Are you Ok down there?
Experts allay your fears about post-baby sex
WILL INTERCOURSE HURT when we start having it again? Will my vagina be loose? Will he still enjoy sex with me? More pregnant women and new moms than you might think fret about issues like these. To put your mind at ease about your after-baby body, here’s the scoop on the biggest sex-related worries women have.
Worry No. 1 > > Sex will be painful.
Real deal Having a baby causes the ligaments that support the uterus to stretch, making it lower slightly, says Mark Chag, M.D., an OB-GYN at Harbour Women’s Health in Portsmouth, N.H. While discomfort caused by the penis hitting the uterus during intercourse is normal (and easily remedied by switching positions), pain is not. As long as you wait until you’re given the green light by your doctor (usually six weeks), sex should be painless, Chag says. If it isn’t, talk with your doctor, especially if you had an episiotomy; you could have another tear or an infection. But even when you’re physically ready for sex, you may not feel like having it. Blame fatigue, hormonal factors or the possibility that it’s just nature’s way of making sure you don’t get pregnant again too soon.
Worry No. 2 > > My vagina will be stretched out.
Real deal Nikki Perry, of Salem, Ohio, is worried that her vagina will get “stretched out” during her second delivery. “It’s 10 years later and I’m 10 years older, so I’m concerned,” she says.
Although the vagina obviously expands during childbirth, “it is very elastic and returns to its normal contour afterward,” says Jennifer Berman, M.D., director of female urology and sexual medicine at Rodeo Drive Women’s Health Center in Beverly Hills, Calif. If you’re concerned about tightness, do Kegel exercises or other pelvic-muscle-strengthening moves (see “Day One Exercises” on pg. 74). To do Kegels, repeatedly squeeze and hold the same muscles that control urine flow several times throughout the day. Doing the same during intercourse can help keep your partner happy.
Worry No. 3 > > Nursing will make my vagina dry.
Real deal “Because of low estrogen levels, lack of vaginal lubrication is common after delivery, especially for nursing mothers,” Chag says. However, he adds, most women find the problem corrects itself once they stop breastfeeding. In the meantime, use a vaginal lubricant like K-Y Jelly. If you use a lubricant insert such as Lubrin, your partner won’t even know the difference. If this doesn’t help or if dryness persists for longer than two months after you give birth or stop breastfeeding, talk with your OB-GYN.