Motherhood is undoubtedly a critical period, but little is said about one of its most common consequences: after giving birth, sexual relations suffer

That’s right, there is still a certain modesty to share one of the most common problems among first-time parents, which is the difficulty of maintaining an active sex life with the arrival of a baby in the family . It is a drastic change in our lives that, yes, fills us with love and gives us a new purpose, but it also monopolizes all our attention, and keeps us busy 24 hours attending to the needs of our baby, our breasts hurt, we are tired of not sleeping, it is very probable that the episiotomy points still hurt us, at the same time that our vagina must recover from the effort to which it has been subjected.

On a physical level, childbirth causes trauma to the tissues and the internal sexual organs are often injured and inflamed, while the external organs can also be resentful and irritated. Undoubtedly, with pregnancy and childbirth, the woman’s body undergoes transformations such as, for example, weight gain or hips widening, something that can also affect our emotional stability , and in turn influence the sexual health of the couple.

But what do we understand then as sexual health? As defined by the WHO, it is about the state of physical, mental and social well-being related to sexuality . The arrival of a child (especially the first one) very often represents a turning point in which many couples come for professional help in the face of sexual or relational problems or crises that have started (or have worsened) during this stage.

What happens to a mother’s sexual desire when she gives birth?

For a long time hormonal factors have been given prominence in explaining the decrease in desire that a large number of women experience just after delivery, and coinciding with the lactation period . Currently, however, it has been recognized that sexual function is a multidimensional phenomenon , influenced by a variety of factors that are also psycho-social, experiential and relational in nature.

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Thus, during the postpartum period, women’s sexuality can be influenced by various variables such as hormonal changes , breastfeeding and other psychosocial variables such as energy level, adjustment in social roles, quality in the relationship with our partner or mood swings.

Regarding hormone levels, there is some evidence that low estrogen levels in women during lactation could be associated with decreased vaginal lubrication, something that can hinder sexual arousal. There is even some research that associates high levels of prolactin (the hormone secreted by women in lactation) with a decrease in sexual desire .

How can we remedy it?

If there is no doubt, it is that during this period of life sexual desire is an aspect that is lived in a very different way, both in the case of women and men. Therefore, it is important to be prepared and know how to manage these changes so that life as a couple does not feel resentful.

One of the most important factors is the care we must dedicate to our partner . Care and pampering are of vital importance in this vital period, when it is usual for us to feel much more vulnerable and ready to enter into easy discussions.

It is important above all that we be patient , and that we understand that we have just entered a time when it is normal for the care of our baby to take precedence over any other issue, so it is expected that sexual desire will be relegated to a secondary position. Do not pressure yourself, or pressure your partner, if your sexual relations are not as frequent as they were before. The pressures and reproaches of those who want more towards those who want less can deteriorate and cool the relationship.