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Study: Intimacy After Childbirth Depends on Partners, Too

Pair of feet under the covers
Photograph by Getty Images/Wavebreak Media

When it comes to getting intimate after baby's born, let's just say things get a little complicated.

While "sexual problems are common among new parents," writes The New York Times, what with all of that healing and lack of sleep, studies have mostly focused on new birth moms.

But how do their partners feel?

New research from the University of Michigan says that "findings point to the importance of a partner's sexuality for postpartum women's perceptions of their own sexuality in this time."

In other words, our partners influence how we feel—even in the bedroom, after baby's birth.

The study surveyed 114 partners and were asked "about factors influencing their desire and range of sexual experiences," according to the New York Times. And while one-third reported that they had engaged in vaginal intercourse by six weeks after the birth, "we might be getting more people who participated in our study who are more sexually open," said Sari van Anders, lead author of the study.

That said, some couples (both mom and dad) are too exhausted to get back to the same level of intimacy as before baby arrived. At least in the beginning.

Women are usually approved by their ob-gyn to have vaginal intercourse after six weeks, but "to say it's a struggle in a lot of cases is an understatement," Dr. Lori Brotto, director of the University of British Columbia Sexual Health Laboratory in Vancouver, said.

"In some cases," she says, "it's an outright disaster."

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