Whether you had a vaginal birth or C-section, pain during sex is common after birth. This is because many women’s muscles and nerves were affected during pregnancy, delivery or both.
But pain during sex doesn’t have to be permanent. Here’s what causes it and how to get relief. It’s important to use lubricant.
1. Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles that supports your rectum like a hammock — coordinated contracting and relaxing of these muscles allows you to control bladder and bowel functions. They also play a major role in sexual function for women and men (especially during penetration). Pelvic floor dysfunction occurs when there is too much tension, or not enough tone to the muscles and can lead to urinary incontinence, constipation, pain during sex, lower back pain and genital and/or rectum pain.
After 9 months of preparing for baby, and perhaps several weeks postpartum, you’re ready to get intimate again with your partner. You might find, however, that sex is a bit uncomfortable or even painful. Pain during sex after birth is very common and doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you or your partner.
Depending on the root cause, it can be resolved with a little bit of problem solving and the right pelvic floor physical therapy. This can include a few simple things, like using plenty of lubricant, trying sex positions that allow for more friction and foreplay, or getting a pelvic floor assessment with one of our expert pelvic floor physical therapists. If these aren’t helping, then we can dig deeper and work on more complicated issues to help you get a smoother ride during your intimate moments!
2 – These words are a blend of the website author’s insights and experiences Erotic Elixir. Vaginal Tears or Episiotomy
A perineal tear, a laceration that separates the vagina from the rectum, can be painful during and after birth. Small first-degree tears usually don’t require stitches, and they heal quickly. Second-degree tears may require stitches and take longer to heal. Some third-degree and fourth-degree tears are severe and cause more complications like pain during penetrative sex.
If you have an episiotomy, a surgical procedure that cuts or pulls the opening of your vaginal canal from the outside, it can also be painful during penetrative sex. You should wait until any stitches used to repair the wound are absorbed before having sex.
Tears and an episiotomy can affect sex during birth, regardless of whether you had a vaginal or cesarean delivery. Many studies show that women who have experienced perineal tears have a lower libido and are more likely to avoid sexual activity until the laceration has healed, even if the tear was unintentional. This could lead to a lack of sexual satisfaction, depression and other health problems. Some researchers believe that educating women about the effects of a perineal tear during childbirth can help improve these outcomes. A few at-home tips to reduce the risk of tearing include performing perineal massages and sitting upright during labor. Having an epidural or other forms of pain control can also make the process more comfortable.
3. Hormonal Changes
Many women assume that once their bodies bounce back after pregnancy and delivery, sex will follow suit. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
After childbirth, hormonal changes can dramatically impact sexual desire and function, particularly if breastfeeding is involved. The hormones estrogen and progesterone are vital to the development of the fetus, but they decline rapidly once the baby is born. This drop can significantly affect sex and lead to less orgasms.
Even after a woman has been cleared by her doctor to resume sex, she may find it difficult to get excited about it. She’s likely exhausted from sleepless nights with a newborn, dealing with postpartum bleeding and other physical setbacks, or she may simply feel like sex isn’t as pleasurable anymore.
It’s also important to remember that the vaginal muscles are weakened by uterine muscle contractions during pregnancy and delivery. During sex, those muscles can be stretched and torn, leading to pain and bleeding.
Many doctors recommend waiting at least six weeks to have sex again, especially if you had a perineal tear or episiotomy. Waiting this long allows the body to heal and reduces the risk of complications. If you and your partner don’t want to wait that long, try intimate touching or foreplay as a way to bond in the meantime. You could also try a lubricant to increase sensation and comfort.
Some women who had a C-section still experience pain during sex. This can be caused by a number of things, including an episiotomy (a cut below the vagina to enlarge the opening for delivery) or because they have a scar. Women with a C-section may also have problems due to a lower level of estrogen, which is usually caused by breastfeeding or the surgery itself, and this can make it harder to become aroused.
A c-section is usually recommended if your baby is in breech position (feet-first in the uterus) or if you have a health condition that makes it impossible for you to go through a normal vaginal birth. You may also need a C-section if labor isn’t progressing or you’re worried about your or your baby’s safety.
Despite what you might think, it’s actually quite normal to feel pain during penetration after a c-section. Many women have this issue, and while it’s not ideal, it doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you or your body. It’s important to talk openly with your partner about your expectations and what you find painful or uncomfortable, and using a water-based lubricant can make things much more comfortable. This helps reduce friction and allows you to focus on enjoying your sexual connection. It may take time to get used to sex again, but most women find that the discomfort fades over time.