I once was an admin on another ‘mommy page’ on facebook. The topic of ‘sex after baby’ came up. As sex was a frequent topic of discussion on this page.
So I asked the question:
How long after birth did you wait until you and your husband were intimate again?
I honestly could not believe my eyes at the responses I was reading. Some Mothers said five weeks. A few mentioned months. Which I understand because when you have an episiotomy, can bearly sit for weeks, you are squirting warm water on yourself after every time you go pee… yeah I don’t blame the ones who waited months. I am right there with ya! Then you add leaky breasts, trying to figure out breastfeeding, you are engorged, sleep deprived, feeling like a zombie, navigating guests and everyone wanting to see/hold the baby, remembering to eat and getting the swing of this Mommy thing. Yes, for most of us, sex is the last thing on our mind. After I had Ella, if someone would have said the word “sex” to me, I would have thought they were referring to the gender of my child, not the act that created this child.
One Mother on this Facebook Page hit a cord with me. She mentioned how she gave in to having sex the night after her c section surgery, in the hospital bed, because her husband couldn’t and did not want to wait. They continued to have sex, post surgery and she wound up pregnant again by her six week postpartum check up. Why does this bother me so much? It is not that she got pregnant right away; it is that her partner, the one who is to support her and nuture through her recovery is more concerned with his sexual needs than the medical needs and recovery of his wife. You just had your gut cut open, your uterus ripped open by a pair of clamps, your baby removed, your whole abdomen suctioned out. Not to mention, you are stitched up in every layer of muscle and skin. And a few hours after going through this surgery, your husband wants to have sex? How can he even request such a thing? Your husband is an asshole.
Granted, I have never had a C Section and hope to never endure such surgery. I do not have an idea how it feels post C Section surgery. I have taken care of many woman who have had one. Based on what I have seen working in postpartum care, I can tell you that sex and the motion of the body moving is not only dangerous in recovery but seems to be incredibly painful. You can get bacteria infections, a UTI, vaginal damage and more.. Like an unplanned Pregnancy! Getting pregnant so soon after a C Section is very hard on the body and has high chances of miscarriage, since the uterus is still healing. I have seen first hand Mothers recover from C Sections and they are in so much pain, they are hunching over to walk and unable to move without experiencing pain, for weeks. C Sections are not glamorous. It is surgery, after all.
In knowing and understanding the female anatomy like I do, I completely understand the importance of waiting those six weeks (or longer) and why a midwife or doctor would be so strong to recommend to wait for the body to fully heal. Your body goes through so much in pregnancy, then morphs into a machine in labor and delivery. It needs time to fully recover from all the changes that took place in the last nine months.
There are so many other ways to bond and be close with your partner than just having sex, while you are in the healing stage. Our partners need to understand how delicate we are after birth. There are so many emotions and hormones going on during this time. We need to be held, shown affection, told we are doing a good job, encouraged to keep breastfeeding, given uplifting words of praise, cooked for, fed, hydrated and helped. “I’ll hold the baby honey, you take a nice long shower”. As we heal in the postpartum period, new mothers cannot be expected to give in to our husbands sexual desires. It is just unfair. Its medically dangerous to be intimate too soon after delivery. It can wait. Any partner that cares for you and puts your needs, the needs of the baby, before his own, will understand that.
“No sex before the six”