Sex After Birth: The Expert Tips You Need to Know

Sex After Birth: The Expert Tips You Need to Know

In that infamous postpartum phase, you’ve a whole lot to deal with.

Frequent feeding, hormone havoc, perpetual poop—and sorry, what is sleep again?

Your body is also recovering from one heck of a ride. 🎢

Put this all together, and adding sex after birth to your to-do list may feel more daunting than tantalizing.

So instead of asking the question How long to wait to have sex after birth, you might be asking yourself How soon will I want sex after birth?

The good news is that even if your sex life post-birth has gone south, the situation is likely a temporary one. 🙌

Don’t worry, mama! You’ve plenty of time to revisit sex in the future.

And we’re here to face you in the right direction.👇

In this article: 📝

  • How long after pregnancy can you have sex?
  • When is it safe to have sex after giving birth?
  • What are the risks of sex after pregnancy?
  • How does sex feel after birth?
  • Why can’t I climax after having a baby?
  • Does sex hurt after birth?
  • How to have good sex after giving birth

How long after pregnancy can you have sex?

There’s no hard and fast rule about how soon after birth you can have sex, but most healthcare providers will recommend that you stave off for around 4-6 weeks, so your body can heal and recover.

When you go for your check-up in the postpartum period (or what is known as the 4th trimester), you can ask your doctor about the risks and recommendations for sex after pregnancy.

They’ll probably advise you to wait a bit for some healing to take place.

Besides, there’s a strong possibility your body will be telling you that it needs a rest—and requesting a bit of a sabbatical from anything entering or exiting that general area.

Your hormones are also playing all sorts of games that may not leave you feeling your sexiest.

You’re scraping the estrogen barrel—and that, added to the bits of baby puke that seem to take no time at all to land on every fresh shirt, might leave you feeling not so high and very dry.

That being said, for some mamas, sex after birth offers the perfect stress reliever and the best way of celebrating the new life they’ve created with their partner.

When is it safe to have sex after giving birth?

One main reason to delay postpartum sex is the risk of infection.

Depending on your birthing experience, there may be some perineal or vaginal tearing, so you don’t want to aggravate the area while it’s trying to heal.

Postpartum infections affect between 5 to 7% of women, and sadly, they’re often preventable.

So, most doctors will recommend avoiding sex after birth until about 4-6 weeks to avoid infection.

What happens if you don’t wait 6 weeks after birth?

If you feel ready, and you’re thinking, this is all well and good, but when can I have sex after birth?

Well, that’s a decision only you can make, mama.

If your body feels ready before 4 weeks, then go for it!

Although you may find that you have to make some… adjustments.

Still, if you’re considering having sex 3 weeks after giving birth with stitches—particularly after a vaginal birth—it may be a little soon for your body to recover.

Ultimately, you know your body best, so trust your own judgment, but don’t feel like you have to rush into anything.

What would happen if I had sex 2 weeks after giving birth?

Everybody is different, every birth is different, and every person’s experience of sex is different.

So while one mama might be having sex 2 weeks after giving birth with stitches, another might be avoiding sex after birth for months or even years afterward.

There is no correct timeline. But there are risks worth being aware of.

What are the risks of sex after pregnancy?

The two main risks of having sex before your body has fully recovered from childbirth are postpartum hemorrhage (aka postpartum bleeding) or uterine infection (also known as postpartum endometritis).

Let’s look at them one by one:

Postpartum Bleeding

One of the most dangerous childbirth complications, postpartum bleeding is basically vaginal bleeding that is far heavier than normal (greater than 1000 mL).

Primary postpartum hemorrhage is bleeding that happens within the first 24 hours of delivery, while secondary postpartum hemorrhage can happen anywhere from 24 hours to 12 weeks postpartum.

And the leading causes of secondary postpartum bleeding?

Endometriosis, retained placental tissue, and infection.

Postpartum endometritis

This is basically an inflammation of the inner lining of your uterus (the endometrium) due to bacterial infection.

Postpartum endometriosis is actually one of the most common infections after childbirth—especially if you’ve had a c-section.

And it’s most commonly caused by unprotected sex (because of the mixing of bacteria).

In general, the postpartum period takes a massive toll on women’s sexual function.

Vaginal dryness, pain during sex, vaginal bleeding, difficulty reaching orgasms, and vaginal irritation after sex are all common experiences.

And then there’s the loss of sexual desire, which is equally valid and normal.

