Sex After Birth of a Baby: Does It Hurt?

Sex After Birth of a Baby: Does It Hurt?

Sex after birth may not feel like the most appetizing of pastimes—and understandably so.
After birth, both inside of you and around you, a lot is going on.

In that infamous postpartum phase, you have 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 the thought of adding sex after birth to your to-do list may not be top of mind.

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 if your relationship with sex after birth has gone south, the situation is likely a temporary one.

Don’t worry, mama! There’ll be plenty of time to revisit sex in the future.

In this article: 📝

  • How long after birth can you have sex?
  • How does sex feel after birth?
  • Does sex hurt after birth?
  • Sex stories after giving birth

How long after birth can you have sex?

If you’re all revved up with no place to go, you might be wondering when can you have sex after birth?

There’s no hard and fast rule about how long after giving birth can you 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 birth.

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

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, like sex after birth is the last thing on your mind.](

That being said, for some mamas, sex after birth is exactly what they want, like the perfect stress-reliever—and the best way of celebrating with your partner about the little being that you’ve created.

When is it safe to have sex after birth?

Another reason to delay having sex after birth is the risk of infection ‒ there may be some perineal or vaginal tearing, so you don’t want to aggravate the area while it’s trying to heal.

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 you feel ready to have sex after birth before 4 weeks, and your body feels ready for sex after birth, then go for it!

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

Can you have sex 3 weeks after giving birth?

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.

But 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?

You might have heard sex after birth stories like “I had sex 2 weeks after giving birth and I loved it” or “sex 2 weeks after giving birth: would not recommend”.

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.

But there are some risks to having sex 2 weeks after giving birth that it’s worth being aware of.

The two main risks of having sex after birth before your body has recovered, or before 4-6 weeks are postpartum hemorrhage and uterine infection.

Postpartum hemorrhage (bleeding after birth) and uterine infections can be caused by any type of sex, so doctors will generally recommend avoiding sex after birth entirely until about a month or so.

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.

Does sex feel different after giving birth?

No. For most women, sex after birth doesn’t feel the same.

But there is a myriad of reasons why, and they all depend on how you’re healing, what your birth experience was like, your mental wellbeing, and your relationships with whoever you’re with.

It’s a mix of psychological and physical reasons why sex after birth feels different, 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 sex after birth, you’re not alone, but the reasons why might be unique to you.

Sex after vaginal birth

So, 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 after birth feel like after your vagina has performed this pretty astounding feat?

While sex after birth will be different for every person, 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 might want to 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.

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 4 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 after birth 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.

Sex after birth could be on the list of things to avoid.

One of the primary reasons for this is to stave off the risk of infection.

So, mama, for the first few weeks after a c-section, totally fine to stick to cuddles.

When can you have sex after c-section?

So how long after c-section can you have sex?

Generally speaking, most doctors recommend steering clear of sex after birth until about 6 weeks postpartum.

Oral sex after giving birth

Oral sex after birth 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.

Anal sex after birth

Can you have anal sex after giving 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, due to the risk of infection and postpartum hemorrhage.

Why can’t I climax after having a baby?

We get it. Sex after birth can be emotionally and physically draining.

And there are so many things that can contribute to your being able to orgasm ‒ 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 after birth.

Maybe, before pregnancy, penetrative sex was all you needed to climax, but perhaps sex after birth requires a little foreplay or non-penetrative sex to get you going.

Whatever you want, it can be fun to explore your new preferences!

Does sex hurt after birth?

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

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

Sex after birth 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.

And if you’re concerned about painful sex after birth, speak with your doctor ‒ they should be able to 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 after birth lasts for a little while.

Don’t worry.

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

There are 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.

Sex stories after giving birth

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.

Good luck with this next phase, mama.

💡 More on postpartum life from The 411:
5 Ways to Advocate for Yourself During Pregnancy and Postpartum
Your Guide to Postpartum Anxiety Symptoms
How to Deal With Postpartum Gas
10 Ideas for a Nutritious Postpartum Diet
A Guide to the Best Types of Postpartum Massage
An Intro to Postpartum Yoga
Why Do I Get Postpartum Night Sweats?
Postpartum Hemorrhoids: What You Need to Know
What’s Causing My Postpartum Headache?
How to Manage Postpartum Hypertension
What to Do About a Postpartum Rash
Pregnant Dating: 7 Tips for a Great Experience
Your (Realistic) Postpartum Workout Plan
What are the Best Postpartum Pads?
Who Feels More Pleasure: Male or Female?
Condoms for Women: All You Need to Know

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