Sex After a C-Section: 6 Things You Need to Know

Sex After a C-Section: 6 Things You Need to Know

Sex after giving birth is an important topic – especially on Peanut.

Honoring your physical needs (in every form) is crucial to your well-being and to restoring intimacy in your relationships.

You may have different questions about sex after a C-section than you would if you had a vaginal birth.

Wondering how long after C-section can you have sex? or even can you have sex right away after a C-section? are common and totally understandable.

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, and it can be difficult to navigate.

So, what should you know about sex after a C-section?

We’ll tell you all about it (including the best positions).

In this article: 📝

  • How long should you wait to have sex after giving birth?
  • How fertile are you after C-section?
  • Does sex feel different after C-section?
  • How can I enjoy sex after C-section?

How long should you wait to have sex after giving birth?

Recovery after giving birth takes time, whether you gave birth vaginally or via C-section.

There’s no need to rush or to feel any pressure to jump back into action.

Between the lochia, your stitches, swollen feet, and simply feeling exhausted due to the night feeds, it can take many weeks (or months) before you feel like being intimate again.

That’s normal.

There’s no set amount of time before you can start having sex again, but many moms wait at least 6 weeks after giving birth.

It’s often around this point that they see their doctor for a postnatal check-up so they know more about how they’re healing physically.

How soon you feel ready to have sex may depend on many things, including whether the C-section was elective or emergency, transverse or vertical.

And while it is recommended to wait at least six weeks, this doesn’t mean you’re expected to be ready right at this point.

You’re body’s been through a lot – it deserves to be honored as and when it feels comfortable for you.

How fertile are you after C-section?

We’ll put it this way: recent pregnancy doesn’t stop you from getting pregnant again.

And even if you haven’t had your period, you can still ovulate.

A 2011 review found that most women ovulate six weeks after giving birth

Sure, there’s a 2020 study that shows that women who undergo a cesarean delivery tend to have lower rates of conception, but there’s always a chance.

Most women will begin ovulation 6 weeks postpartum, and it’s not uncommon to conceive even four weeks after giving birth.

But for women who’ve experienced a C-section, it’s recommended to leave a year gap between pregnancies to prevent premature delivery, low birth weight of the baby, or complications to the mother.

World Health Organization guidelines even go as far as to recommend 18 months, but this has been highly disputed.

Have a chat with your doctor, so you know you’re properly protected if you want or need to be.

Does sex feel different after C-section?

It’s crucial to keep in mind that postpartum recovery looks different for every woman.

Some Peanut mamas experience pain during penetration, even after waiting six weeks.

This can be down to hormonal changes (especially estrogen) causing vaginal dryness or reduced blood flow, making your vaginal tissue more delicate.

And let’s not forget your pelvic floor muscles experienced quite a lot of stress during pregnancy.

Add to that, tenderness around the incision area, and it’s safe to say sex can feel different from what you’re used to.

Studies even show that sexual problems after delivery look the same in women who underwent a C-section as those who gave birth vaginally.

Up to 83% of women experience sexual dysfunction in the first three months after childbirth.

And while it can feel destabilizing, it’s not permanent.

Once your sex drive return in all its beautiful glory, there are ways to honor your mood without hindering your recovery.

Or leave you feeling dejected and uncomfortable.

Slow and easy is the name of the game here.

And hey, if you’re feeling concerned about having sex again, your healthcare provider can talk through any worries you might have.

How can I enjoy sex after C-section?

Ah the magical question!

Sex is such a personal and emotional thing, and there are no rules about when you should feel ready or what that looks like.

Foreplay is more than physical touch – it’s whatever it takes to get you feeling comfortable and in tune with your body to take it to the next level (and the multiple levels after that 😏).

If you have a partner, it might help to be open about your feelings so you can get the support you need as you get back into the swing of things.

In the meantime, we’ve put together some need-to-knows about sex after a C-section to get your sexual wellness back on form:

1. Listen and respond to your body as you need to

A C-section is major surgery, so the area on your tummy may be sore, swollen, bruised and tender. These things naturally fade in the weeks and months postpartum, but it’s natural if you feel more protective of your tummy and want to move carefully when you choose to get intimate. You won’t be alone if you find it uncomfortable when you start having sex again, especially in the incision area – you can have numbness for a few months after surgery.

Get advice on Peanut

Even if you haven’t given birth vaginally, it will probably still be swollen there, and the cervix still needs to heal and go back to its normal size after pregnancy.

And how you feel about your body might be a bit more complex in the weeks and months after birth.

If you’re struggling with how you’re feeling, you can 100% talk to the community on Peanut.

So many of the Peanut moms have been where you are and are happy to share.

2. Build intimacy gradually back into your daily lives

With a long-term partner, sex is just one part of the relationship.

So don’t panic if it’s taking you some time to feel that way again.

If penetration is uncomfortable or painful, start with affection or intimate acts like massage or gentle foreplay to help you to relax and get used to one another.

When you’re looking after a newborn, time is always in short supply, so building your relationship back into each day can help keep the connection between you.

Touching hands, kissing, and cuddling while watching a movie can all help stimulate those loving feelings, which helps to build intimacy.

3. Try lubrication when you’re ready

Those pesky hormones have been at it again, and the changes they go through can sometimes lead to vaginal dryness.

So, maybe look into vaginal lubricants to give you a helping, ahem, hand.

They can help you make the experience pleasant and enjoyable.

If lube isn’t your thing, then some new mamas say that more foreplay and affection will naturally get those juices flowing.

In fact, foreplay has been found to enhance feelings of closeness which is strongly associated with a women’s arousal response.

The result is vaginal fullness, clitoral erection, labial fullness, and lubrication.

4. Try C-section-friendly sex positions

If your incision is still tender, it’s natural to want to be careful with the sex positions you try.

The most comfortable positions are those that don’t put any pressure on your tummy.

So, side-by-side or rear entry might be best in those first few weeks.

Good ol’ missionary might need to wait a little while so that the incision isn’t irritated.

Same goes for doggy style.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous or empowered (love it!), being on top can take the pressure off your incision while letting you take control (love it more!).

5. Embrace the natural body changes (together)

Look, even if you’re not breastfeeding, foreplay can stimulate your breasts, and they may leak.

It’s totally normal and won’t affect your milk or your supply.

Some mamas recommend wearing a bra and breast pads so the leaks are contained and don’t interrupt the moment.

Better yet, keep your partner informed so you can embrace these moments together.

Your body has put in the work; give it compassion and maybe a little room to go off script from time to time.

6. Take sex off the table

Or not, depending on how recovery is going…

In all seriousness, if the positions and the lubrication aren’t working for you, but you’re still in the mood, now is the perfect time for experimentation.

Different positions, locations, scenarios, and even sex toys can help you explore your new postpartum sex life.

So can mutual masturbation.

Not sure which sex toys are best for postpartum?

Our Peanut mamas love the KURVE for hitting all the right spots with different vibration speeds so you can find the best one for you

Things may be feeling different, but “different” doesn’t mean “bad.”

You’re in a new season of your life; change is good, even if it comes in ways you never anticipated…

In summary, there is no precise “moment” when you should start having sex again after your C-section.

Your body needs time to heal, which means many doctors recommend waiting at least 6 weeks.

This is a good guideline to keep in mind.

But everyone’s body is different, and every relationship is different.

Be kind to yourself, listen to your body, and don’t feel pressured or rushed.

And if you have any worries about complications after having a C-section, have a chat with your healthcare provider.

If you want to connect with other women who’ve had a C-section to share stories, get support, learn, and meet, join Peanut today.


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