July 7, 2011 at 4:19 PM ET
Sex after pregnancy. Are there three more repulsive words to a new mom?
We’re talking about those early weeks post-delivery, where everything down there (or up there, if you had a C-section) is still darn sore and even if you had a sex drive (Yoo-hoo, libido, are you there? Anywhere?), sheer exhaustion prevents you from acting on it.
A recent study found that new moms who are over 34 or have had C-sections can reduce their risk of dangerous blood clots by avoiding hormonal birth control in the first 42 days postpartum. This made us laugh out loud, and think: Isn’t being postpartum its own form of birth control?
The official line from most health care providers is to wait 4 to 6 weeks after delivery before having sex. As the Mayo Clinic suggests: “This allows time for the cervix to close, postpartum bleeding to stop, and any tears or repaired lacerations to heal.”
And most doctors will tell women to act on their own timeline. Some (Wonder)women might be ready for sex within a few weeks, while others take longer, thanks to postpartum blues, changes in body image and other hang-ups.
Then there’s the advice that one New York City mom got from her doctor: “You can have sex anytime you feel like it, but if you want to tell your husband that I said 4 to 6 weeks, that’s fine.”
Blogger Amy Corbett Storch, who writes the popular Advice Smackdown column for Alphamom.com, has a hilarious take on the six-week, no-sex window she clung to after her first child. She writes:
While technically my discharge instructions were simply “nothing in the vagina for six weeks,” I chose to interpret it more as “DO NOT TOUCH ME, AT ALL. DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT TOUCHING ME. STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT.” I was so horrified by the state of my body…I just couldn’t bear the thought of the squishing slapping awkwardness of sex when I didn’t recognize the body I now had. What if my boobs leak? What if my stomach dangles?”
Joy, a commenter on Storch’s Alphamom post, writes about the difficulty of getting back in the sex saddle:
For me it wasn’t the… ahem…intimate physical aspects -- well I had those too -- but more the fact that by the end of the day of being touched non-stop by a baby, I really just didn’t want physical contact with another human. It was kinda like sensory overload.
Sensory overload – Amen! What about you? How do you feel about post-baby sex?