My friends and family don’t fully understand my job. They know I write things online, and then I sort of change the subject. The other day a friend was making fun of me (I didn’t tell him I make more money than he does – wink -) and he asked me if I ever wrote about sex. I replied – I write a lot about postpartum recovery, and I’m about to publish my first article on sex, actually, postpartum sex in fact.
(Never in a million years thought I’d say that, let alone have it be true. But having sex postpartum is something we need to talk about!)
Because postpartum recovery is tough enough, and we ALL have big questions when it comes to having sex after having a baby!
I mean, people obviously do it again, because – multiple children – but that first time back in the sack after giving birth can be really freaking scary!
So let’s talk about this!
So you’ve had a baby (congrats!)…but now what? There are a ton of things you should avoid doing after giving birth, and having sex too soon is definitely one of those things.
Regardless of if you feel ready to jump in and try postpartum sex or want to wait a bit longer, you’ll have questions.
How long SHOULD you wait to have sex after giving birth? Will it hurt? Should you expect bleeding? Will it feel …. different? (Bad different? Good different?)
You’re not alone in asking those questions. Many women wonder when it’s okay to have sex after having a baby. (Many women also wonder if they’ll ever want to have sex again – and that’s normal too!)
There’s no cut and dried answer because each woman’s birth story is unique and the amount of healing each body needs is just as unique.
And waiting until you’ve healed from birth to have sex is ALWAYS a good idea.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor…I don’t even pretend to be one on T.V. So these are just some thoughts from another mom. Always consult your physician and do your own research! In regards to having sex postpartum, he HAS heard these questions before, he will NOT make fun of you, and he WANTS you to ask! (Or else he’s a bad dr.)
(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)
How Long Should You Wait To Have Sex After Giving Birth?
This is a really common question and the short answer is: when you’re ready and your body is healed.
Most doctors seem to agree that waiting at least 6 weeks is best. I personally am all about waiting the full 6 weeks. There is some risk of having an open wound inside your body for a full 6 weeks (which is why hot tubs are a no-no) and so I can’t figure out why sex that soon would be wise.
You might think (or even feel like) you can have sex 2 weeks after giving birth or maybe a month, but your body most likely needs more time to heal. Most women still have bleeding of some sort for 6-8 weeks.
Plus…ouch. You’re still going to be tender and possibly even have stitches within the first couple weeks. You’re also more susceptible to infections because things (your uterus, perineum, and vagina) are still closing, healing, and getting pack to your pre-pregnancy normal.
If you’re still releasing lochia (the blood after birth), you’re going to need to wait a bit longer. That means things on the inside still haven’t finished closing up yet.
And remember to give yourself some room here. If you had a completely “normal” birth (what about birth is actually normal?!), then you’ll probably be ready sooner than the woman who had an episiotomy or C-section or other complication. But not always.
On the flip side, I KNOW women who have had super easy births, and they’ve gone for it just a few weeks later. Make your own choices, but do talk to your doc!
And what if he’s in a rush? He’ll live. It’s okay. You guys have a long future together and another week or two won’t hurt (in fact, it will help things not hurt!).
What If You Experience Bleeding After Postpartum Sex?
It’s likely. Don’t be freaked out. In fact, expect it, and if it doesn’t happen, yay!
In fact, it could happen for months postpartum – and still be normal. Talk to your OBGYN about it and have them make sure you’re healing is on track, but usually it’s nothing to be alarmed about.
Just wear a liner for a few days after sex to prevent any potential flow.
You might also experience some cramping – things recently took a beating in there, and even if you’re “healed” things can be tender. All normal. Some people take an over the counter pain killer beforehand just in case.
How Soon After Giving Birth Can You Get Pregnant?
That depends. How much of a risk taker are you?
If you’re exclusively breastfeeding and haven’t started menstruating yet, your odds are lower than if you’re already getting your post-baby period and not nursing on demand. However, there’s still not guarantee you won’t get pregnant!
You can get pregnant even before you have your first postpartum period. (Then you can suddenly realize that you are in fact pregnant according to this pregnancy test, only 9 months postpartum, and sit there, on hold with the pregnancy test company, waiting for them to tell you it’s a mistake. What? Just me?) So talk to your OBGYN about precautions if you want to wait for next baby.
