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Published November 2021

Sex after birth: How long should you wait to have sex?

Sex after birth: How long should you wait to have sex?

After giving birth, sex may well be the last thing on your mind.

Going through pregnancy and labor can cause changes in your body, so it’s not surprising that many women don’t feel ready to start having sex again right away. Or maybe you can’t wait to resume your sex life after nine months of reduced sexual activity.

It’s different for everyone.

One study found that 65% of couples had tried to have sex eight weeks after birth, while 78% of couples tried after 12 weeks[1]. The timing is up to you and there’s no right or wrong way to proceed.

Sex after birth

Everyone’s postpartum experience is different but, after giving birth, it’s natural that sex will feel different. You may experience issues such as[2]:

  • Low sex drive
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Thin vaginal tissue
  • Loss of elasticity in vaginal tissue
  • Perineal tear or episiotomy
  • Bleeding
  • Pain
  • Soreness

Man and woman intimately embracing

Low oestrogen during the postpartum period causes many women to experience vaginal dryness, while breastfeeding can also reduce an individual’s sex drive. Not only this but a perineal tear or episiotomy can make sex painful for several months post-birth[3].

You might find that your vagina is looser and looks wider. This should start to change after a few days, but it is a possibility that it won’t return to how it was before you had your baby. If you’re concerned, pelvic floor or Kegel floor exercises can help tone your vaginal muscles[4].

 

If you do want to have sex, there are ways to make it more enjoyable, including increasing vaginal lubrication, taking pain medication, and controlling the depth of penetration with different sexual positions. Try to relax and remember to keep checking in on how you and your partner feel.

How long after giving birth can you have sex?

Your timeline for having sex after birth is yours, so it’s totally up to you. Everyone has differing preferences and experience pregnancy and birth differently, so it’s important to wait until you feel comfortable with having sex again.

The risk of complications after delivery is highest during the first two weeks, but many health care providers recommend waiting four to six weeks after delivery to have sex[5].  This will give you time to properly heal.

But equally, it’s important to remember that there’s no rush. Not everyone will feel ready within six weeks, especially those who have had stitches after an episiotomy or a tear. You may feel very tired, or your vagina might be sore.

If you aren’t ready or you’re concerned, talk to your partner, and tell them how you’re feeling.

It’s important to remember that you can get pregnant as little as three weeks after giving birth, even if you’re breastfeeding or your periods haven’t started again[6]. With this in mind, it’s important to use contraception unless you want to get pregnant again.

When it comes to sex after birth and pregnancy, there is no set timeline – it’s important to do what feels right for you and your body.

When you are ready to have sex again, you may experience vaginal dryness caused by hormonal changes following pregnancy. If this is the case, our natural lubricants can help. To find out more, explore our range of products or get in touch.

[1] https://www.nct.org.uk/life-parent/sex-after-baby/sex-after-baby-10-questions-ask-yourself

[2] https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/sex-after-birth#effects-of-delivery-on-sex

[3] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/308480#what-will-sex-feel-like-after-giving-birth

[4] https://www.livehealthily.com/after-pregnancy/when-can-you-have-sex-after-birth

[5] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/labor-and-delivery/in-depth/sex-after-pregnancy/art-20045669

[6] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/support-and-services/sex-and-contraception-after-birth/

 

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