It is natural for new mothers to feel low both physically, emotionally and psychologically after childbirth. Fathers also bear the emotional brunt of childbirth.
Both new parents can experience a drop in their libido during the first 6-9 months after the baby’s birth. It is very important for the mother to understand her body and give it some time for recovery, it is even more important for her partner to be by her side during this time.
“Post-partum hormones are responsible in making the new mother feel low on sex-drive. The first six weeks – Puerperium, are the hardest, both physically and emotionally. Also, low Estrogen levels makes the vagina dry and devoid of lubrication, so sexual intercourse is painful,” Dr Manjiri Mehta, Senior Consultant Gynaecologist and Obstetrician, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi – A Fortis Network Hospital.
However, it is important to understand ‘when’ it is safe to have sex, more than ‘if’ you are ready to have sex – speak to your gynecologist to address this question.
Try to take some time off by engaging a babysitter or a close family member to look after the baby for a short time. Take this time to reconnect with each other’s bodies again; the release of Oxytocin is high when couples touch, hug and kiss each other. Hence, in the first 6 weeks even if intercourse is difficult, physical contact should be reestablished between the couple.
“Don’t compare sex to a battlefield, by that I mean that new moms judge dads for having sexual urges, whereas dads feel rejected and shame the new moms for their decreased sex drive; this doesn’t really help. Don’t let your relationship with your spouse get destroyed completely in an attempt to look after the baby; spending every waking minute with the baby will leave you no time for your partner,” the doctor added.
It is also important to try new things (sexual or otherwise), to re-establish bonds, create new bonds and build closeness. Find out what sparks intimacy between both of you, and work on it; there is no fixed formula for this so be creative and explore!
Just became parents? Consider doing this:
– Set-up date nights (once a week would be a good idea)
– Have one meal with your partner (here, talks about the baby are a no-no, or are to be kept minimal)
– Bring back her hobby (if the new mother loves to read, buy her a gift by her favourite author)
– Switch night-duty roles (this way both parents receive adequate rest, and may also be able to manage some intimate time)
– Take on household chores from the new mother, giving her a little more ‘me’ time (fathers can help with two or more household chores, this could include dishwashing, laundry, restocking the pantry, etc.)
– Leave her love/sex notes (leaving a little sex note for the mother may help have intimate conversations. It could be as simple as ‘how pretty you looked when you woke up today morning’)
– Try new positions (couples after a period of time to get used to a certain routine, break away from it, try a new position that is mutually exciting, don’t be
over-adventurous though-take it slow)
If the pain associated with intercourse I not reducing, visit your gynecologist, he or she could help you understand the problem better, and help resolve it.
You may also seek your doctor’s help to understand the ideal time when new mothers can start exercising. Once you start exercising, work on toning up your body, start doing Kegel’s and pelvic floor strengthening exercises, they are found to be extremely important especially after childbirth.