Postpartum Sex: What You Need to Know About Sex After Giving Birth

Dads, we haven't forgotten you either - there's a very special message for you too in this article, just keep reading.

Sex after giving birth is a tricky topic. It’s hard enough to get in the mood for sex when you’re pregnant but postpartum? The last thing you want to do when you’re tired and taking care of a newborn is to have sex.

But it’s essential! And it can be great! So, if you are currently heavily pregnant or have just had your baby, arm yourself with the information in this article to ease yourself back into postpartum sex as smoothly as possible.

Sex After Giving Birth

Postpartum sex is the act of having sex with your partner after you have given birth. Postpartum sex can be a difficult thing to talk about, and it’s not always easy to know what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to postpartum sex.

One of the essential things about sex after giving birth is that it’s different for everyone. Some women experience little or no physical changes after giving birth, while others might experience pain or discomfort. Your body will also change over time, so what feels right one day may not feel right on another day.

It’s important to talk with your partner about how they feel about postpartum sex before trying it out together. If you’re feeling uncomfortable and unsure about getting intimate with your partner again so soon after giving birth, you have to let him know and be on the same page. 

Don’t feel pressured into doing anything that makes you uncomfortable! It’s okay if that means waiting until things feel more natural between the two of you again.

When Can I Have Sex After Giving Birth

Regardless of whether you give birth vaginally or by C-section, your body needs time to heal.

Your cervix needs to close, any lacerations need to heal and postpartum bleeding (lochia) should stop. It’s especially important to wait until postpartum bleeding stops to allow the wound left in your womb by your placenta coming out to heal completely.

According to medical experts, having sex before the bleeding stops involves the risk of infection. Most health practitioners recommend that you wait four to six weeks after birth before having sex again.

But more important than this medically recommended timeline is your own.

Some women will feel ready to resume sex within a few weeks after giving birth; others may take much longer — even months. What’s important is that you listen to your body about when the time is right.

Go slow… there’s no need to rush.

Is Sex After Birth Painful

You may find that hormonal changes leave your vagina dry and tender, especially if you are breastfeeding. Also, if you are healing from an episiotomy or tears, you might experience pain.

As suggested by Mayo Clinic, taking it slow is the best way to help ease the pain the first few times you have sex after having your baby. Start with lots of foreplay — cuddling, kissing and massage. Gradually build up in intensity.

If you are experiencing vaginal dryness, use a lubricant. Most importantly, don’t put pressure on yourself to perform as you did before getting pregnant.

If having sex after giving birth is painful or uncomfortable, go for alternatives like oral sex until you are healed. You should also tell your partner what feels good and what doesn’t and tell him to stop if needed.

Will Sex Feel Different?

It may, at least temporarily, because if you have had a normal birth, “decreased muscle tone in the vagina might reduce pleasurable friction during sex — which can influence arousal”, according to Mayo Clinic.

Doing Kegel exercises is the best way to tone and strengthen your pelvic muscles. All you need to do is tighten your pelvic muscles like you are trying to stop peeing. Aim to keep the muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 10 seconds between ‘squeezes’.

Try to do at least three sets of Kegels throughout your day.

How Soon Can You Have an Orgasm After Giving Birth

Some new mothers say their orgasms have changed since they had a baby. Some find themselves more responsive than before, while others report that their orgasms are less intense or less frequent than they used to be.

If you’re feeling anxious about your ability to have an orgasm after childbirth, take heart: most women experience some degree of change when they become mothers. 

The first few times you have sex after delivery may not be the best you’ve ever had in terms of orgasms. Some women report that they don’t experience an orgasm for weeks—even if they were highly orgasmic before having their baby. 

Be patient with yourself and your body, and spend quality time alone with your partner regularly, even for only 15 minutes.

How Is Sex After Delivery With Stitches

Here’s what you need to know about sex after delivery with stitches.

First, you must check with your doctor before having sex if you’ve had a caesarean section. While some women will be able to resume their normal activities after just a few days, others may need more time (up to 6 weeks).

If you had stitches placed at the time of delivery, they should dissolve on their own within 2-4 weeks.

If you need medical attention for your stitches, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or midwife immediately. They’ll be able to advise you on what steps you should take next and how long it might take for them to dissolve completely. It is so that intercourse can occur safely again without causing further damage.