Being ready to reignite your sex life after pregnancy is more than being physically able—it should encompass your emotional and mental well-being too.

There are many ways to rebuild intimacy in your relationship.

And, spoiler alert, placing yourself under pressure is not one of them.

Besides, sometimes a slow burn can lead to the most explosive finales (hello Bridgerton). 🌡

How does sex feel after birth?

Whether you have a c-section or a vaginal birth will have a bearing on how sex after birth feels.

In both instances, some degree of healing is needed before your bedroom bounce rebounds.

For most women, sex after birth doesn’t feel the same.

There’s a myriad of reasons why, and they all depend on how you’re healing, what your birth experience was like, your mental well-being, and your relationship dynamic.

It’s an entire mix of psychological and physical reasons, and they’re different for every mama. 🤹‍♀️

So whether you’re feeling like your libido has lessened, you’re always in the mood, or every time you try, it’s just painful, you’re not alone—even if the reasons might be unique to you.

So, how exactly does sex feel different after giving birth?

Let’s break it down by birthing experience:

1. Sex after vaginal birth

If you’ve given birth vaginally, we don’t need to tell you that your vagina has just been through quite the journey.

Your cervix has dilated (yep—to the size of a bagel 🥯), and the opening of your vagina has stretched wide enough for a whole baby to get through.

It’s no surprise that a little tearing is likely to take place somewhere in the region of the vagina and perineum (that piece of real estate between your vagina and your bottom).

The doctor may also have had to do what’s known as an episiotomy, which involves cutting a little bit of the area to help your baby get to the outside world.

So what does sex feel like after your vagina has performed this pretty astounding feat?

Here’s some of what you might experience:

  • Things may be a little roomier down there: Your vagina might be stretched, soft, and swollen. If you want to, you can explore the wonderful world of pelvic floor exercises. This can help you firm things up (and also assist in the postpartum incontinence department).
  • More desert than waterfall: Yes, vaginal dryness post-birth is a thing. Why is this the case? One of the reasons is that breastfeeding results in an estrogen drop, and that drop results in dryness. If you do feel like having sex after birth, remember that lube is your friend.

Why am I so tight after having a baby?

While most mamas will experience a more ‘stretched’ vagina after birth, some might be feeling a little tighter than usual.

This could be a pelvic floor response to the trauma your vaginal area has been through and can happen more often to people who practice pelvic floor exercises regularly before and during pregnancy.

2. Sex after c-section birth

A c-section is a pretty major surgical operation.

As a result, the recovery time is longer.

You’ll likely stay in the hospital for about four days after you give birth.

When you get home, you’ll probably still be in some pain and discomfort for a few weeks—and it could take as long as a few months to get back to your old self again.

While you’re recovering, the thought of having sex may be the furthest thing from your mind as you focus instead on getting your strength back.

Your surgeon may recommend that you stay away from all sorts of activities, including lifting heavy objects, for about 6 weeks.

And postpartum sex could be on the list of things to avoid to stave off the risk of infection.

So, mama, for the first few weeks after a c-section, totally fine to stick to cuddles as a way of increasing physical intimacy.

Best sex positions after a c-section

You’re ready to take the leap and explore sex after c-section, so where do you begin?

If your incision is still a little tender, it’s best to stick with positions that don’t put any pressure on your stomach—side-lying with some sensual spooning being a top pick. 🥄

Second to that is any sex position that gives you maximum control over your comfort.

So, wave (a temporary) goodbye to doggy style and missionary because it’s time for you to take the reigns on top.

That’s one way to feel empowered. 💪

And hey, if you’re not feeling it at first, zero pressure. Take it slow and find what feels good for you.

And remember, you can always stop when you no longer feel comfortable.

3. Oral sex after giving birth

Oral sex after pregnancy is a little different—depending on whether it’s penetrative or not.

While it’s best to leave it until about 2-3 weeks after birth to avoid infection, most mamas can try receiving oral sex a little sooner than penetrative sex after birth.

4. Anal sex after birth

Yes, you can have anal sex after birth, but, as it’s a form of penetrative sex, it’s best to avoid it until about 4-6 weeks postpartum.

Again, this is due to the risk of infection and postpartum hemorrhage.

If you’ve had an episiotomy, you’ll also need to ensure you’re fully healed before attempting this form of intercourse.

Anal sex can disrupt the stitches, preventing the body from healing and increasing the risk of infection.

sex after birth

Why can’t I climax after having a baby?

Sex after birth can be emotionally and physically draining.

