One topic that often does not get discussed enough is intimacy and sex, especially as it relates to pregnancy or even during the postpartum period. Many want to know how to ignite intimacy or sex back into their relationship, whether their partner is pregnant or now that the baby is here. Although there are many components to discuss, this blog will discuss when and how to incorporate intimacy and sex back into your life.
In most childbirth education classes, you will hear that you can have sex throughout pregnancy. While that is true, you may want to consider the intensity of intercourse. It is encouraged to incorporate a gentler approach to having intercourse in lieu of more intense intercourse. Another aspect of sex that you should consider is ejaculation. Human sperm contains a high amount of prostaglandin, a hormone-like substance that can naturally ripen the cervix and help to induce or start labor. When sperm comes in contact with the cervix, it can cause the cervix to ripen and can potentially cause labor to start. You do not want that happening too early, as this may risk pre-term labor and delivery.
Nipple stimulation can also encourage labor. It is recommended to wait until after 37 weeks to engage in nipple stimulation.
Typically, providers advise waiting 6 weeks before engaging in penetrative intercourse. However, the postpartum healing period takes 18 months or more. Consider your birth and delivery experience, as the time it takes each person’s body to heal will vary. Healing physically, mentally, and emotionally is very important and necessary during the postpartum period.
So, it may take some time for penetrative intercourse to take place. However, this is where intimacy can come in.
We cannot discuss sex without discussing the importance of intimacy. In order to engage in pleasure, it’s important to include things that can kickstart an enjoyable sexual experience. Let’s look at some things that you and your partner can do together or alone if you are not partnered:
- Massages and self-massages (including scalp rubs/massages)
- Eye gazing
- Sharing food or something sweet or different (using your hands)
- Using art such as paint or even body paint
- Meditation and Breathwork
- Listening to sound bowls or frequency sounds (creating that stillness)
- Cooking (New meals or snacks you can create)
A special note is that bonding through these activities also increases that natural oxytocin between you and your partner, and can encourage body healing as well! But get creative and do things that are unique to you and your partner.
In all, the first step to incorporating intimacy and sex into your life during this journey is intention. Give yourself the grace to explore practices and activities that feel comfortable to you. It may take time and effort, but communication, effort, and intention are key! Continue to get creative, change what does not work, and be open to receiving.