Wondering when you can have sex after giving birth? Or will postpartum sex hurt?
Having sex after a baby is a big step and can be quite scary… Here are the most frequently asked questions sex after pregnancy..
Pregnancy and birth change so much about your body, so it makes sense that it will change your sex life as well. Postpartum sex is not something most moms think about until their baby is born, and then there are still many unanswered questions.
Your body would have just been through something quite monumental giving birth to your new baby and as incredible as childbirth is, both naturally and through cesarean section, it takes a huge toll on your body and you need time to recover.
You cannot just jump back into having sex straight after childbirth, and there are some important things you need to know about postpartum sex.
(Mandatory Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor and don’t pretend to be! I am simply a mom and this is what I have discovered on my own pregnancy/postpartum journey. As always, you should consult your doctor as every woman’s body and postpartum journey is unique)
What You Should Know About Postpartum Sex
You Should Wait A Minimum of 4 Weeks (But 6 Is Best!)
If there were no major complications during your delivery, and no lasting conditions, you should be fine to resume sexual activities between four and six weeks after vaginal delivery.
You will need to wait longer if you had an episiotomy or a perineal tear during childbirth. Returning to sex too soon increases your risk of complications such as a uterine infection or postpartum hemorrhaging.
I strongly recommend waiting six weeks before you have sex again to minimize the risk of pain and infection. Your doctor should also evaluate you and give you the green light on sex postpartum.
Sex Will Be Different
Don’t expect postpartum sex to be the same as it was before delivery.
Many women actually report sexual problems in the first three months following delivery. It does get better over time, but don’t expect it to be a breeze.
These are some common issues to expect during sex after delivery:
- Vaginal dryness
- Loss of elasticity in the vaginal tissue
- Thin vaginal tissue
- Loose muscles
- Low libido
I promise, your sex life isn’t doomed. It’s very normal for postpartum sex to be underwhelming at first and even slightly unpleasant.
Have open and honest conversations with your partner about how you’re feeling and changes you can make in the bedroom to make things better for the both of you.
Hormones Play A Huge Role In Postpartum Sex
Remember that your hormones are different after birth, and they play a big role in postpartum recovery and working towards a normal sexual routine.
In the few days after birth, estrogen levels drop to pre-pregnancy levels. If you are breastfeeding, your estrogen levels might sink below what your pre-pregnancy levels were.
This affects postpartum sex as estrogen helps to supply natural lubrication in the vagina, so low estrogen levels mean low lubrication levels, which could make sex painful.
Dryness can also lead to irritation and bleeding, which then increases your chance of infection from sex. You can use a high-quality lube during this time if dryness is an issue (I know it was for me!)
This is true for both vaginal delivery and cesarean sections, as the hormone levels will be the same from both.
The difference is that vaginal delivery could stretch the vaginal canal muscles, which will need time to recover.
You Can Get Pregnant Quite Quickly
Don’t think that you cannot fall pregnant soon after delivery.
Many women are under the impression that they cannot fall pregnant soon, and land up having a baby under a year after delivery!
Some women can ovulate around six weeks after birth, and some even earlier. If you are having unprotected sex during this time, you most definitely can fall pregnant.
Breastfeeding offers some form of natural birth control for four to six months after birth, but it is better to have a backup in case.
Breastfeeding can be 98% effective as birth control for women who are less than six months postpartum, exclusively breastfeed, and who have not started menstruating.
However, you should still use a reliable form of birth control if you are planning to have sex soon after pregnancy, and don’t want to fall pregnant any time soon.
There Is A Chance Of Bleeding During Sex
In the weeks after childbirth, it is completely normal to experience regular bleeding as your uterus heals and your body goes back to normal.
This happens for both vaginal delivery and cesarean sections. Having sex soon after childbirth can lead to additional blood loss.
Due to delivery and hormones, your vagina will be drier and fairly sensitive in the weeks after childbirth, and the muscles in your vagina will be thinner as well.
This could lead to tearing and injury, which then leads to more bleeding as well.
The vagina might even become swollen and inflamed after sex, and while this can be expected, it is something to watch out for as it can be a sign of infection.
If you continue to bleed during sex after six weeks, or if the bleeding worsens, you should bring it up with your doctor.
You May Not Have Any Libido
Hormones play a huge role in pregnancy, labor, delivery, and then your recovery. Estrogen and progesterone are so important to your baby’s development in-utero, and they are also what spike your sex drive.
These two hormones are at a high level during pregnancy, which is why many women experience a high sex drive when pregnant.
When your baby is born, these two hormones decline dramatically, and this means that your sex drive is reduced as well.
You probably won’t feel any sexual desire for a good few weeks after delivery, but this is not too big a deal as you should wait for around six weeks to have sex anyways.
Breastfeeding also keeps estrogen levels low, so you might experience a drop in sex drive for longer than six weeks.
Remember that you are also getting used to being a parent to a newborn, and you will be spending your days caring for your baby, and sleepless nights feeding and changing diapers.
This alone can cause your sex drive to dip. You feel exhausted most of the time and you will want to be focused on your baby.
Take It Slow
The first few weeks after the delivery fly by, don’t rush into postpartum sex before it is safe to do so.
Wait the six weeks, or what is advised by your doctor, before getting back to your regular sex life. Give your body the time it needs to recover and remember that by having sex again, you are opening yourself up to falling pregnant again.
Give your body some rest and recovery, and use protection if you are not wanting to fall pregnant straight away.
Postpartum sex is different from regular sex, so understanding what you can expect really does help comfort new moms!
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