Sex After Birth

Ann Douglas sex_after_birth

The question:

I had my six-week checkup today. My doctor gave me the go-ahead to start having intercourse again, but frankly, I couldn’t care less if I ever have sex again! Is there something wrong with me?

Ann answers:

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not unusual to have your libido nosedive for many weeks, even months after the birth of a baby. In fact, a University of Wisconsin study of 570 new parents found that it takes bottlefeeding parents about seven weeks and breastfeeding parents about eight weeks to start having sexual intercourse again. The researchers involved in this study also found that only 17 percent of couples who were surveyed reported having sex during the month after childbirth, so believe it or not, you’re part of the silent majority!

  • It’s not hard to figure out why there’s so little action in the bedroom during the early weeks of parenthood: not only are new mothers likely to be coping with sleep deprivation and a smorgasbord of postpartum aches and pains. They may want to hold off on having intercourse until after they’ve received reassurance from their doctor or midwife that they are healing properly after the delivery.
  • Some new mothers also worry that their partner may no longer find them attractive, given the stretch marks, extra pounds and other “souvenirs” they may have acquired during their pregnancy. In most cases, fathers accept, and even celebrate the changes that their partner’s bodies have undergone as a result of giving birth. One of the fathers I interviewed for The Mother of All Baby Books noted, “My wife bears the scars of giving life to my child, something that just makes me love her all the more.

I hope this helps to reassure you that what you’re experiencing is perfectly normal.

Ann Douglas is an award-winning writer and author of numerous books about pregnancy and parenting including the newly published Sleep Solutions for Your Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler and Mealtime Solutions for Your Baby, Toddler and Preschooler. Visit




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