And there are so many things that can contribute to you being able to orgasm after birth—your emotional state, mental well-being, physical well-being, and whether or not you’re even in the mood.

Plus, your entire reproductive system has been through a lot, so you might find that your preferences have changed when it comes to sex.

Your orgasm might have even been stronger and longer before birth, but now requires a little more foreplay or non-penetrative sex to get you going. 🥵

Still, it can be fun to explore your new preferences…

Can you orgasm after birth?

It may take a little more time, but just because you’ve given birth doesn’t mean orgasms are off the menu.

Understanding how female orgasms work is a big part of this.

Research shows that most women don’t achieve climax from penetration alone, so there’s that.

And even with optimum sexual stimulation in the mix, a 2019 study raises the importance for women to feel sexually desired by their partners.

No going through the motions here, we need to feel celebrated and wanted—something deep intimacy can provide.

But knowing how to get in the mood after a baby and actually getting there are two different things.

Fatigue, fluctuating hormones, stress, and self-esteem can take time to bounce back from.

It may take a few weeks of having sex after birth before you reach the big O—hey, it’s an awkward time—but allowing space for that journey (and the physical recovery you need) will have you shouting “yes!” in no time.

Just remember, not too loud. 😉

Does sex hurt after birth?

Many manas experience painful sex postpartum, so if you’re feeling sore after getting in the mood, you’re certainly not alone.

Pain during sex is one of the most common experiences for postpartum mamas—after all, your body and mind may still be recovering, even after 6 weeks.

The pain can range from a slight twinge to pain so bad you might feel like you never want to have sex again.

But, for most people, it will get better.

It’s also worth mentioning that bleeding after sex is normal during this period.

It’s simply the body’s way of flushing out mucous, blood, and uterine tissue to aid recovery.

Bleeding after birth is called lochia, and if you have sex within a short period of delivery, this can expel lochia further.

You can also bleed if you are experiencing vaginal dryness, so ensure you are using lube.

And remember, if you’re concerned about painful sex after birth, speak with your doctor—they can offer some advice or adjustments to make the experience better for you.

Why does sex hurt after birth?

Because your lower half has had quite an adventure, sex after birth can be painful for a few months.

The dryness caused by the estrogen lows may mean that pain during sex lasts for a little while.

Don’t worry.

This is only a phase, and you’ll return to your old self in time.

There’s also so many ways to have sex after birth.

If penetration is feeling painful right now, you may want to have fun with some other climax-inducing methods.

(Of course, you also have a newborn, so if you’re not in the mood at all, totally fine.)

The best thing to do? Trust yourself.

You’re the expert when it comes to your body.

How to have good sex after giving birth

In the market for postpartum sex tips that address your mind, new body, and altered relationship dynamic?

We’ve got you. 🫶

  • Take it slow and gently: Start with using a finger and see how that feels.
  • Communication: Ensure you are relaying to your partner how you’re feeling at that moment to prevent pain and discomfort.
  • Use lubricant: Hormonal changes after birth may mean you’re not as lubricated as usual, this is totally normal and will calm down after a few weeks.
  • Make time to relax: You’ve a little one to worry about now, so it might take your nervous system longer to get into the moment.
  • Schedule date nights: And that includes dating yourself. Yep, reconnecting to who both of you are outside of your new roles as parents is key to tapping into intimacy. Date nights at home count too.
  • Be honest on your postnatal check: Although the topic of sex is still quite taboo, your healthcare provider has heard it all before. Ensure you’re asking them any sex questions or worries you have—especially if you are experiencing pain.

There are so many mamas with different experiences of sex after birth.

Some recommend experimenting with new things to see what works for you in your new postpartum body.

If you’ve not tried sex toys after pregnancy, give them a go!

(Our Peanut mamas recommend the KURVE for postpartum vibrators.)

If you’re worried about having painful sex 6 months after birth, you’re not alone.

If you’re jumping back between the sheets a few days after birth, other mamas will be doing that, too!

And if you’re keen to share your own sex stories after birth, or you want to hear from other mamas getting back on the saddle, join us on Peanut—we’re having the conversation.

If sex is the very last thing on your mind, there’s seriously no rush.

Ultimately, your libido will be restored to its former glory. ✨

If, on the other hand, you’re feeling foxy, that’s fine too.

Just check with your doc to make sure that there’s nothing to be concerned about before having sex after birth.

Enjoy this next phase, mama.

Slow and steady.


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