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Can you have sex in the postpartum period?

Technically, the last stage of pregnancy is the postpartum period. Many women report decreased interest and sexual satisfaction in this last stage of pregnancy. Problems associated with fatigue, anemia, and the mode of delivery can contribute to some complaints. Otherwise, there are medical issues that should also be considered. If a woman is breastfeeding, the increase in prolactin (a hormone that helps the woman produce milk for the newborn) can cause locational amenorrhea, or no periods. Many believe that this is an evolutionary response and that there should be no menstrual cycles during the lactation period while the woman is exclusively breastfeeding. This lack of cycling could provide women the opportunity to appropriately space the births of their infants.

In any event, it is important to remember to use birth control during the postpartum period. Many women can have increased vaginal dryness, which may be a causative factor in painful intercourse. Other medical concerns can include thyroid dysfunction and/or problems with healing from your episiotomy or cesarean delivery. Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider and get a comprehensive physical examination. Sometimes hormones and laboratory work may also be necessary.

Transitioning from sexy lingerie teddies to fluffy and cuddly teddy bears if often a challenge for some women and men as well. It is estimated that approximately 70-80% of women who give birth experience some form of "baby blues" or low mood, melancholy, and anxiety after the birth of the baby. This, combined with sleep deprivation, hormonal shifts, and healing from either a vaginal or surgical delivery, can make the postpartum period a difficult time for many women.

Ten to 15% of women may also succumb to postpartum depression, which is a serious medical illness that definitely warrants immediate medical care and treatment.

Men are sometimes consumed with the notion that their love interest is now the mother of their child. Changing from feeling lust to caregiving sometimes is an adjustment that men need time to get used to. The financial burdens of raising children and the pressures to be an excellent father and provider may also be problematic for some men, and these concerns can affect the sexuality of the couple.

Having a child reignites some memories of your own parents. The concerns of being a good parent are also stressors that new parents face on a regular basis. The stress of receiving unsolicited advice from extended family (mother-in-law, father-in-law, and parents) on how best to raise and parent may also increase conflict in the couple. Good, effective communication in and outside the bedroom can be helpful. Sleep when you can, ask for help, and be gracious enough to accept it! Remember that just because you have a child doesn't mean you can't continue to enjoy a sensual and exciting sex life. Plan date nights, hire a sitter, or enlist the help of family and friends. Spend some quality adult time with your lover and partner.

What about sex during fertility treatments?

More than 6 million men and women of childbearing age face infertility or the inability to conceive a child naturally. They must see medical specialists called reproductive endocrinologists and undergo many tests to find out what is affecting their ability to get pregnant. Infertility can be a life crisis for a couple.

When you are trying to get pregnant and have strong needs and wants to become a parent, this often leads to stress and disappointment when you must embark on the path of medical infertility interventions. Hormonal injections and timed

More than 6 million men and women of childbearing age face infertility or the inability to conceive a child naturally.

intercourse and goal setting ("we must have sex . . . to make a baby") can put a lot of stress and strain on a relationship. This stress, coupled with the fact that many procedures are time consuming, costly, and often unsuccessful, can deplete not only your financial resources but your emotional reserves too. Some other forms of conflict may also appear: unfulfilled need or desire for a baby when treatments fail, the feeling that sexual intercourse is work without spontaneity, and withdrawal by your male partner. If a cause of infertility is discovered, often the partner who is responsible feels guilt, shame, and anger.

Communication and togetherness are the keys. Sometimes it is important to set limits on the time and amount of treatments you may endure. Others feel that unplanned sex is also needed and the focus on baby making should sometimes be secondary to pleasure.

Communicate and remain unified, eat well, sleep, and seek professional medical counseling if needed. Also, do not be afraid to seek and research other alternatives such as adoption to fulfill your inner desires for parenthood.

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