They say everything changes when you have a baby—and that definitely includes your sex life. "What worked for you before having a baby might be very different after giving birth," says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the Yale University School of Medicine. Why? Your anatomy has changed.
"For a woman who has an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, it usually takes about six weeks to heal," says Leah Millheiser, M.D., director of the Female Sexual Medicine Program at Stanford University. "That means, when a woman starts to have sex again, obviously it's been a while. It can be a little tighter and narrower down there." On the flip side, some women experience just the opposite after giving birth: a loosening of the pelvic floor. "There is stretching of the tissue down there, but typically that goes back to normal," Millheiser says.
On top of that, many breastfeeding moms experience problems with dryness—the number-one bedroom issue Minkin hears about after a woman gives birth. Breastfeeding causes a decrease in estrogen, which obviously affects the vagina, she says. So even if you didn't use it before, you'll probably need to introduce lube to your sex life after giving birth. (Try this organic lube from the Women's Health Boutique.)
What do all these changes mean? Your go-to position might not get the job done anymore. "Once you've been cleared by your doctor to engage in penetrative intercourse, you can begin to experiment with positions," says Kat Van Kirk, Ph.D., a licensed marriage and sex therapist and author of the Married Sex Solution: A Realistic Guide to Saving Your Sex Life. "What matters is that you're comfortable so you can focus on pleasure."
"In general, women do really well on top during the postpartum months because they can control the speed and the depth of penetration," says Millheiser. "A woman has to try out the position that she enjoys to find out what’s best for her."
The experts stress that every woman is different—there's no holy grail of post-birth sex moves. But to get your sex life revved up again, they recommend starting out with these five positions.
To try penetration for the first time post-birth, start on top. "If you're comfortable straddling away from your partner on your knees, Reverse Cow Girl can be a great way to have clitoral access while you control depth and rhythm," says Van Kirk.
If you're not comfortable on top, try flipping over and lying flat on your stomach. "This low energy rear entry position allows you to relax into penetration without your partner being able to go too deep," says Van Kirk.
Post-baby, slow and steady wins the race. "Going side-by-side can help control your partner from going too deep or too hard," says Van Kirk.
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If spooning feels good but you want to shake it up, try what Van Kirk calls "lazy sex." "Lay in an 'L' shape with your partner with you on your back and he on his side," she says. "This allows for minimal exertion while also giving you both access to your clitoris."
Speaking of your clitoris... "Cunnilingus (a.k.a. oral sex) is always a good option," says Van Kirk. "Whether you are laying back or leaning on the headboard, you don't have to worry about penetration."