Sex. This can be a scary thing for women who have had a cesarean birth, who have torn vaginally, or who have had an episiotomy (or some kind of traumatic birth...or even just birthed a baby). For one, some women find it hard to look at their cesarean scar, think their vagina appearance has changed or have a difficult time letting their partner look at them postpartum because they have lost muscle tone, have a stretched out belly, stretch marks etc.
The scar tissue from the cesarean delivery and vaginal delivery (with a 3rd/ 4th degree tear and episiotomy) is still healing at your 6 week check up and will continue to heal for 6-12+ months, even if you are released at your 6 weeks check up and were told your incision was healed.
Remember, sex should not be painful, but if it is, it would be wise to see a pelvic floor physical therapist to assess your scar tissue (vaginal or abdominal) and see if it might be causing some of your pain. Most OBGYNs and Midwives recommend waiting until after your 6 week appointment to start engaging in sex again. If your doctor has cleared you for intercourse, it is fine to start. There are many factors during pregnancy and delivery that can cause pain with sex. Remember, painful sex is common and not normal. Speak with your doctor about your pain and see a pelvic floor physical therapist to help improve your symptoms. A pelvic floor physical therapist can evaluate your pelvic floor muscles for tightness, poor coordination and assess your scar tissue (cesarean or vaginal) to help address your pain.
If you are experiencing pain with sex, here are some things you can try:
Water-based lubricantHormone fluctuations can decrease the amount of lubricant your body produces, especially if you are breastfeeding. Trying a lubricant that is water based is likely to last longer. Here are some options (In no particular order) :
2. Longer foreplay with deep belly breathing
-It may take a little longer to increase your arousal. Adding in some belly breathing with foreplay can help calm down the tissues and get them ready for the fun!
3. Switch it up!
-A position that used to be comfortable, may not be anymore. Try a new position out and see if that does the trick. For example, on your back might be uncomfortable, but on top might cause less discomfort.
If pain continues, please seek the help of a pelvic floor physical therapist and your healthcare provider.