We asked 1500 of you to spill the beans on how you feel about sex, your body and relationships.
Everything about life changes after baby, not least of all your sex life! To find out what the reality is for new moms, we asked you a few questions on our Facebook page. And boy, were the results interesting!
What’s going on with your sex drive?
With over half of our respondents finding sex a turn-off during pregnancy, it’s no surprise that post-baby sex takes even more of a backseat. Granted, you’ve just become parents and your world has turned topsy turvy, but many parents claims that their sex lives became even worse after the arrival of baby.
You’re both getting used to a new role, sleepless nights and hormonal changes, and you feel differently about your body.
Read: Awkward questions you've always wanted to ask your preggie friends
“Woman normally lose their sex drive for a few weeks after giving birth and may not be interested in having sex. Moms in particular don’t always feel confident and attractive after they have given birth.
They are more concerned about their appearance and they start to notice all the changes and effects of having a baby (such as a flabbier tummy, saggy boobs, stretch marks). So moms may not be very keen to have sex because they don’t feel they are attractive and may feel that not having sex would allow their partner not to notice her bodily changes,” says educational psychologist Cara Blackie.
“From the men’s side, new dads may be unsure of how to broach the subject of sex as they may be viewed as being insensitive and not understanding of her position. They also may feel that their wife does not want to have sex.”
Post-baby sex (when you get there)
When it comes to hitting the sack after baby, there’s more going on than hormones and body image – there are also stitches, leaky boobs and post-birth discharge to consider.
“Due to hormonal changes women can experience vaginal dryness and sex is then painful and unpleasant. If there are stitches then sex should only be resumed once they are healed. If there is pain during sex after giving birth and having waited until you are all healed then more lubrication is necessary and ‘softer sex’ would help the mom.
However, if there is constant pain I would consult a doctor,” says Cara. “Doctors normally recommend that moms should only have sex after their six-week postnatal checkup. This is to prevent any further damage or infection. But generally some moms feel fine and healed after four weeks.”
Must read: Are you ashamed of your post-baby body?
Even if you’re feeling fine “down there”, it’s okay if you’re not ready to make love. Try a bit of physical contact to give your relationship some TLC – hugging, kissing, stroking can all help you feel closer. Communication is key, though. “You can get things back on track by making time for each other.
A baby will change the amount of sleep you get, the amount of time spent alone and your general moods. Try to accommodate each other’s feelings in this regard. Waiting until mom feels fully healed and comfortable and approaching the question of sex in a mutual manner is good.
Dads need to be sensitive to their partners’ emotional and physical changes. Finding a time when you aren’t exhausted can be difficult, but is vital.Start off with some foreplay before you resume sex as this is a way to bring you back to each other,” advises Cara.
More than sexy talk
While many of you found your partner’s support during pregnancy a boon, over half feel you take on most of the work now that baby is here. And that affects things in the bedroom too.
Feelings of resentment bring things in the sex department to a grinding halt faster than anything else after baby,
and so it’s important to try and share the load. Find ways that dad can help you with the baby – give him bathtime, for instance, or split up nappy changes during the day.
Expressing and letting him take over a night feed also helps. What you want to do is parent collaboratively and not combatively, so try not to criticise each other and share the responsibilities so that tension doesn’t build up.
Additionally, try to carve out some time for yourself. Motherhood often feels like an all-consuming role and it’s easy to lose yourself in it. Spend some time away from baby – even doing something small like a manicure or a coffee date with a friend, will help you regain some of your old personality.
Good read: Where have our fathers gone?
Talk to your partner about how you’re feeling so that he knows you haven’t “just gone off him”. Remember, he’s adjusting to a new role too and has his own worries. Sharing them with each other will bring you closer emotionally, and eventually the sexual sparks will fly again too.
Having small children is a challenging time for everyone, but it doesn’t last forever. Staying affectionate, maintaining communication and having a sense of humour helps make things easier. Your relationship will grow and change as parents, and while it can be confusing to find your feet again, it is ultimately more rewarding too.
46% - found your partner more attractive during pregnancy
58% - of you argue more with your partner since having your baby
54% - wanted less sex during pregnancy than you did before
41% - feel less sexy since becoming a mom
59% - are unhappy with your pot-baby body