PARENTS

Pregnancy Contributes To Lack Of Sexual Desire In New Moms, Says Study

Because having a child is exhausting.

09/25/2017 11:42 EDT | Updated 09/25/2017 11:42 EDT
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There's a lot of important things that take up your time when you're a new mom, and as a result, sex usually falls by the wayside.

After all, you (and your child's dad or mom) are responsible for feeding your baby, washing your baby, changing your baby's diapers, making sure your baby sleeps on schedule, and so on. Not to mention, you're trying to take care of yourself (even if it's just a one-minute shower or a power nap) while adjusting to having this beautiful new human in your life.

So, when does a new mom fit in time to have sex with her partner? According to a new study, it's not all that often.

The study, published in BMJ Open, surveyed 4,839 men and 6,669 women between the ages of 16 to 74 and found that 15 per cent of men and 34.2 per cent of women didn't want to have sex for at least three months.

"For women in particular, the experience of sexual interest appears strongly linked with their perceptions of the quality of their relationships, their communication with partners and the expectations/attitudes about sex," the study authors noted.

For women in particular, the experience of sexual interest appears strongly linked with their perceptions of the quality of their relationships.

However, the study noted that there are many reasons why people, in particular, women, lose interest in sex, from low desire, mental and physical health issues, marital problems, and just being too tired.

When looking at the data, researchers found that many of women's sexual turn-offs included having children under five years old, and having given birth in the last year.

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"This may be due to fatigue associated with a primary caring role, the fact that daily stress appears to affect sexual functioning in women more than men or possibly a shift in focus of attention attendant on bringing up small children," explained the study's authors.

As Babble's Julie Scagell explains, "Parents, especially moms, are pulled in so many directions after having kids. Specifically after pregnancy, many women are dealing with hormones, breastfeeding, body image issues, and adjusting to a life where we seem to need at least five clones of ourselves to get everything accomplished."

Specifically after pregnancy, many women are dealing with hormones, breastfeeding, body image issues, and adjusting to a life where we seem to need at least five clones of ourselves to get everything accomplished.

She continues: "Women are still the primary caregivers in families, regardless of whether they work or not, and it seems there is always something to do — packing lunches, making doctor's appointments, laundry, homework, cooking — the list goes on and on. When we finally lay our heads on the pillow after the kids are tucked in for the night, it's natural that sex isn't top-of-mind."

It just makes us feel like doing this:

But although new parents may feel like they're too tired to have sex, it is still important to be intimate with your partner on the regular.

And for women, it's not always feeling tired that gets in the way of having sex with their partner.

"Many women have difficulties feeling sexual and sexy due to weight gain, tiredness and having many of the affection needs met by baby," Irina Firstein, a relationship specialist, told SheKnows. "Please don't let this get in the way of your love and sexual expression to your husband (or wife)," she said, adding that the weight will eventually come off.

Many women have difficulties feeling sexual and sexy due to weight gain, tiredness and having many of the affection needs met by baby.

Firstein suggests making time for foreplay, going on regular date nights (sans baby), and staying connected to your partner through constant communication.

"Do not lose a sexual connection," Firstein says. "It's hard to get it back, so don't let it dissipate to begin with."

And if you're hesitant about getting back in the saddle, Stacey Nelkin, author of You Can't Afford to Break Up: How an Empty Wallet and a Dirty Mind Can Save Your Relationship says it's OK to start off with oral sex before you attempt intercourse.

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"That is when giving pleasure to your husband (or wife) — as in, oral sex — can keep you both connected and keep him (or her) happy," Nelkin says. "Sex does not have to be intercourse, and oral sex performed by you is sometimes easier than penetration."

Sex does not have to be intercourse, and oral sex performed by you is sometimes easier than penetration.

The folks at AstroGlide recommend working around your children's sleep schedules.

"Take advantage of naptime. When the kids nap, parents play." But they also add that it's important to rest, too. "Once the baby goes to bed, you go to bed. Don't stay up doing laundry or chores — these things can be done while the baby is awake."

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If you find yourself too tired to enjoy sexy times with your partner after you put the kids to sleep, "Think about waking up before the house gets crazy for some intimate interaction," they suggest.

Just remember to take your time, talk to your partner, and remember that what you're feeling and going through is normal.

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