London - Sex is understandably the last thing on a woman’s mind just after giving birth – but one in ten are waiting as long as six months or more before making love again.
Many appear to be putting it off for longer than previous generations, researchers say.
Exhaustion, pain and women’s self-consciousness about their bodies were the main reasons they were delaying intimacy.
Three-quarters of new mothers do not resume their love lives until some time after the six-week health check-up. But many women in the Seventies were sexually active again two to four weeks after giving birth.
Although no comparative figures are available, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service researchers claim more now seem to be delaying sex.
The charity said its research showed nature allowed a “wide timetable” for women to resume lovemaking, and there was no set deadline.
It also said new mothers who do start having sex soon after birth often become pregnant unexpectedly before their baby’s first birthday because they did not realise they could become fertile again within a month of having a baby.
BPAS said they wanted prompt advice on contraception, and called for better provision of sexual health clinics specifically for new mothers.
It suggested giving women advice before their six-week post-natal check when sex is usually discussed after it found that fewer than a quarter of mothers said it was easy to get their chosen contraceptive.
Clare Murphy, of BPAS, said: “There is no set time to start having sex again after having a baby.
“All that should matter for women is that it feels right for them and that they have access to the contraception best suited to their needs if they wish to avoid another pregnancy straight away.
“We regularly see women experiencing unplanned pregnancy in the year after giving birth. Contraception and sexual health clinics dedicated to the needs of women with young children would be welcome.”
BPAS asked 1 350 members of the Bounty parenting club about when they resumed sex. Almost a quarter of new mothers had sex within six weeks, but more than one in ten waited more than six months.
The women who waited longest were those who had an emergency caesarean section, tissue damage during birth or surgical intervention to make delivery easier.
Around 85 percent of first-time mothers delivering naturally had tears or required episiotomies, and this had a major effect on their love life.
Fewer than 20 percent of these started having sex within six weeks, rising to 60 percent at three months, 90 percent by six months and three percent after a year. Women who had a planned Caesarean or a natural birth with no tissue damage were most likely to resume sex within six weeks.
Research shows almost one in five new fathers did not resume sex for more than three months, partly over concerns for their partner. - Daily Mail