Love, Sex & Relationships
Updated on 24 January 2023
First, congratulations on your Motherhood!
Right now, you are going through a lot, from vaginal soreness to continuous daily exhaustion from taking care of your newborn. At this period, you may be in the mood for shared intimacy with your partner. On the other hand, sex may be the last thing on your mind right now.
However, after childbirth, the first sexual encounter can be a crucial step for you and your partner to reignite the spark between you. Postpartum sex typically does not have any timeline. Take your time and be intimate with your partner at your own pace.
Typically, there is no specific waiting period before which you should not have sex after delivery. However, some physicians recommend a waiting period of three to six weeks after delivery to resume your sex life to prevent uterine infection or disruption of any stitches from pregnancy.
This is generally because the risk of after-delivery complications is the highest during this period. Additionally, after giving birth, you may also experience pain, vaginal tears, postpartum discharge, fatigue, low sexual desire, etc. A few weeks of waiting will give your body the time to heal properly and for you to be emotionally ready before you resume your sex life.
Sometimes after pregnancy, sex hurts, especially if you are healing from an episiotomy or perineal tears. An episiotomy is a surgical incision your physician might make in your perineum during childbirth that takes time to heal.
If you are breastfeeding, you may also experience tenderness and dryness in your vagina due to hormonal changes. To overcome such discomforts, you may try the following,
To avoid or ease out some of your pain, you may try a few measures like taking pain medicine, emptying your bladder before sex, taking a warm bath to soothe your muscles, etc. After sex, you may also experience a burning sensation in your vagina. You can apply ice wrapped in a cloth to soothe the discomfort.
Using lubricant is a great way to deal with vaginal dryness.
Be open with your partner about your pain and discomfort. Try alternate sex options like oral sex, mutual masturbation, lengthy foreplay, massage, etc.
Try having sex when both of you are not exhausted. Give efforts to set moods and reignite the spice between you two once again.
However, if you experience severe and unusual pain, more than you can handle, consult your physician immediately for a check-up and also for possible pain relief options.
You may have physically recovered well enough to resume normal sex life, however, you are still not feeling the desire to have sex with your partner. It may be due to several reasons that may influence your desire to have sex in the postpartum phase. For example,
When can I resume sex after a cesarean section?
In the case of cesarean section, people recover differently. After childbirth, your physician will ask you to be mobile and perform gentle activities. Such measures will help reduce the risk of blood clots. However, you may have to refrain from having sex for at least six to eight weeks or until you are comfortable and physically ready to enjoy sex.
If you go for the normal delivery, the entrance of your vagina will be stretched out to let out your baby. Due to this, your vagina may be bruised and swollen. However, this will reduce with time, and the pain will also go away.
Although after normal delivery, your vagina may not go back to its previous shape, that will not affect your future sexual experience.
Typically, after delivery, you can again get pregnant in 3 weeks, even if your periods haven’t started again. However, if you do not wish to get pregnant, do not forget to use contraceptives while having sex after delivery.
After recovering physically, if you're still struggling to be intimate with your partner, look for any signs and symptoms that may be part of postpartum depression. You may feel severe exhaustion, acute mood swings, loss of appetite, overwhelming emotions, etc. If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, contact your physician immediately. With proper and timely treatment, you can have a speedy recovery and once again will resume a healthy sex life.
1. Jones C, Chan C, Farine D. (2011). Sex in pregnancy. NCBI
2. Fuchs A, Czech I, Sikora J, Fuchs P, Lorek M, Skrzypulec-Plinta V, Drosdzol-Cop A. (2019). Sexual Functioning in Pregnant Women. NCBI
3. Wiley Online Library. (2017). Sex During Pregnancy: Journal of MidWifery & Women's Health. onlinelibrary.wiley.com
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