Pregnancy and childbirth can cause significant changes to your body. Some women are able to bounce back from pregnancy, enjoying all the activities they experienced before giving birth without worry or pain. Others need more time and treatment to reclaim their bodies, including enjoying sexual experiences with their partners.
If you experience trouble during intercourse following the birth of a child after the normal healing time has passed, consider talking with an expert in women’s health about what could be causing the problem. Here are a couple of common causes and concerns that can affect your ability to experience a healthy sex life after childbirth.
Pelvic Floor Problems
During pregnancy, a group of muscles that support your reproductive organs is put under significant strain. These muscles as a group are commonly referred to as the pelvic floor. Your OBGYN might have suggested doing Kegels and gentle squats during pregnancy to help strengthen your pelvic floor.
However, during labor and delivery, these muscles are stretches and flexed extensively. Many women’s pelvic floors recover after the experience, but many might feel consistently tight, with the muscles contracting constantly. When this area is tight, penetration during intercourse and the subsequent friction can be uncomfortable and even painful.
The increased pain only increases the tension and might cause you to fear sexual interaction, which will only make future experiences even more uncomfortable.
You can work with a women’s health professional to work on releasing the tension in your pelvic floor.
Conversely, pregnancy can also cause the opposite problem. The muscles can become stretched and weakened, so your sexual organs are not supported properly. A common symptom of this problem is incontinence, where urine escapes the bladder involuntarily.
Sometimes, a weak pelvic floor can actually be healed in part by more sexual activity. But when sexual organs and other organs, such as your bladder, have dropped and resulted in pelvic floor prolapse, surgical correction can help to put everything back in place, which can improve your quality of life and sex life.
During birth, some women may need intervention or may experience complications that change the structure of the vagina and surrounding tissues. For example, a woman might tear her labia, perineum, or even the vaginal wall as the baby moves from the birth canal.
These tears are fixed with stitches, which heal in the weeks following birth. However, scar tissue is less flexible than normal tissue, and torn areas can still feel sensitive for some women.
Usually, vaginal changes get better over time, and the key to overcoming them is to take things slow. The tightness after healing will eventually relax, and you can get used to the slight textural changes that might be present as a result of tearing. Using lubrication and increasing foreplay beforehand can sometimes make adapting to these changes easier.
If you still experience tightness and pain during sex a few months after birth, make an appointment with a women’s sexual health clinic for help. Some tears do not heal well, and they might need to be corrected before you experience relief.
Mental Health Changes
Finally, for some women, birth is a traumatic experience, and the idea of penetration especially is something difficult for them after the birth of the baby. Sex might be very uncomfortable not because anything is physically wrong, but because the trauma of birth causes fear and tension in the body.
If you had a traumatic delivery, especially if that delivery resulted in the need for interventions like forceps, vacuum assistance, an episiotomy, or other painful experiences, consider counseling and speaking a sexual health professional.
For more information, contact us at NuFemme Rejuvenation Clinic.