Love, Sex, and Romance: Is There Hope After the Baby?
The intimacy between you and your spouse may need to be redefined, but does not need to end. In fact, couples who openly demonstrate a strong, healthy, loving relationship provide the best environment for their children. It is a myth that romance and babies do not mix. It just takes a little more creativity, understanding, and communication.
Reason for Diminished DesireThere are many factors that can affect the desire for intimacy following the birth of your baby. Here are a few of the most common:
- Stress and physical exhaustion —Sleepless nights, a newborn's demanding schedule, dirty diapers, sore nipples from breast-feeding, and the anxiety that comes with this fragile new life all compete with the energy you were previously able to contribute to building an intimate relationship with each other.
- Changing hormones —The significant drop of estrogen and progesterone after childbirth can cause postpartum depression or postpartum blues, which can interfere with your sex drive. Although this varies with each individual, feeling down after childbirth can last between a few days to much longer. Some women are more sensitive to hormonal changes than others.
- Physical discomfort —Unfortunately, the pain from childbirth does not end as soon as the baby is born. In addition to the physical pain it took to get your baby into the world, you will experience physical discomfort as your body works to repair the damage that occurred during the birthing process. An incision from an episiotomy or cesarean birth, hemorrhoids, engorged breasts, and a tender vagina are just a few of the pains that may be intensified during intercourse.
- Lack of privacy —When you are used to making love in your home—whenever and wherever the desire strikes, it may be difficult to resume the same spontaneity in the company of the baby. Even though you know the baby is oblivious and unaffected by your sexual activity, it can stifle the mood.
- Breastfeeding —Some studies show that nursing women regain their sexual desire earlier, while other studies show that their sexual desire decreases during the time they are breastfeeding. Why the contradiction? Some women indicate that breastfeeding satisfies their sexual need, therefore they are less interested in having their desires filled by their husbands. Sometimes breast leaking during foreplay can be embarrassing and reduce the desire for intimacy.