Can I have sex after giving birth?

There are several myths and misconceptions around having sex after birth.

After giving birth, your body undergoes a lot of changes. Thus, indulging in sexual activities can be very confusing.[1]

How long should you wait?

Pregnancy and delivery will bring about a lot of changes. After giving birth, the vaginal tissue becomes thin and sensitive. Not only that, but your vagina, uterus and cervix will also need some time to return back to its normal size.[2]

Breastfeeding women will have lower levels of libido. So, you cannot indulge in sex right after giving birth. Your body will need to undergo a lot of changes.

The definite timeline is still very confusing. You will need some time to determine how much time you will need before returning to sexual activity. If you are to follow the doctor’s advice, you will need to wait around four to six weeks after vaginal delivery.[3]

Your doctor will give you a clean chit regarding sexual activities. So, before you indulge in any such activity, you will need to take things slow.

The vaginal delivery not only brings about changes in your physical body but also affects your sleep schedule. Since you have a new member in the house, you will need to undergo a lot of changes.[4]

Most women undergo perineal tear or episiotomy after vaginal delivery. Hence, returning to sexual activity can be weird, thereby leading to severe complications like uterine infection and postpartum hemorrhage.

Will delivery affect sex?

Yes, delivery will have significant impacts on your sex life.

A lot of women suffer from sexual problems within three months of delivery. Depending on the condition, the post-pregnancy cases will increase.

Some of the common problems that you may encounter in delivery after sex include

  • Thin vaginal tissue
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Soreness
  • Loss of elasticity
  • Fatigue
  • Low libido

Hormones have an important role in determining the delivery and also when you can return to sexual activities.[5]

In the initial stages, mostly in your pre-pregnancy stage, the estrogen levels drop to a significant level. Moreover, breastfeeding also leads to a drop in estrogen levels. Estrogen is responsible for bringing about vaginal lubrication. Hence, the low levels of vaginal lubrication eventually lead to vaginal dryness.

Vaginal dryness can lead to bleeding during sex and hence the risk of infection increases.

Normal vaginal birth stretches the vaginal canal. Hence, it needs some time to come back to a stable level and strength.[6]

Women experiencing perineal tears will need more time for recovery. You need to avoid having sex during these times to lower the risk of infection.

Not only vaginal delivery, but cesarean delivery can also impact the vaginal sensation. It mostly occurs due to hormonal problems like the thin vagina that will pave the way for painful sex.

Also, since you have undergone surgery, your vaginal muscles will need time. Moreover, the incision site needs to completely recover before you can indulge in any kind of sex.

Can I become pregnant soon?

Even after delivery, you can become pregnant pretty soon. As per studies, most women don’t ovulate until six weeks, while most of them ovulate even earlier.[7]

Breastfeeding can bring about natural hormonal changes in the body, which is completely normal. These hormonal changes can last from four to six months. Studies have shown that breastfeeding can act as potential birth control. This will be convenient for those who

  • Are in less than six months of postpartum
  • Breastfeed their child
  • Haven’t been menstruating

If you are practicing breastfeeding, you must do it properly. This may further increase the risk of pregnancy.

If you indulge in any kind of sexual activity after giving birth, but don’t want to have a baby, you need to use a reliable method of birth control.

Some of the most effective methods of birth control include condom or implant and IUD. Several hormonal options can act as potential barriers like breastfeeding. But, there may be certain risks that can lead to blood clots.[8]

You must consult your doctor about the best option for preventing pregnancy.

Is it safe to get pregnant within the first year of giving birth?

Deciding to conceive after giving birth can make you prone to severe birth defects. This can have impacts like the premature death of the baby or more.[9]

Healthcare professionals have often advised maintaining a space between their pregnancies. As per official suggestions, there should be a 12-month gap between each pregnancy. However, many women also prefer waiting for 18 months before becoming officially pregnant.

If you are considering conceiving another child after giving birth, you need to get in touch with your doctor. The doctor knows your family history. Hence, they can come up with the best recommendations and help you determine what would be the best solution for you.[10]

Is bleeding after or during sex normal post-delivery?

You are bound to experience regular bleeding after giving birth. This bleeding may happen for a few days since your uterus needs time to heal. During this period, if you want to indulge in sexual activities, you may experience severe blood loss.

Also, the vagina becomes dry after childbirth. The vaginal muscles become thin after pregnancy and may even lead to injury and tearing. A lot of women also experience swollen and inflamed vagina. The bleeding won’t be common in such cases.

A lot of women experience bleeding even after four to six weeks. It is time that you see your doctor get over the feeling of irritation. Before indulging in any kind of intercourse, it is necessary to consult the doctor.

Effects of pregnancy and Delivery on Libido

The libido level significantly drops after pregnancy. Estrogen and progesterone are the two main hormones required for childbirth. But, it is also very essential for sex drive.[11]

The hormone levels are pretty high during pregnancy, which eventually reduces after giving birth. So, you may not feel sexual desires for some time.

Yet, you should wait for four to six weeks before practicing sex. One study suggested that 89 percent of women prefer waiting for six months before resuming in sexual activities.

Breastfeeding will need more time for recovery of libido. Breastfeeding keeps estrogen levels pretty low. This may further have an impact on your milk production capacity.[12]

These hormonal changes will often make you not want to indulge in any kind of sexual activity. Once you stop breastfeeding, the hormone levels will come back to its normal level.

Pregnancy brings about a lot of changes in your body. You need to take it slow. Give your body the time to recover.


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