You’ve just welcomed a bundle of joy into your home with all the excitement, worry and new motherhood experiences you’ve read about and heard from your friends. Breast/bottles, diapering, sleeping~these topics are discussed but little is ever shared about getting back into the bedroom and your libido.
Hormones change rapidly after a baby is born and the body goes through lots of transitions in a very short time. Physical recovery from birth, nursing, exhaustion and figuring out a new human can take an emotional and physical toil on a new momma. Sex may be the last thing on your mind at the end of a day but it may be an important part of the relationship that you both miss. Have no fear, it will return!
In the first few weeks post-partum women are hormonally wired to bond to this new little baby and are producing high levels of oxytocin which is re-enforced with lots of snuggles and touch. The downside of this amazing ‘bonding’ hormone is that it can also create a sense of being “touched out” and decrease libido even more. Other hormones are also changing and new Moms may start to feel the effects of low progesterone after birth. Increased anxiety, sleep disturbances, PMS-like emotions and a generalized sense of unease will also occur with the rapid decrease of this ‘feel good’ hormone.
Cortisol production from the adrenal gland is also going through a ton of changes. Night time feedings, erratic schedules during the day and a tendency for new Moms to not eat regularly or get time to exercise affects the adrenal gland and it’s natural cortisol rhythm. Stress hormones respond to both positive and negative stress and I find a new baby to be an amazing and challenging time for most couples. Most new mommas would benefit from some adrenal herbal adaptogens to help regulate the output of this stress hormone.
So how to bounce back from a low libido? First off, give yourself some time! Those first few months are a time to heal, rest and bond with your baby. Your body is finishing it’s “fourth trimester” and needs time to re-adjust. Libido will respond to a more balanced hormonal state so consider taking some general supports like a good B vitamin and some essential fatty acids. Herbal medicines can help tremendously if hormones feel out of sorts and many herbs are used as natural libido enhancers. Be cautious if you are nursing since many things will pass through breast milk to baby. Speak to your naturopathic physician or herbalist if you are considering an herbal remedy to help perk up your libido. Getting your sexy back may take a few months but new mommas shouldn’t worry that this loving feeling is gone for good. Ask for help and allow yourself time to rediscover your libido.