1. Yes, your vagina actually goes back to normal. 1
Most women's #1 concern about sex after baby is, um, what just happened down there. You might feel like EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT but the truth is that it totally does work.
"People are always concerned that their vagina will never go back to normal, but your vagina is designed to do this exact task," Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist in Los Angeles, told Glamour.
2. The key to good sex after baby is educating yourself. 2
You don't want yourself OR your partner to be surprised by some of the changes that having a sex after baby can bring, which is why Marin suggests that you educate yourselves on what will happen... "so you don’t get rocked by the changes themselves."
3. It's normal for your sex life to go through an adjustment period. 3
After all, you just had a baby. And besides healing from the act itself, you're also likely stressed out, sleep deprived and dealing with the changes in your relationship now that you are parents. Going back to normal? Forget about it. It will be possibly uncomfortable or awkward at first--but we promise it does get better.
5. No, you won't stay "loose" down there. 5
Another concern for many women is that they won't, ahem, tighten up again after seeing a baby come through during vaginal childbirth. But that's not true at all!
"The thing to remember is that, although it can stretch to admit this baby, it comes back!" Mary Jane Minkin, MD, FACOG, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine, said to Glamour. "The muscles don’t stay flaccid and stretched. Will they come back absolutely as tight as the vagina was initially? Maybe not. But they’ll do a pretty good job."
6. You might not know when you will be ready again. 6
For some women, they're ready as soon as the six-week healing period is up. For many, though, it's totally normal to want to wait... and wait... and wait. In fact, women don't always feel completely comfortable and likely won't LOVE their first time back in the sack. One way to avoid this issue? Engage in other, intimate sexual acts before intercourse. Try heavy petting and even oral sex before going back to your normal sexual routine.
7. Your first time back probably won't feel great. 7
And that's okay! Many women describe sex after baby as being similar to sex for the first time, in that it was uncomfortable, awkward and even maybe a bit painful. It may take weeks or even months to feel fully yourself again. One way to help? Stock up on lubricant before even considering having sex, since lube will ease a lot of the tension and discomfort you may feel.
8. You still have to use birth control. 8
It may shock you to find out, but your body is basically ready to get pregnant again shortly after you have given birth--which is why it is SO very important to use birth control right away. Doctors typically recommend that you wait at least 12 months in between delivering one child and getting pregnant with another. Don't rush it!
9. Breastfeeding can affect sex, but it's not a totally safe form of birth control. 9
Yes, breastfeeding can prevent getting pregnant again... sort of. Basically, breastfeeding puts your body into a kind of temporary menopause (though it's not a surefire thing, hence why you need a backup method of birth control such as condoms or an IUD) and can also dry out your vagina. Again, stock up on lubricant... and birth control... before you have sex again after baby.
11. Doing your kegel exercises really CAN help. 11
If you haven't heard of kegel exercises, then where have you been living? This is when you squeeze and release your vagina muscles (also known as your pelvic floor) in order to strengthen them. Many women report having better sex after doing these exercises for a few weeks. However, if you are experiencing pain during kegels or penetrative sex, then you should see a pelvic floor physical therapist for help.
12. Most of all, know that you are not alone. 12
You might be moving back into sex slower than you expected or wanted... and that's okay. You are NOT alone here.
"There are tons of other women who are experiencing the same thing you’re experiencing," Liz Miracle, a pelvic floor physical therapist in San Francisco, said to Glamour. "And there are tons of women who have gotten through it and are better and are having happy, healthy sex lives."