Whether you give birth vaginally or your baby enters the world via C-section, childbirth can throw your sex life for a loop. We had ob-gyns explain how sex changes after giving birth, and their responses were quite eye-opening. From milk leakage to vaginal tightness, they did not hesitate to go there. While it's one thing to have experts share their thoughts, it's a whole other one to get input from real women. So, in an effort to give as many new moms as possible some "you're totally normal" reassurance, eight women share how sex changed after they gave birth.
1. "Three weeks after giving birth to twins via an emergency C-section in October 2013, the ol' man and I were back at it again. That is, until I resumed afterbirth bleeding for a ridiculous eight additional weeks. That put a damper on things. But when we eventually started again, I realized I could segment my sex life into three stages: Before pregnancy, sex was constant; during, it was orgasmic; now it's loving. After the twins, my partner fell more in love with me. Even my orgasms are my bigger and longer lasting. But sex after kids has also been quite torturous. Being quiet has never been fun for me, and it makes it harder to achieve orgasm." —Shana C., 36
2. "Before giving birth, our sex life was fine. Then in May 2013, I was induced and had a vaginal birth with an epidural. We started having sex again when the doctor approved it: after six weeks. But for maybe the first eight months after childbirth, the idea of sex was incredibly disgusting to me. Of course I would indulge my husband, but I was so turned off by the idea of it. It must have been a hormonal thing, because I've heard the same from other women, and my level of disgust was extreme. Things are fine now, but having a child changes your sleep patterns significantly. Instead of having sex at night, we usually do it one day a weekend while our son naps." —Kathryn K., 35
3. "I gave birth in January 2014 via vaginal delivery. I was strictly breastfeeding my daughter, and the nursing made me very dry with zero interest in or energy for sex. I was cleared for sex around eight weeks after I delivered, but we didn't even attempt it until around six months after our daughter was born. It was so painful, I cried, and we didn't finish. We tried one or two other times during our daughter's first year with no success. Around the one-year mark, with a lifetime supply of lube, I willed my husband's penis to actually get inside me. It was still really painful. When our daughter was around 18 months old, I was nursing her only twice a day, I had stopped pumping completely, and my interest in sex returned! Now that she is fully weaned, I can really enjoy sex again. I couldn't orgasm when sex was so painful, but my orgasms have returned and are not different than they were before I gave birth." —Marissa R., 35
4. "I gave birth vaginally in June 2015. We used to have sex once or twice a week. Sometimes it was steamy, but it was usually not too exciting after eight years together. After giving birth, it still hurts a little physically. But emotionally, it helps me love my partner and stop being angry with him for not helping more with the baby. Still, it's rare now to have the time." —Julie S., 32
5. "I've had three children, all vaginal births. The first was May 2011, the second was December 2012, and the third was November 2014. In all three cases, my husband and I started having intercourse about two weeks after I gave birth. Before giving birth, sex was exciting because my husband and I first enjoyed having sex on our wedding night. We had three months of discovering each other before I became pregnant. Now sex is fulfilling, and my orgasms have the ability to completely take over all my senses. They feel fuller after giving birth." —Leah L., 23
6. "I gave birth in May 2014 via C-section. For the first three months of my pregnancy, I was super horny and sex was off the charts. We had sex up until the end, but less frequently when I got big because it was uncomfortable. After I gave birth, we waited for about eight weeks to have intercourse. Waiting made us more creative in terms of incorporating things like oral sex and mutual masturbation, which we started doing within two or three weeks. Now we have sex about one to two times a week. I feel the same level of orgasm as I did before, and it's around the same frequency as it was before too." —Lauren W., 35
7. "I had to be induced at the end of my pregnancy, then had to have a C-section. At my six-week ob-gyn appointment, when you go in super sleep-deprived and raw from having just given birth, the doctor gave me the green light to get back to all of my normal activities, including sex. I was so shocked by that. It created the expectation that I should be up for sex by six weeks, but I was in no way ready. We started having sex again after about three months. Vaginal sex was painful for a long time after giving birth. I thought since I'd had a C-section, I wouldn't have that problem. But I learned later that sometimes surgery can make post-birth sex even more painful because the muscles are cut and take a long time to heal. Also, hormone-wise, things were out of whack for a while, and the idea of sex didn't really occur to me. I tried to be accommodating because I really love my husband, but I breastfed my son for the first year and was pretty touched out by the end of the day. After I started to get a period again, things got back to normal in terms of my sex drive. We probably don't have sex as often as we did pre-kid, but when we do it is just as enjoyable." —Lauren S., 35
8. "I gave birth via C-section in October 2013 and May 2015. I started having sex again about a month after each time. The first thing that comes to mind is that sex while nursing is weird! Milk often leaks at unexpected and unwelcome moments. But the sex itself isn't really any different, just harder to get around to these days." —Amanda S., 35
Quotes have been condensed and edited for clarity.