Parenting can put a lot of pressure on your relationship, including your sex life. One of the most difficult challenges parents face is learning how to make room for their own relationship once baby has arrived.
The most important part is to keep communicating with each other. Many couples find that their sexual relationship changes after the birth of their child. Try to find ways to stay connected, intimate and friendly that work for both of you.
Your relationship with your partner
Couples often talk about feeling closer in the days after the baby has arrived, when they are feeling excited and joyful about their new baby. After a period of time, usually within the first months, this can change. Many couples feel more stress from interrupted sleep, more housework, financial and work pressures.
Each partner feels both their own stresses and the stresses on the family as a whole. Sometimes, this can lead to increased conflict, relationship problems, and poor mental health.
Some new parents who are in paid work find themselves working more or getting home from work later in the day. This may be to avoid the housework and potential conflict with their partner but is unlikely to resolve the issues and could make them worse.
A more positive step is to have a talk with your partner at the earliest signs of stress. Discuss how you can work together to better manage these normal changes.
Will I ever have sex again?
Although many men talk about having less sex after the birth, there may also be an underlying need for affection and closeness with their partner. Some parents may struggle with this issue after they have a new baby.
Some normal and expected changes
- Physical changes to your partner’s body.
- Changes in the way that you and your partner now view your sex life.
- Your partner may be feeling and expressing that she is “all touched out”, especially if breastfeeding, handling and settling the baby.
- You may be unsure about your partner’s breast changes, and their role in breastfeeding. Breast changes may also affect sexual intimacy.
- Postnatal Depression (PND) – research has shown that there may be a major decrease in sexual interest when a person has depression and/or is using anti-depressant medication.
Many couples report these are difficult issues to discuss. It can be useful to seek counselling or other professional help. This will give you a neutral and safe place to talk openly.
It can be helpful to learn a little more about safe and comfortable sex after both vaginal and caesarean birth and talking about this with your partner.
Want to know more?
Raising Children Network – Good relationships and how to build them
Pregnancy, birth and baby – Sex and relationships
Further information regarding physiotherapy after childbirth, your caesarean birth and recovery and caring for your perineum can be found on Women and Newborn Health Service, King Edward Memorial Hospital