Sexuality and U
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Sexual Health

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When is it safe to have sex ?

When is it safe to have sex after having a baby? You may be physically able to have sex as soon as 2 weeks after delivery if you had only a small tear or none at all, but most women wait at least 4 to 6 weeks, or until they get the OK from their health care provider. It all depends on the type of delivery you had, how difficult it was, how many stitches you needed, and any complications in your pregnancy.

A difference

There might be a big difference between when you are physically able to have sex versus when you feel emotionally ready, and actually want to have sex. The postpartum period is a time of huge changes in your body, your hormones, your lifestyle, your sense of self and your relationship. Lack of sleep, the constant demands of your newborn, your changing body image, and any anxieties about motherhood can have a negative impact on your sexual desire, and your partner may also be experiencing similar feelings.

The right time for you to resume intimacy is, therefore, a very individual decision. Some couples get back to their previous level of sexual activity with few problems, but for most couples this requires some time, adjustment and communication. Even if sex is the last thing on your mind, it is important to nurture the bond with your partner in non-sexual ways to maintain your relationship as a couple, not just as parents.

Reconnect

Take some time each day to reconnect with each other by talking, cuddling, or sharing an activity you both enjoy. Accept offers from trusted friends and family to baby-sit, and go on a “date”. When you decide to become sexual, it is important to communicate with each other about your feelings and expectations. Set the mood with candles and music. Relax with a bath, or give each other massages.

Remember, things don’t have to start off with vaginal intercourse right away. You can work up to that with other activities (like kissing, touching, masturbation or oral sex) that feel good to you.

WHEN TO BE WORRIED: Postpartum Depression

Although reduced sexual desire is very common in the postpartum period, it can also be a sign of postpartum depression. Many women experience some moodiness, sadness and anxiety in the days following delivery (the so-called “baby blues”) but this normally improves within a couple weeks.

If you are experiencing prolonged or very intense sadness, or if you have any thoughts of harming yourself or the baby you need to get some help right away! You can talk to friends or family, but you should also get help from a professional too, so call your health care provider, a counselor or crisis centre.