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Painful Sex After Delivery? Here’s What Can Help Save Your Relationship

Painful sex after delivery can be traumatic for a couple, other than the fact that something can be really wrong. Meet your gynaecologist.

Painful sex after delivery can be traumatic for a couple, other than the fact that something can be really wrong. Meet your gynaecologist. 

Sex has always been a hush hush topic in our society. In any healthy sexual relationship it is important that the needs and comfort of both partners are taken into consideration. This requires them to be open with each other and have a good communication.

Sex should be an enjoyable experience for both men and women. If not, there is something to worry. Recurrent genital discomfort felt during or after an intercourse is painful sex, medically termed as Dyspareunia. You should talk to your partner, mother or anyone you feel comfortable with and get it examined by a doctor.

Facts say that 75% of women experience pain during sex, for some it happens occasionally, and for others it is persistent.

Most women feel that pain during sex is a regular episode and does not need to be reported. On the contrary, gynaecologists say that if you are experiencing pain during or after sex, you must get it diagnosed with your doctor once. Your body might be trying to give signals of something wrong in the system.

Why is sex after delivery painful?

Pregnancy and childbirth is transformative for women, and most women would experience many changes in their life after delivery. Be it a vaginal or cesarean delivery, the body and mind undergo numerous variations.

Every individual’s body responds differently. The degree of discomfort might vary from slight irritation to excruciating pain.

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This article aims to answer the following questions that may arise when a woman experiences pain during sex after delivering a child:

  • When is genital discomfort a cause of concern?
  • What are some factors that could make sex painful after childbirth?
  • When can sex be resumed after delivery, and what are some things that could minimize pain during intercourse?
  • What are some things a new mother could try to ease herself back into pleasurable sex?
  • How can your partner help if sex is painful after childbirth?

Some couples avoid having sex right from the last few months of pregnancy as a measure of precaution. In that case there will be a gap of almost five to six months since you last had sex. Hence, some amount of discomfort is certain.

So while it is not unusual to feel some pain and discomfort during the initial days of intercourse after delivery, gynaecologists suggest that sex should be avoided for some time after birth, until the woman feels comfortable about it. But, if the pain is persistent, it is advisable to visit your doctor.

The tiredness and exhaustion of 9 months of pregnancy, childbirth trauma, and the breastfeeding cycles that keep the new mother awake through nights can also lead to disinterest and dryness of the vagina leading to painful sex.

Many times expectant mothers read and hear from the fellow moms about their stories of painful sex after delivery. This can set a false expectation in their minds. And when they actually have postnatal sex, all they expect is a painful experience, instead of enjoying the long awaited affair.

However – caution is advised in those cases where the pain persists for a longer time; please do not push it aside as just “one of those things”. The hormonal, physiological, and even surgical changes that happen may have led to something that requires attention.

Painful sex after delivery – how long to wait?

There’s the obvious precaution of avoiding sex for at least four to six weeks as her body has just been through a huge change that needs a long period of recovery. Painful sex after delivery will not be pleasurable anyway, for either partner, so why not give more time for the new mother to recover?

Also, whenever the couple decides to resume having sex after delivery, using a condom is a good practice. The help of plentiful lubricants, creative positioning, and a consideration for emotional connect, foreplay and arousal, will go a long way in minimizing pain.

And of course, if the reason for painful sex after delivery is something more sinister, like an infection, or anything else that requires medical / surgical treatment, please make sure you get it.

What can you do to get back the pleasure?

For starters, go easy on your body. Being mentally prepared does not mean that your body is also ready for having sex again. Your healing body, hormonal changes, plus the tiny baby are a menacing combination.

painful sex after birth

Image source: a still from the film Shaadi ke Side Effects

Always remember, all new mothers are a mess; you’re are not alone in this journey. Many new moms face this issue of painful sex after delivery. Give it some time, “this too shall pass”. You CAN bring your exciting sex life back even with your baby aboard.

Here are a few things a new mom can try to ease herself back into pleasurable sex:

  • Exercise – Simple exercises or yoga positions can help to increase the blood circulation in your body. Also try simple workouts for toning the pelvic muscles. This will in turn help your vagina in reclaiming its original shape.
  • Use supportive aids – Good lubricants and supportive pillows prove to be helpful in gaining back the good sex.
  • Never shy away from your needs – Do what it takes in helping your body relax, be it a soothing body massage or that strong cup of cappuccino. Just take care to drink it right after nursing your baby, not during or before breastfeeding.
  • Be vocal about your concerns – Always have a good communication with your partner about what hurts you and what gives you pleasure. It is unfair to expect your husband to understand all your needs without expressing. He is your better half, not your mom.
  • Be creative with positions – Try new positions keeping in mind your stitches if you have. Picking the top position or side-to-side position are helpful in the initial attempts of sex after delivery.

Partners and spouses – your role in reducing painful sex after birth!

It is important for husbands to understand that it is not unusual for their partners to be uninterested in sex, compared to before having their baby. Childbirth is an excessively exhausting process for a woman, and taking care of a new born is quite taxing, especially for first time mothers. Added to that, there could be other factors like those mentioned above.

Sharing parenting duties is a good way to take the pressure off the new mother; after all, it is your baby too. Research says that men who share baby care are more attractive to their spouses. And look at the added benefit of bonding with the baby.

The spouses also need to be considerate about the sex itself. Painful sex after delivery needs to be taken care of, and nobody other the husband can support a new mother in bouncing back to her original self.

So hubbies buckle up, fatherhood duty calls!

Image source: Andy Dean Photography Free for Canva Pro, and March Sirawit Hengthabthim Free for Canva pro

Check with your doctor first

At Women's Web we try to bring you information on Fitness & Wellness topics of interest to you. This is not, however diagnostic or prescriptive information, so please do consult your doctor or therapist before using any of it.


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