How Long to Wait to Have Sex After Birth

Having a baby can make sex less of a priority. You’ll be sore, tired and may have an episiotomy or perineal tear from your delivery.

Besides the physical recovery, hormones like estrogen and progesterone are low after birth, killing any libido you might have had. When you’re ready to resume sex, it’s up to you and your partner.

Wait at least six weeks after delivery.

Whether you had a vaginal or C-section delivery, most health care providers recommend that you wait at least six weeks after your baby is born before having penetrative sex (2). This is to allow time for your uterus, perineal and abdominal tissues to heal after the birth (3).

It’s also not uncommon for new parents to be less interested in sex for several months after having their baby. This can be due to the lingering effects of postpartum bleeding, hormone changes, baby blues or postpartum depression, and the biggest libido killer: sleep deprivation (4).

While it’s recommended that you wait at least six weeks before having sex after delivery, you can still be intimate with your partner in other ways, such as cuddling, kissing and mutual masturbation (which doesn’t require penetration). You can even try oral sex if it feels comfortable to you and your partner (5).

If you and your partner are both physically and emotionally ready to resume sexual activity, then there’s no reason to wait. But if you aren’t, that’s okay too. It’s up to you and your partner to find a way to connect in other ways that are more meaningful to you than sex (6). Just remember that it takes time for a relationship to grow and deepen, so don’t rush things (7).

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Wait at least six months after delivery.

While the idea of sex after birth might feel daunting at first, it is normal to feel this way and many women find that with time and patience they can enjoy sex after delivery. This is particularly true if they breastfeed, as this can stimulate the release of hormones that are involved in milk let-down and sexual arousal.

In the 4-6 weeks following a vaginal or cesarean delivery, it is recommended that you avoid sexual intercourse as your body heals from the procedure. This is especially important if you had a perineal tear or episiotomy. Having sex too soon can increase your risk of complications, including postpartum hemorrhage and uterine infection.

Following delivery, your levels of estrogen and progesterone will return to their pre-pregnancy level, and this can have a dramatic effect on your libido. It can also take time for your cervix to return to its normal size.

Some couples may choose to have oral sex or masturbation instead of penetrative sex in these early weeks, as this does not put any pressure on the vaginal tissues. However, it is still recommended to wait until your doctor gives you the all clear for having sex after delivery. Remember that it is not just physical healing that can hinder sex, but emotional and relationship recovery too. You will also need to re-establish your intimate connection with your partner and this can be difficult.

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Wait at least a year after delivery.

The amount of time you wait to have sex after birth depends on your personal and medical situation. It also depends on the type of sexual activity you are interested in and how much energy you have to engage in it. However, you should avoid any form of penetration until your uterus has fully healed. Otherwise, you may experience pain during sex or even worse, a hemorrhage or uterine infection.

Many women find that sex is not a priority in the first weeks and even months after giving birth. This is understandable. During this time, you are busy taking care of your newborn and adjusting to your new life. Additionally, you are likely to be experiencing fatigue, pain and changes in hormones.

Regardless of whether you delivered vaginally or via cesarean section, your doctor will recommend that you take it easy until your body heals. In the weeks following delivery, it is common to have some bleeding as your uterus recovers and tears heal. This can cause painful sex that can lead to additional complications such as postpartum hemorrhage or a uterine infection.

It’s also important to note that if you are breastfeeding, your interest in sex will be affected by the hormone fluctuations involved with nursing. In some cases, it can take six months or longer before your libido returns to normal. It’s important to be patient and remember that everyone’s bodies are different and your body is healing from the most intense physical experience imaginable.

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Wait at least two years after delivery.

It’s recommended that you wait to engage in sexual activity involving penetration until your healthcare provider says it’s okay. This is because the vaginal, perineal and abdominal tissues are still healing.

During this time, it’s also common for new mothers to experience a low libido. This is because they’re spending much of their time caring for their babies. This can be frustrating for some women, but it’s important to remember that a healthy libido will return in time.

If you had a C-section, it’s also important to take the time to heal before trying sex again. This is because a cesarean delivery typically causes the cervix to be dilated, even though baby wasn’t delivered through the birth canal. This makes it easy for bacteria from the vagina to enter the uterus, which can lead to infection.

However, if you’re a heterosexual couple and feel ready to start having sex again soon after delivering your baby, be sure to use contraception until your period returns. This is because some birthing women are fertile before their periods return, and they may become pregnant if they have sex without using contraception. Talk to your healthcare provider or gynecologist about contraception options. They will usually discuss it at your six-week postpartum checkup after delivery. They may also recommend a sexual health specialist for more information and guidance.

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