Sex After Delivery Precautions 

Postpartum sex can be a little tricky. It’s not impossible, but you should take precautions to ensure that you and your partner are safe.

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to sex after giving birth:

  • Have a checkup with your doctor before having sex.

While most doctors will give their patients the OK to have sex six weeks after giving birth, they may recommend waiting until eight weeks. That or even longer if there are any complications. Also, if other issues can impact your ability to have sex.

  • Ask your partner if they would like to have sex right away or if they’d rather wait for a bit more time.

Suppose they say yes, then great! But if they say no, respect their wishes and don’t pressure them into anything—they might just need some more time!

  • Use lubricant during intercourse if necessary.

It can help reduce friction and increase comfort for both partners during the act itself; plus, it reduces the risk of tearing or other damage that could occur from too much friction (especially if either partner has stitches).

Sex may feel different – but your partner can make it amazing for you. Talk to him about what works and what doesn’t work for you… he will understand.

Should You Be Using Condoms After Giving Birth 

There are several reasons why you should still be using condoms after giving birth:

  • Condoms protect against STIs like HIV/AIDS and chlamydia;
  • It also protects against pregnancy until you’re ready for another baby;
  • Condoms are non-hormonal—meaning they won’t interfere with breastfeeding or breast milk production;
  • The risks associated with having unprotected sex will increase if you have another child soon (since this increases your risk of contracting an infection).

Postpartum Sex Positions

Missionary

This is a good position to test your level of pain or comfort while having sex for the first time after baby. But pelvic floor physiotherapist Julia Di Paolo cautions that C-section mums should probably avoid this position as it can put pressure on the stitches.

Also, hubby’s weight may put too much pressure on the clitoris and/or perineum, which may cause discomfort.

Spooning

This position is excellent for C-section mums as it protects your tummy during sex.

Woman on top

Since you get control of the entry speed and penetration level, this is a good ‘first-time’ position, as it also puts less physical pressure on your body.

Doggy-pillow style

This position involving a slight variation of the doggy style is another good one for C-section mums. Just stack a pile of soft pillows as support, and for comfort, under your tummy.

Bed edge

This is an excellent position for keeping pressure off the top half of your body. Just scoot the bottom half of your body to the edge of your bed. This way, your partner can stand or kneel while avoiding putting pressure on your body.

ALSO READ:

7 Ways on How to Deal With Postpartum Fatigue

Sex After Having A Baby? Here Are 8 Ways To Make It Better

When Can I Travel After Giving Birth? Mums, Here’s Your Guide on Postpartum Travel

A Special Word to the Hubbies

Yes, you might be yearning to re-connect with your beautiful wife more than ever now. But when you’re having sex with her for the first time after she had your baby, please remember these things.

She’s very, very tired most of the time. Do your best to relax her and soothe her mind — weave this into foreplay. Give her a gentle massage — her shoulders and arms are especially weary from carrying and cuddling your little one.

Remember, she is probably still quite sore down there if she has had a normal birth and dry. Be extra gentle with her. Ask her if she’s okay, if it hurts, if it feels good and what you can do to make her feel good.

Remember that she may struggle with body image issues and be self-conscious about her new body. You might not even notice her stretchmarks and tummy, but they might be painfully obvious to her. She might even think that you don’t find her attractive anymore.

Do your best to reassure her that you love her as she is now, as much and more than you did before she had the baby.

If she has had a C-section, be mindful of her scar. If she is anxious, know that the area around her cut on her tummy will tense up too, causing discomfort. This is another reason why you need to help her relax.

Don’t put pressure on her tummy — use soft pillows to cushion her tummy from your weight and try out positions that don’t involve your full body weight on her.

And if she is breastfeeding, stay away from those beautifully full breasts. Yes, she may look like a lingerie model, but her breasts are sensitive and may even be painful if you touch them. Resistance, dear hubby, in this case, will serve you well.

Finally, please understand if she puts off having sex for some time. It may be weeks. It may be months. This doesn’t mean you have lost your wife. It just means your child has gained a mother who will be physically back with you as soon as she is ready.

Emotionally, she is with you — always has been, always will be.

Image Source: iStock

To learn more about postpartum sex, join us on 24th August, 7:30 PM in this educational “Intimate“ webinar on Sexual Health After Birth.

Updated by Pheona Ilagan

Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.

Written by

Nalika Unantenne