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When Is The Right Time To Have Intercourse After Childbirth?

Sex after pregnancy is as important to women as it was before pregnancy. But often, it becomes a stressful situation for women due to postpartum changes in their bodies, such as pain, vaginal dryness, bleeding and soreness. Having physical problems and getting busy with child care, many couples are unable to decide the right time to renew intimacy with their partner. Here are a few things you should know about sex after childbirth if you just had a child.

How Soon Can You Have Sex After Childbirth?

There's no exact waiting time to actually start your sex life after the childbirth; however, medical experts recommend a gap of around four to six weeks post-delivery no matter whether it was normal or cesarean. This is because after the childbirth (especially cesarean), a woman suffers from problems like vaginal bleeding, perineal tear (the area between the vaginal opening and anus) or episiotomy which takes around a month's time to heal and get back to normal. Also, having sex within a few weeks after childbirth may lead to uterine infection or postpartum bleeding. [1]

According to a study, around 83% of women face sexual problems the first three months after childbirth. The common problems they face are vaginal dryness, pain, bleeding, loss of libido, vulvovaginal atrophy (loss of vaginal elasticity), soreness and many others due to decrease in the levels of estrogen after the pregnancy and also due to breastfeeding. [2] Also remember, if you have started sexual intercourse after childbirth, you should also resume your birth control as there's a risk of getting pregnant again, even before the arrival of the first postpartum period.

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Sex After Cesarean Birth

Getting back to sexual life is quite a struggle for women who had a c-section delivery. In a normal delivery, all the tears of the body parts often get back to normal within 4-6 weeks while in c-section, due to the major surgery, a woman takes longer to recover from the surgical pain and other difficulties. However, a medical expert suggests that no matter how a woman had given birth to a child, often the vagina gets back to normal and the cervix closes within six weeks after the childbirth. So, it is a matter of choice and your good health which you should consider before renewing your sex life.

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Postpartum Changes That Can Affect Your Sex Life

After having a baby, there are a lot of things which can affect sex, be it your mental conditions or physical changes. Some of the ways how sex can get affected after childbirth are:

  • Feeling discomfort due to vaginal tearing
  • Loose vagina
  • Pee during sex due to weak pelvic muscles
  • Less sensation in the vaginal area due to traumatization of the nerves during delivery.
  • Loss of libido due to breastfeeding
  • Light bleeding due to the rough cervix
  • Disinterest in sex
  • Leakage of breast milk due to the release of the hormone oxytocin during an orgasm
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Tips To Have Healthy Postpartum Sex

  • Start slowly: Before jumping into the penetration sex, start it slowly with cuddling, foreplay or orgasm as they help in the release of oxytocin which lubricates the vagina and helps in the contraction of uterus muscles causing no pain during sex.
  • Care for your body: Childbirth is very traumatizing for women. Also, it does not end soon after the childbirth as a woman again have to struggle a lot to take care of her baby. In this condition, a spa or a massage is the best idea to relax your body and warm up your sex drive again.
  • Kegel exercise: This exercise is best known to cure all the pelvic floor problems related to childbirth. It helps to strengthen the pelvic muscles, tighten the vagina and improves the sensation in the pelvic part to experience pleasurable intercourse. [6]
  • Lubricant is a better option: Vaginal dryness is the most common problem of women after childbirth due to low estrogen levels. This often causes them pain during intercourse. Therefore, try using lubrication as it will make you get more comfortable and cause no pain during sexual activity.
  • Make time: Postpartum stress and tiredness are common but it does not mean that you should stop thinking about putting your sexual life back on track. Make time for your partner or get involved in intimate activities.
View Article References
  1. [1] Anzaku, A. S., & Mikah, S. (2014). Postpartum resumption of sexual activity, sexual morbidity and use of modern contraceptives among Nigerian women in Jos. Annals of medical and health sciences research, 4(2), 210-216.
  2. [2] Memon, H. U., & Handa, V. L. (2013). Vaginal childbirth and pelvic floor disorders. Women’s health, 9(3), 265-277.
Story first published: Friday, January 10, 2020, 19:00 [IST]