Low Libido After Pregnancy: How to Cope
Having a baby brings many changes, one of which can be a decrease in libido. While some women seem to return to a normal sex life within a few months of giving birth, others may suffer from a lack of desire for much longer.
According to Laura Fijolek McKain, M.D., an Obstetrician/Gynecologist in Wilmington, North Carolina, 20 percent of women in one study experienced low libido after pregnancy, and had little or no desire for sex three months after delivery. For 21 percent of the women studied, their libido was permanently diminished.
What Causes Low Libido After Pregnancy?
- Dealing with remarkable, sometimes overwhelming, fatigue relating to caring for a newborn
- Meeting the needs of the new baby, who typically demands immediate attention 24 hours per day
- Providing the hours of physical contact required by the infant
Combined, these innate needs of newborns can make the mother feel she no longer has personal space, her own time, or true ownership over her body. Coupled with the physical changes she continues to undergo for at least a year after childbirth, all of these factors can be emotionally and physically draining and contribute to low libido and low energy levels after pregnancy.
Learning to carve out time for intimacy with a partner takes effort. Besides the difficulty in finding a moment for intimate interaction, being touched may be undesirable due to the new mother's need for personal space.
Aside from psychological adjustments to being a new mother, physical changes occurring as the body heals add to the difficulty in fostering sexual desire. The female body has a lot of healing to do after labor and delivery. Hormones are changing and shifting, making the new mom feel emotionally and physically unstable. There may be dread relating to the physical discomfort many women experience during their first sexual forays after childbirth. Finally, due to all of these changes and a lack of "me" time, a woman may begin to feel physically unattractive.
As if all of these hindrances are not enough, subconsciously allowing for sexual desire may be difficult because of a fear of becoming pregnant again. Scientists even believe that the body may actually block sexual desire to allow for healing until it is physically ready to become pregnant again.
Overcoming Low Libido After Pregnancy
Despite the many difficulties that must be overcome when trying to regain sexual interest after having a baby, the good news is that all of these hindrances are temporary. When the body recovers enough from childbirth and hormones are a bit more stable, a healthy sex life can return.
In the meantime, there are several things which can be done to encourage the process, such as:
- Communicate with your partner about your concerns
- Focus on foreplay
- Do not force activity for which you are not ready
- Be romantic
- Ask your partner to help you along with kindness, compliments and patience
Beyond communication, touch and romance, there are some other things which can be done to help combat low libido after pregnancy, like spending some time each day focusing on things which make you feel attractive or sexy. Painting your nails, getting your hair done, returning to the gym, or participating in any other activities that were enjoyed before the baby can help both your mind and your body remember that you are a sexy person.
Dietary and Supplement Ingredients for Low Libido
As discussed above, many factors can contribute to low libido after pregnancy, including hormone imbalance, fatigue and the everyday stress of caring for a new baby. Incorporating into the daily diet, either via food or supplementation, various nutrients that support healthy hormone balance, boost energy and soothe stress can go a long way toward resolving low libido after pregnancy. Here are just a few natural ingredients that can help.
Maca root, a small tuber native to Peru, has been cultivated for thousands of years for its medicinal properties. Aside from providing a plethora of important vitamins and minerals, maca root can help maintain optimal energy and stamina, support healthy hormone levels, aid the body in adapting to external stressors and promote a healthy libido.
Like maca root, ginseng root is an adaptogen, helping the body to better deal with stress while supporting overall health. Ginseng root also possesses stimulant qualities that effectively boost energy levels.
Ginkgo biloba has been used as a medicine in Asia for over 5,000 years. Ginkgo promotes healthy blood flow, encourages the relaxation of smooth muscle tissue and supports feelings of well-being and overall good health.
The leaves of the damiana plant have been used traditionally in Mexico as an aphrodisiac and to support sexual health in men and women. Damiana has also been utilized for its calming effect and its ability to support a healthy mood. It also works to promote optimal energy levels, especially in women.
Lavender is well-known for its stress-soothing effects. This aromatic flower can also help maintain healthy hormone balance and promote a healthy mood.
Passion flower, a beautiful purple flower that is native to the Americas, is perhaps best known for its calming and sleep-promoting properties and its ability to help soothe anxiety and stress. Research also supports passion flower’s aphrodisiac properties.
Avena sativa, or common oat, helps to support healthy hormone levels. Its calming properties may also produce an aphrodisiac effect by helping to soothe the anxiety that can inhibit sexual arousal.
L-tyrosine is an amino acid found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products like milk and cheese, nuts, legumes, avocados, bananas and whole grains. L-tyrosine exerts a powerful effect on the nervous system, promoting a healthy mood and optimal energy levels. L-tyrosine can also help to soothe stress and promote a feeling of general well-being.
Another amino acid, L-arginine, is present in red meat, poultry, certain fish, dairy products and nuts like almonds. L-arginine is necessary for maintaining overall sexual health in both men and women, and also promotes increased sexual desire and healthy blood flow to the body’s organs, including the sex organs.
Rich in protein, vitamins and amino acids, royal jelly helps maintain healthy hormone balance while promoting feelings of well-being.