Pregnancy and the process of giving birth is one of the most incredible things that the human body can go through. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come without challenging and sometimes painful hurdles such as painful sex postpartum that people have to overcome. The good news is, you don’t need to just hope for a full recovery — you can use this moment to catapult yourself into your best health ever!
One of the more challenging things that people have to learn to navigate postpartum is reintroducing and enjoying sex after such a traumatic bodily experience. Everyone’s body is different, so it’s important to communicate, be honest, and not force yourself into anything you and your body aren’t ready for. Here are some things to keep in mind and tips on how to prevent painful sex postpartum.
Why Does Sex Hurt After Having a Baby?
Before we dive into ways to prevent it, it’s important to understand why some people experience painful sex after having a baby. These are just a few common factors that people should consider when looking for solutions.
Depending on what happens in delivery, there could be a partial or full perineal tear. This means that the woman will need stitches and to allow for a healing period post-pregnancy. While the stitches themselves will likely heal and dissolve in a few weeks, this type of surgery to such a sensitive area can result in feeling discomfort or just feeling different than before. If there’s still discomfort or if they’re not healing properly, it’s important to talk to your doctor to ensure a full recovery.
If you need such stitches, reject any proposal for a “husband stitch” which is a terrible idea on many levels. First, recovery is not about the husband. Secondly, it does not do what it purports to do. Vaginal laxity cannot be addressed by cutting and narrowing the muscles and nerves. It doesn’t allow for true contraction and release essential for pain-free intercourse and female orgasm. Moreover, aggressive cutting and stitching to narrow the vaginal entrance open up the possibility of chronic numbness or pain.
It’s well known that during pregnancy the body undergoes a huge change in hormones to support the baby over nine months. The hormonal changes don’t stop once the baby is born, though. Breastfeeding extends this hormonal change by reducing the amount of estrogen in the body. This can sometimes result in vaginal dryness, tightness, and breast tenderness.
Some people may wonder why they experience pain during sex after a C-section, and the reason is that it’s a major surgery that cuts through a number of layers of muscle, organs, and viscera. It is not just cutting the skin that you see on top! While the surface area stitches heal within a couple of weeks, the subdermal layers can take up to 12 weeks to recover. Not only that, but once the muscles recover, you’ll then need to focus on building strength again in the body. Everyone’s path to recovery is different, and it’s important to remember that.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD)
Painful sex after having a baby can also be a result of weakened or damaged pelvic floor muscles. The strain of carrying a baby for nine months, delivery (vaginal or cesarean), and then recovery can sometimes damage tissue or the nerves and result in damaged muscles. Some common indicators of pelvic floor dysfunction can include leakage or a feeling of heaviness, which can indicate pelvic organ prolapse. Strengthening the muscles ahead of pregnancy or before more extreme levels of PFD can help treat or prevent these symptoms.
How to Make Postpartum Sex Enjoyable (Not Painful)
Postpartum sex doesn’t have to be painful forever. Check out a few ways that you can ease the pain and make postpartum sex more enjoyable.
Enhance Muscle Tone with Kegels
One of the most important things to do before and after pregnancy is to prioritize strengthening the pelvic floor muscles with kegels and kegel adjunct devices like Kegelbell. Kegels strengthen the muscles that support the vagina, rectum, bladder, uterus, and all their respective functions. When they’re strong, they’re able to support the body through the stressful process of giving birth and recovering afterward.
Try New Positions
No matter if you had a relatively smooth pregnancy and delivery or a more challenging one, the reality is that your body has changed. Positions that you enjoyed before may not be as enjoyable now. Be open to trying new positions and means of pleasure with yourself and your partner as you get to know your new body and what it needs at that moment. This requires open communication and honesty with your partner!
Supplement & Enhance Natural Lubrication
Lube is your best friend postpartum. As a result of pregnancy and then breastfeeding, your body may not be producing as much natural lubrication as you’re used to. Don’t be shy about using lube if that means that you’ll be able to better enjoy sexual activity postpartum. If the dryness continues beyond the breastfeeding phase, this may mean that you need to work on strengthening the pelvic floor muscles so that you can increase the blood flow and, as a result, your natural lubrication. But do take care if you use lube when trying to get pregnant; most act as a spermicide.
Ask For Help
While many women are used to asking questions and reaching out to their medical providers through the pregnancy itself, it’s important to focus on your recovery and address any painful sex postpartum with a professional. For so long, women have just accepted that leakage, laxity, and other symptoms are just a part of the pregnancy experience when in reality, this isn’t the case. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and reach out to those around you!
Practice Self Compassion
The physical and emotional toll of pregnancy and postpartum is a huge undertaking, and the journey will be different for everyone. That’s why it’s so important to practice self love throughout the process and to learn compassion and patience with yourself. By doing that, it’ll be easier for you to communicate your needs and find the best solution for you and your partner.
Incorporating Kegelbell To Prevent Painful Sex Postpartum
If the human body is able to create life, chances are it’s able to recover if we give it the right tools and exercises. That’s why we created Kegelbell so that women can take back control of their body and pelvic floor muscles.
Kegelbell is the first externally-weighted pelvic floor training device that works by directly activating the pelvic floor muscles. By using Kegelbell in the privacy of your shower or bathroom for just five minutes three times a week, people start to see results in only two weeks. Our customers have told us that they not only see a wide range of incredible results, including stronger orgasms, increased natural lubrication, increased squeeze, increased sex drive, and much more.
Learn more about how Kegelbell helps women take back control of their body, confidence, and sex life today. →