When Can You Have Sex After Childbirth?
After giving birth, you'll have plenty on your mind: feeding schedules, naps, diapers, and so much more. Before long, though, your thoughts may shift to something more sensual—and so you may start to wonder when you can safely have sex after giving birth.
When it comes to postpartum sex, it’s always best to refer to your doctor. Your readiness depends on your body, your birthing experience, and whether your body has healed from any tearing or stitches that may have happened during delivery. For example, if you're wondering, "How long after a C-section can you have sex?" the answer will depend on how your abdomen is healing.
No matter how you delivered your baby, many health care professionals recommend waiting 4 to 6 weeks before engaging in intercourse or penetrative play, while others give the go-ahead earlier.1 During your postpartum visits, your doctor can advise you on what's best for you and your unique situation.2 You may also wish to discuss contraception methods, since it is possible to get pregnant again soon after having a baby.3
Does sex after pregnancy feel different?
When you finally get intimate, "fourth trimester" sex may feel different. Vaginal birth may make your vagina feel softer, wider, or more tender.4 Some women experience vaginal dryness as estrogen levels return to pre-pregnancy levels; this is typically more pronounced among breastfeeding mothers, who have lower estrogen levels. After your finished breastfeeding and/or your menstrual period returns, your natural lubrication should come back, too. In the meantime, use a water-based lubricant to make intercourse and toy play more comfortable.
How does sex drive change after birth?
A change in sex drive after giving birth is normal, too. Pregnancy and childbirth change your body in various ways—some visible, some not. Some women feel sexier with the curves they may have developed, while others might feel more self-conscious. You might feel closer to your partner than ever, or you may feel physically drained by the demands of caring for a tiny human. Emotionally, it may be difficult to shift from feeling like a nurturing mother to an irresistible temptress… especially if you're covered in spit-up and running on four hours of sleep. Truly, every woman experiences postpartum desire and intimacy differently.
And remember, there's no single "right" way to experience sexual pleasure, either.5 You may be thrilled to receive your partner in intercourse, or you may not feel ready for it. Again, that's okay! Deep kissing, massage, and adult toys are just a few other ways to enjoy intimacy. What's important is that you and your partner share your desires and needs with each other, including any challenges you're facing. Sex may be different after you have a baby, but with open communication, it may turn out to be the best thing that's ever happened to your sex life.
Ultimately, the decision on when and how to have sex after having a baby is up to you (as long as your doctor says it's fine). Whether you're ready at seven weeks or seven months, make sure to seek a pleasurable, uplifting experience that makes you feel good all over—because with a baby in the house, you've got to make those grown-up moments count.
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