Navigating intimacy after childbirth: Top five things specialists want you to know about sex and pleasure

Picture by Jonathan Borba /Pexels

Picture by Jonathan Borba /Pexels

Published Jul 4, 2023


The journey of becoming a mother is filled with joy, love, and countless changes. However, it is important to acknowledge that the postpartum period can also bring about challenges, one of which is the uneasiness many new mothers experience when it comes to resuming intimacy with their partners.

A common misconception among new mothers is the notion that you’ll be ready for sex six weeks after giving birth. It’s important to create room to give ourselves and embrace our postpartum bodies, however they show up.

Writing for Goop, reproductive psychotherapist Sarah Oreck, MD, who works with postpartum women, said the idea of “bounce-back culture” is a function of patriarchy.

A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that over 60% of women experienced decreased sexual desire in the postpartum period. And 75% of new parents reported a decline in their sex life during the first year after childbirth.

After giving birth, here are the top five things specialists want you to know about sex and pleasure.

Physical Changes: The body undergoes significant physical changes during and after pregnancy, including hormonal fluctuations, vaginal dryness and healing from childbirth.

These factors can contribute to discomfort or pain during sexual activity, causing new mothers to be apprehensive.

Your organs change to make room for a baby, and not everything ends up where it was. Meaning your body is going to feel different from how it did before pregnancy when you resume sex after giving birth.

For example, your G-spot may be in a new location because of the way the internal structure of your clitoris settled against your vaginal canal.

Emotional Adjustments: Motherhood brings forth a range of overwhelming emotions, including exhaustion, anxiety, and a re-focusing of priorities. These emotional shifts can affect a woman’s desire for and ability to engage in intimate activities.

Open and honest communication: Initiate open discussions about fears, desires, and expectations surrounding intimacy. Creating a safe space for dialogue can help partners understand each other’s needs and concerns.

Before returning to partnered sex, go solo: Unanimously, experts advise their new mamas to explore touch solo before bringing partnered touch back into the mix.

Seeking Professional Support: If physical discomfort persists or emotional hurdles seem insurmountable, seek guidance from healthcare professionals such as gynaecologists, therapists, or couples’ counsellors.

They can provide invaluable advice and support tailored to individual circumstances.

Postpartum uneasiness when it comes to resuming intimacy is a common experience for many new mothers.

Navigating intimacy after childbirth can be challenging for new mothers due to physical changes, emotional adjustments, and self-consciousness.

Understanding each other’s concerns and seeking open communication is pivotal for couples to rebuild their physical and emotional connections.

By embracing patience, seeking professional support when needed, and practising self-care, couples can embark on this journey together, celebrating the beautiful balance between parenthood and intimacy.