… is your baby! It’s normal for your relationship to take a back step when you have a newborn, so try not to feel guilty for not prioritising your partner or spending as much time together as you used to (the same goes for you if you’re the partner in this situation!). Enjoy the precious newborn moments with your baby but don’t feel pressure to be exactly the same couple used to be - you’re parents now!
However, if you do find yourself ready to start reintroducing intimacy, here are a few ways to enhance your postpartum sexual experience:
As water-based lubricants are the most similar to your body’s natural wetness, Knect will help relieve any dryness, whilst also enhancing any intimate moments.
Not only do kegel exercises help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles postpartum, they can also help improve the sensations in your vagina (who knows, it may even feel better than before!)
Keeping your whole body hydrated will naturally help keep things flowing and help with your body's recovery from birth.
Intimacy doesn’t just relate to intercourse. If you don’t feel 100% comfortable being intimate in the bedroom just yet, focus on the little moments during the day that help you and your partner stay connected. Whether that be a tender embrace in the morning, or offering to change the millionth nappy explosion of the day - these small acts of intimacy will help keep the spark alive whilst you focus on the new addition to your family.
Open communication is key in these situations. Be open with your partner about when you’re ready to start things up again; as we’ve mentioned, there is no set time to jump back in, it completely depends on when you and your partner feel ready together.
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR ABOUT POSTPARTUM VAGINAL DRYNESS?
We’d recommend always speaking to a health care provider if something feels wrong with your body. Whether that be your healthcare visitor, midwife or GP, don’t be afraid to reach out if your postpartum symptoms persist, if you feel any pain or discomfort, or if you’re concerned in any way.
Trust us, no matter how uncomfortable you may feel, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about when bringing up these sorts of topics.