5 Changes in Intimate Relationships After Pregnancy - Step To Health

5 Changes in Intimate Relationships After Pregnancy

Intimate relationships after pregnancy can take a long time to happen, since pregnancy and childbirth cause many physical and emotional changes.
5 Changes in Intimate Relationships After Pregnancy

Last update: 24 November, 2021

The arrival of a baby changes the life of the couple in countless ways. Now, parents no longer have that much time to be alone, and if that happens, it seems that their libido hardly exists. What are the changes in intimate relationships after pregnancy?

In the following article, we’ll tell you which are the main and most common changes in intimate relationships after pregnancy. This way, you won’t feel like they’re only happening to you!

When do intimate relationships return after pregnancy?

intimate relationships in pregnancy

This is a question that many parents ask themselves, but that doesn’t have a specific answer since it depends on several factors.

What they do have to bear in mind is that things will no longer be like before. This doesn’t mean that they will get worse, but that there will be many changes. Sex does not return the next day after delivery.

Postpartum intimacy takes place little by little, with hesitancy and often even without desire. Therefore, patience and affection are essential. It’s normal that at least during the first three months after giving birth, the woman only thinks about her child.

She often feels like there’s nothing else around her (including her partner, in many cases). Sexual libido is practically non-existent. In some cases, this period even lasts until the child’s first year.

It’s not recommended to have sex during the puerperium stage, from delivery to six weeks later. Some call it ‘quarantine’ because it’s more or less forty days, although the human body is not punctual or exact.

From a medical point of view, this is when the female body needs to recover from giving birth to her child. If the birth was by cesarean section, this period is shortened to approximately one month. In natural childbirth, the main problem is infections.

During these days, the uterus must return to its size, small bleeding must stop, and the vagina must recover from the trauma of childbirth. Sometimes it’s wise to wait for all tears to heal.

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What are the changes in intimate relationships after pregnancy?

Beyond biological and physical issues, there are other reasons why sex is postponed after delivery. These are the most common changes in intimate relationships after pregnancy:

1. Intimate relationships after pregnancy: Sexual desire is lost

This doesn’t mean that there’s no longer love in the relationship or passion. However, female hormones are busy taking care of the baby.

After giving birth, the woman produces a lot of prolactin, which promotes lactation and, at the same time, less estrogen, which is related to desire. Therefore, those women who breastfeed have less appetite for intimacy with their partners.

2. Tiredness and lack of time

Taking care of a newborn baby is a 24-hour job, with no vacations, weekends, or holidays.

It’s normal, then, that when the child falls asleep, the mother thinks the least about having sex. She wants to rest! Or, in some cases, doing housework or taking a good shower is all she needs.

That also applies to fathers, since they can’t rest well if the little one wakes up every two or three hours at night. All this leads to intimate encounters being at the bottom of their list of priorities.

3. Pains, fears, and sensitivity

The first weeks postpartum – and even after the puerperium – the woman may continue to feel discomfort in the vagina, especially if the delivery was natural. The fear that penetration will hurt can lead to avoiding sexual encounters.

In fact, a study carried out by a team of researchers from the University of São Paulo investigated these pains and fears. They focused on observing the changes and behaviors of six new mothers during postpartum through interviews.

According to the researchers, the women who participated in the study reported pain, discomfort, and difficulty in sexual relations.

However, if the pain or sensitivity lasts more than three months, it’s necessary to consult with the doctor. The same goes for if there’s bleeding, burning, or genital swelling after intercourse.

4. Sharing the room with the baby

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During the first months, babies often sleep next to their mothers for a matter of comfort and especially attachment.

However, co-sleeping is one of the best contraceptives out there. Ok, we may be joking here, but there is some truth to this.

Although there are other spaces in the house where you can have sex, such as the living room or the kitchen, sharing the room with the baby can be decisive for not enjoying intimate encounters with the couple.

In fact, in the study mentioned above, the baby’s presence in the bedroom during sex was a concern for these mothers. Having sex in the same room as the baby sleeps meant a lack of respect for the child for many of these women, so some of these mothers were unable to have sex for this reason.

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5. Anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem

Other changes in intimate relationships after pregnancy are linked to emotional factors, especially in both the mother and the father.

For example, she may experience the infamous postpartum depression or suffer from anxiety disorders from stress or lack of sleep. Some women feel less attractive after giving birth, which increases their insecurities.

Some men experience jealousy of their children since they don’t receive the same attention as before. This can lead to not wanting to have sex or even being too insistent on having it.

Nobody says that the arrival of a baby is easy. The changes are experienced from the first moment they find out about the pregnancy. It’s advisable to be very patient, accept that things will not be like before, and not force situations.

Little by little, things will normalize, and you will be able to enjoy sex again – perhaps not as at the beginning of the relationship, but as more mature and responsible people.

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  • Salim, N. R., & Gualda, D. M. R. (2010). Sexuality in the puerperium: the experience of a group of women. Revista da Escola de Enfermagem da USP, 44(4), 888-895.
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