Feature Archive

After the Baby's Born

Post-pregnancy can be an awkward time for a couple.

By Sandor Gardos
WebMD Feature Once their child is born and the difficult challenges of pregnancy are behind them, many couples look forward to having a normal sex life again. Unfortunately those expectations may not be realistic -- at least not immediately. Following childbirth, one partner may just not want to have sex. The possible reasons -- some physical, some psychological -- are many.

Fatigue is one. The period of caring for a newborn -- especially if it's the first child -- can be the most tiring and difficult phase in a couple's life. For many a new parent, fantasies about sex are supplanted by fantasies about sleep.

A woman might be self-conscious about her shape, and if she had a cesarean delivery, she may be experiencing extra discomfort or feel unattractive.

Both partners may be having trouble adjusting to their new roles as parents. A new mother could have postpartum depression (in which case she should consult her doctor).

A woman who is breast-feeding may feel that her body "belongs to the baby." The father in turn may become jealous of the time and attention that his wife devotes to the new baby.

There may be concern, too, that sex won't be the same as before delivery. Childbirth can leave soreness or bruising, and the couple may fear that sex will hurt, or cause harm.