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Decreased Libido After the Baby Arrives

Q: Ever since my one-year-old was born, I'm basically never in the mood. I've been blaming it on feeling tired and out of shape (I'm still working on losing those last 20 baby pounds), but the fact is I was just as big and tired when I was 7 months pregnant and that still didn't stop me from wanting sex. My husband thinks my birth control pills could be the culprit. Is that possible?

Dr. Donnica: There are many reasons for a decreased libido after having a baby, even a year later. Fatigue is usually a major factor, especially if you're still nursing, if your baby isn't sleeping through the night, or if you're working outside the home and trying to balance the demands of a new child.

Body image can also be a factor depending on the expectations you (and your husband) may have had about how long it might take you to get back into your pre-pregnancy size. Rebalancing the relationship with your husband is also critically important after adding a first child to the mix, especially when it comes to sharing household and childcare responsibilities. Lingering resentments can play a destructive role in the bedroom.

Your husband is right about birth control pills. They can definitely have an impact on decreasing libido in some women. This is worth discussing with your doctor. Different pills may have different effects in different women. In general I would recommend the lowest possible dose. You may also want to discuss other contraceptive options. Alternatives to birth control pills include diaphragms, IUDs, the contraceptive patch (Ortho Evra™), or a vaginal ring (Nuva Ring™).

Created: 6/21/2003  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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