Many women experience changes in their sexual health and function in the weeks and months following childbirth. As a result, between 40% and 60% of all women in the postpartum period experience a decrease in their libido.
Thanks to childbirth (and being a new mom), you may experience hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and even changes in your relationship — all of these factors can understandably change your sex drive. As such, it’s important to give your brain and body time to recover.
However, if you feel that having a low libido is taking a toll on your mental and physical health — and possibly your relationship — then there are many things you can do to increase it.
In this guide from ASYSTEM, we’ll go over the reasons why your sex drive changes after having a baby and what you can do to get it back.
Why Does Your Sex Drive Change After a Baby?
Your body goes through significant physical changes during and after childbirth, lowering your sex drive. Researchers think that some of these have an evolutionary advantage to make you focus completely on caring for your newborn instead of making a new baby.
Plus, your life changes dramatically after having a child. This can affect everything from your small lifestyle habits to your relationship.
Here are the main reasons why you may experience a lowered sex drive after childbirth:
Decrease in Estrogen
During pregnancy, your body’s estrogen levels go up significantly. This helps the uterus and placenta to create new blood vessels and transfer nutrients to the baby. After giving birth, your body’s estrogen levels drop dramatically — which is part of the reason some new mothers may experience postpartum depression.
In addition to changes in mood, low levels of estrogen are linked to vaginal thinning, drying, and inflammation. This can make sex uncomfortable and — in some cases — downright painful.
Increase in Oxytocin
Also known as the “love hormone,” oxytocin is released when you hug, have sex, or breastfeed. After giving birth, your body will release oxytocin when you cuddle with your baby, which can strengthen your bond with them. However, this can shift your interests towards bonding with your baby instead of getting your oxytocin from your partner.
Increase in Prolactin
Prolactin is a hormone that increases breast size during pregnancy and prepares them for milk production. In women, high prolactin levels are linked to low sexual desire and other markers of sexual health, such as reduced lubrication.
Increased Cortisol Levels
Cortisol is a stress hormone that shuts down your body’s non-essential functions, such as reproduction (A.K.A. sex). Studies show that women have much higher cortisol levels in the months following childbirth.
What gives? Sleep deprivation is likely the main culprit. New parents experience a significant change to their sleep schedule — likely due to waking up many times in the middle of the night. The less restorative sleep we get, the higher our stress hormone levels.
Some psychological factors may also be at play here. New mothers can feel stressed over providing their baby with all they need, getting back to work after maternity leave, and — yes — even having a low libido.
Childbirth is a form of physical trauma for the body. In some cases, childbirth can also be an emotionally taxing experience requiring ample recovery.
Aside from hormonal changes, new mothers may feel physical and emotional fatigue due to what their bodies went through, which can make sex about the last thing on their minds.
Changes in Body Image
Some women may experience a low body image as a result of pregnancy. Even more, studies show that women view their new roles as a mother as incongruent with those of “woman” or “partner.” For some, this combination can contribute to a decrease in sexual desire.
Your Partner May Experience Changes, Too
Some studies show that new parents who did not give birth may also experience hormonal changes. For instance, new dads may experience elevated prolactin levels, increasing child-care behaviors. However, this can also lead to a decrease in testosterone, which can reduce sex drive.
Plus, all new parents experience a significant shock in their lives after a new baby. Between changes to their schedules, diet and exercise routines, and relaxation time, a low sex drive is completely understandable.
If you’re in a relationship, it’s important to consider your partner and what role they could be playing in your sex life.
How Can I Get My Sex Drive Back After a Baby?
In many cases, giving your body time to recover from childbirth and the stress of being a new parent can be all you need to improve your sex drive. However, in some cases, you might need to take action to boost your sex drive.
Keep in mind that your libido combines biological, psychological, and social factors. It can encompass everything from how much you desire your partner to how much pleasure you feel during sex — as such, boosting your libido may require a combination of approaches.
Here are six evidence-backed ways to get your sex drive back after a baby:
1. Reconnect With Your Body
If you spent the last year of your life focused on growing a child inside of you, you might feel slightly disconnected from your sensual and sexual parts. Find ways to reconnect with this part of you by incorporating mind-body practices into your life.
Options such as yoga and dance can be great ways to focus on how great your body feels — instead of fixating on how it looks. Plus, movement can boost natural endorphins, which can go a long way in improving your mood.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is not only beneficial for your overall health, but it can balance your sex hormones, as well.
For instance, a diet high in sugar has been linked to an imbalance in estrogen and testosterone — two hormones that play a substantial role in genital health, energy levels, and sex drive. Conversely, a diet high in fresh produce and healthy fats has been linked to an increased sex drive.
3. Adopt an Exercise Routine
Exercise has tons of health benefits, including several for your sexual function. Exercise can boost circulation, which can increase blood flow to the genitals.
This can increase lubrication, sensitivity to pleasure, and even your ability to orgasm. While it may be hard at first, adopting an exercise routine postpartum can improve sex drive and other aspects of your health.
4. Reduce Stress
If stress is dampening your sex drive, it’s important to look at why you’re feeling stressed out and reduce the number of stressors in your life. For instance, if you feel like you’re doing too much caretaking, then you can ask for help from your partner or even hire help to give you some breathing room.
Sometimes, getting rid of stressors in your life isn’t an option. Fortunately, you can improve your stress response.
Natural supplements such as ASYSTEM’s De-Stress Gummies contain a combination of ingredients clinically proven to reduce stress — and even boost your mood and focus. Panax Ginseng, Rhodiola Extract, and Lion’s Mane Extract work together to help ease feelings of anxiety and allow you to enjoy a better sense of wellbeing.
5. Schedule Date Night
Sometimes, a lack of desire can stem from not prioritizing sex. If possible, try to clear one night in the week (or month) for quality time for you and your partner. Spending time with each other — no baby involved — can help you increase sexual desire.
6. Try a Libido-Boosting Supplement
Sometimes, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and going on frequent dates with your partner are not options for new parents. In this case, natural supplements can be what you need to boost your sex drive.
Some herbal supplements can increase libido by supporting healthy circulation, balancing sex hormones, and reducing stress.
ASYSTEM’s Couples Libido Gummies contain a blend of natural ingredients, such as S7®, Fenugreek Extract, and French Maritime Pine Bark Extract show clinically significant improvements in sex drive.
As a new mom, you may experience significant changes after birth, such as differences in hormone levels, physical exhaustion, and a shock to your lifestyle. These factors can make it completely understandable why you’d experience a decreased sex drive.
Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to best your libido. By adopting healthy lifestyle factors, making quality time for yourself and your partner, and getting support from ASYSTEM’S Libido System, you just might boost your sex drive.
Meet our Experts
This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.
Former Olympic Athlete, Founder, B2ten Foundation (coach to multiple Olympic Champions)
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