What about birth control?

Sex after pregnancy requires a reliable method of birth control — even if you're breast-feeding.  To reduce the risk of pregnancy complications and other health problems, limited research suggests waiting at least 18 to 24 months before attempting your next pregnancy.

Your health care provider will recommend thinking about your desire to have more children and pregnancy spacing before you deliver your baby. Your options immediately after delivery include progestin-only contraceptives, such as the contraceptive injection Depo-Provera or the minipill.

You might also consider a longer lasting contraceptive, such as the copper or hormonal intrauterine device (IUD). Your health care provider can help you choose the right time for placement.

Birth control methods that contain both estrogen and progestin — such as combined birth control pills — pose an increased risk of blood clots shortly after delivery. For otherwise healthy women, it's OK to begin using combined birth control pills and other types of combined hormonal birth control six weeks after childbirth. Although birth control methods that contain both estrogen and progestin have long been thought to decrease the milk supply for women who are breast-feeding, recent research suggests this is not true.

Talk to your health care provider during your postpartum visit about the different birth control options and the appropriate time to start contraception.

What if I'm too tired to have sex?

Caring for a newborn is exhausting. If you're too tired to have sex at bedtime, say so. This doesn't mean your sex life has to end, however. Consider making love early in the morning, while your baby naps, or while your baby spends a few hours with a trusted friend or loved one.

What if I'm not interested in sex?

That's OK. There's more to an intimate relationship than sex, especially when you're adjusting to life with a new baby. If you're not feeling sexy or you're afraid sex will hurt, share your concerns with your partner.

Until you're ready to have sex, maintain intimacy in other ways. Spend time together without the baby, even if it's just a few minutes in the morning and after the baby goes to sleep at night. Share short phone calls or send text messages throughout the day. Look for other ways to express affection. Rekindle the spark that brought you together in the first place.

If communicating with your partner doesn't help, be alert for signs and symptoms of postpartum depression — such as intense irritability and anger, overwhelming fatigue, lack of joy in life, and difficulty bonding with the baby. If you think you might be experiencing postpartum depression, contact your health care provider. Prompt treatment can speed recovery.

What can I do to boost my sex drive?

Most sexual concerns associated with pregnancy or childbirth resolve within a year. In the meantime, concentrate on ways to promote your physical and mental health. For example:

  • Set reasonable expectations as you adjust to parenthood.
  • Eat a healthy diet, including plenty of fluids.
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine.
  • Rest as much as you can.
  • Ask your partner, loved ones and friends for help.
  • Join a support group for new moms.

Remember, taking good care of yourself can go a long way toward keeping passion alive.

July 02, 2015 See more In-depth