What Happens to Your Sex Drive Postpartum

By Nadia Murdock

So, you have brought home your bundle of joy, but you are not really feeling like yourself, especially in the bedroom. You might be asking yourself: “Is this normal?” Absolutely!

According to Sheryl Ross, MD, “It’s completely normal for both women and men’s libido to hit a rock-bottom low during the first six to nine months following the birth of your baby.” But why does this happen to moms? Finding time for sexy time in the bedroom might not be top priority while you are stepping into your new role as a mom. You also need to get enough rest and concentrate on healing post-pregnancy. 

Let’s breakdown some of the shifts you might be experiencing to help you have a better understanding of why your libido may have sunken. 

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes happen immediately after giving birth. Oestrogen levels are high during pregnancy. This hormone is secreted from the ovaries, and it is responsible for stimulating the Luteinizing hormone, which assists in ovulation. After birth, the decrease in oestrogen and progesterone can cause hot flashes, thinning hair, and dry skin, very similar to symptoms you experience during menopause. 

This can have a significant impact on your sex-drive, as your body is still working its way back to a pre-pregnancy state. As a result, dryness in the vagina can occur due to the low estrogen, which can contribute to the loss of desire. 

Equally important are the hormonal fluctuations that can impact women mentally.  Postpartum blues, also known as baby blues, occur in 80 percent of new mothers. This usually happens three to fives days after childbirth and subsides once the hormone levels return back to normal. Postpartum depression is less common, and is a major form of depression, in comparison to baby blues. Women facing these issues should not feel ashamed and should speak to a doctor if these feelings persist more than two weeks post-delivery.

Pelvic Floor 

During pregnancy there is an increased pressure on the pelvic floor. In addition, during childbirth the pelvic floor muscles can be stretched and damaged. Hormones soften the muscles in this region to help prepare the body for delivery. This is why exercising the pelvic floor is key during recovery. “One thing I suggest to my patients to start while pregnant and immediately after childbirth are kegel exercises. Regardless of the type of delivery, start your kegel exercises as soon as possible. You need to regain the strength of the internal pelvic floor. This will reduce your likelihood of urinating every time you sneeze, jump, laugh, or cough. If this is happening to you months (or years) after your baby has been born, talk to your doctor or a physician that specializes in postpartum therapy,” says Dr. Jennifer Dour, chiropractor and owner of Garden State Spinal Care.

Many women have decreased sexual sensation due to a weakened pelvic floor. If you are unaware of this weakness and your libido is low, this can cause stress within your relationship and sometimes feelings of depression. It’s important to note that the pelvic floor muscles play a prominent role in sexcual function and satisfaction. Don’t ignore your pelvic floor, regardless of whether or not you had a vaginal birth.

Knowing what your body is experiencing during your recovery period will help you have a greater understanding of your sex drive. It’s important to note there is no rush to getting back to the bedroom. Sharing the information that you learn with your partner will help you go through the journey together.

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