Sex after birth may not feel like the most appetizing of pastimes—and understandably so. 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 to your to-do list may not be top of mind.
So instead of asking the question How soon after birth can you have sex?, you might be asking yourself How soon after birth will I want to have sex again?
The good news is that if your relationship to 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.
Here are the details.
How long after birth can you have sex?
There’s no hard and fast rule about how and when you can have sex after birth—but most healthcare providers will recommend that you stave off for about the first month or so, so that your body can recover.
What would happen if I had sex 2 weeks after giving birth?
When you go for your check-up in the postpartum period (or what is known as the 4th trimester), chat this through with your doctor. 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.
That being said, in the unlikely event that sex is exactly what you feel like, it might just be the perfect stress-reliever—and the best way of celebrating with your partner about the little being that you’ve created.
How does sex feel after birth?
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 a bit of cutting of that 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 it’ll 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, remember that lube is your friend.
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 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 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.
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 sex hurts more than usual.
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. 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. If sex is the very last thing on your mind and having your toenails pulled off with pliers sounds more appealing, 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 diving in.
Good luck with this next phase, mama.