Yet another “duh”-worthy study on women and pregnancy claims that a majority of new moms wait longer than the six-week doctor-ordered minimum to have sex after giving birth.
Researchers who periodically surveyed 1,507 first-time mothers living in Melbourne, Australia, about their sexual activity within the first year of childbirth found that overall, 41 percent of the moms resumed vaginal sex within six weeks after delivering their baby, 65 percent by eight weeks, 78 percent by 12 weeks and 94 percent by six months. Just over half the women said they engaged in some type of sexual activity by six weeks after childbirth, and those who had Caesarean sections, births assisted by forceps or incisions or tears in the perineum tended to wait longer to have sex, the study found.
Many doctors recommend delaying sex for four to six weeks after childbirth to allow the cervix to close, bleeding to stop and tears to heal, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Researcher Ellie McDonald, of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, said her study provides “useful information for couples to know before their baby is born, and may help reduce feelings of anxiety and guilt about not resuming sexual activity sooner.”
I can say with boldfaced certainty that I’m not surprised in the least that women are more likely to give a collective side-eye to the ob-gyns who give the “go forth and get busy” okay to new moms on their six-week post-birth check-up and the “Negro, please” to significant others who take said “okay” as a directive. I mean, I’ve certainly heard of women who are so hot and bothered after birth that they get it on and popping in the delivery room, but I’m more prone to pull from my own experience to surmise that the last thing on a new mom’s mind is getting it in.
I was a total wreck in my first weeks as a mother—leaky, cracked boobs, cramps, bags under my eyes, hair half-combed, stomach hanging out, tired as hell with a new baby hanging from my breasts every two hours. I absolutely dreaded the six-week follow-up with my ob-gyn. Secretly, I wanted her to tell me something was sorta-kinda wrong—that my body still needed to heal and that Nick needed to be patient and just, like, chill for a minute until I was absolutely 100 percent back to normal in every way—physically, emotionally and mentally.
Nick, of course, didn’t feel this way at all. On the day of my six-week visit, your boy got dressed to the nines and practically carried me to car like a new bride being carried over the threshold on her honeymoon night. He insisted on being in the doctor’s office that day to witness the news. I’m sure he’ll argue that he was just trying to be helpful; I did have to trek into Manhattan from New Jersey with my baby in tow, and I still felt, at times, a little weak, so his driving and carrying the baby and the diaper bag and all of that was much appreciated. But I swear he practically danced a jig when doc said, “Everything looks great, you’ve healed nicely and you can have sex again whenever you want.”
I had to work hard to control my eyeroll.
Of course, there are a bunch of factors that influence when a couple has sex again after childbirth, and every couple is different and there is no right or wrong time to get back to the loving. I can’t remember when Nick and I got busy, but I assure you that it wasn’t at exactly six weeks either, and there was quite a bit of work to do on my part to push past my fears, to feel comfortable with my new mom body, to work out my own personal struggles and insecurities, and to get my man to understand that I had to get my mind right before we got back to the loving. Thankfully, he was understanding.
Maybe other significant others will be too if new moms print out this blog post and tape it to the mirror, with the line, “a majority of new moms wait longer than the six-week doctor-ordered minimum to have sex after giving birth” highlighted and underlined so that they know waiting is normal. And perfectly okay.
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