Many doctors will recommend waiting anywhere from 12-28 months between pregnancy for you to heal, regain strength, and to give you some good bonding time with your baby. (I am here to tell you that 9 months after giving birth does in fact feel too soon to be pregnant again. But it does happen!)
But if you DO get surprised, that’s okay, too. Many women have had “Irish twins” over the years and done great with them. But if you’re worried about have two too closely together, you’re going to want to talk to your OBGYN as early as possible so you can be prepared. (I am tired.)
What If It Hurts To Have Sex After Having A Baby?
Will it hurt to have postpartum sex? Probably.
At least a little. (I guarantee tho, it won’t hurt as much as it did to have a baby. Is it too soon for jokes like this?)
But it won’t last forever, and if you wait long enough the chances are that the discomfort passes very quickly (see the tips below).
Just remember, it’s okay to stop. You might need to hit ‘pause’ and try again later. OR after a glass of wine.
And remember, you can still kiss, cuddle, and be creative outside of traditional sex. Waiting to have postpartum sex doesn’t mean you have to forget how to enjoy the one you love. It just means you have to think outside of the box a little.
Tips To Make Postpartum Sex More Enjoyable
Why do you need tips to make postpartum sex more enjoyable? After all, you had a lot of fun making your baby and probably enjoyed the heightened sensitivity you had during pregnancy, too.
But your hormones have changed and they’ve changed your body, as well.
Plus, you just had a baby. That’s a big deal. So try these tips for making things more enjoyable:
- Use lubricant. This can be something like K-Y Jelly or coconut oil. Just have it handy in case you need it.Many women find that they are drier after sex than they were pre-baby. This is even more true if they are breastfeeding.
- Go slowly. You just had a baby…you’re not ready for the Olympics yet. Or any other sport-like activity, if you catch me. It’s okay to enjoy a different pace. In fact, being gentle at first is a great idea because it’ll help you feel the changes and adjust to them. Your body needs this time to adjust.
- Don’t be afraid to try a different position than normal. Your body isn’t the same as it used to be, so sex probably won’t be either. That’s okay…you’ll figure it out all over again! Some women suggest a pillow under their hips, others prefer an altogether different position. Try things out, talk to one another, enjoy…when you’re ready.
- If you’re nursing, be prepared to leak. Either keep a bra with pads on or have a little hand towel near by. Those hormones and stimulation may make things rather…milky. If this is the first time, give your partner a heads up, too.
- Talk to your partner. It’s good to talk about how it feels (and doesn’t feel). Believe it or not, he’s probably nervous as well, and won’t want to hurt you in any way.
- Prepare yourself. Sometimes taking a bath, relaxing, and getting ready can make things more comfortable for you.
WHAT IF MY POSTPARTUM BODY IS A TURN OFF?
I bet there’s not a momma out there who hasn’t looked in the mirror and wondered if her sex life was over because (insert own personal postpartum body hang up here).
Stretch marks, baby belly, lopsided boobs, cellulite bum, lumps where there barely bumps before.
Girl you just MADE A HUMAN.
It’s normal to hate your postpartum body, but try to remember that you really are a rock star.
Plus, it’s been 6 weeks (AT LEAST – raise your hand if it’s been three months!) and he won’t care NEARLY as much about all that stuff as you do. He’ll probably just be pretty excited you’re letting him any where near it.
If you are SUPER nervous, just relax and try to connect with your husband first – go on a date (here’s an awesome list of unique date ideas), have a glass of wine, be honest with him… and I’m 99% sure you can get past this!
Anything Else That’s On Your Mind Regarding Postpartum Sex – ASK YOUR DOCTOR!
Do you have any other questions about your body after having a baby? Your postpartum checkup is the time to ask them!
Be sure to jot down any questions as you think of them, because the lack of sleep, hormone shifts, and just getting used to having a new baby can wreak havoc with your memory. Your OBGYN can likely answer any questions you have about postpartum sex (and has answered them hundreds of times for other women, and does think they are stupid questions), so ask away.