Tiredness, your baby's demands, dissatisfaction with your changed body and the effect of breastfeeding on libido can all cause problems with sex after giving birth.
Other resentments might include, for fathers:
• Feeling that their partner is now only there for the baby and her breasts are off limits; and for mums
• Feeling that everyone is claiming rights to her body and she can't get a minute's peace!
• There's no magic time to resume sex.
• Sex isn't compulsory, nor is penetration! This is the time to experiment with alternatives.
• If sex is painful after stitches or bruising have healed, speak to your doctor or health visitor.
• If necessary, counselling can help - ask your doctor for details.
NCT postnatal sex survey
Five years ago, the National Childbirth Trust found great variations in the time when couples resumed sex, with 20% starting when the baby was a month old, 45% between one and three months, 18% between three and four months, and 13% between five to seven months.
If you're worried that your body won't be the same, remember that:
• The vagina is flexible, elastic tissue;
• The female body was designed for childbirth;
• The body's powers of recovery are remarkable.
Many women feel a new confidence in their femininity after having a baby:
"I feel a new respect for my body that is nothing to do with the way it looks. I'm a much stronger woman now - and that's reflected in all areas of my life." Michelle, first-time mother at 38.
Breastfeeding mums can find vaginal dryness a problem. Using KY jelly can Help. Your doctor can also prescribe oestrogen-type creams or you can try using a Femidom to protect the sore vaginal area. Closeness is what counts. Just lying in bed talking and sharing your deepest feelings can be a very consoling form of intimacy. It will keep you connected until you feel ready for something more physical. You may also enjoy a massage.
"A couple of weeks ago, I really longed to go out and buy some sexy underwear and be a lover again, but I just don't 'feel sexy' yet – although we've made love a few times since Jo was born." Tanya, mother of a six-month-old son.