When is it safe to have sex after giving birth?
It is advisable to wait at least 6 weeks post birth, to reduce the risk of infection while your womb (uterus) is healing and to allow the tissues to repair, but ultimately it’s up to you.
When will I feel like having sex after the birth?
Everyone is different. There’s no right or wrong time when you should aim to have sex again. The most important thing is to wait until you feel physically and emotionally ready.
‘Half of couples start having sex within 8 weeks of birth.’
Around half of couples start having sex within eight weeks of the birth, however some wait longer and other couples start earlier. There is no right or wrong. About three-quarters of couples have had sex by 12 weeks and nearly all couples have tried sex again by their babies first birthday.
If you’ve had a c-section, or suffered a tear, episiotomy or if you experienced any other problems with your recovery, it’s likely to be a bit longer before you feel ready to start having sex again. Don’t pressure yourself, and give your body a chance to heal.
Even if you’re still breastfeeding or your periods haven’t returned, you can still get pregnant again. So when you are ready to start having sex again, make sure you consider contraception.
I still don’t feel like having sex- what’s going on?
For a start, you’re probably feeling exhausted due to lack of sleep and the demands of looking after a new baby. If you’re breastfeeding, changes in your hormones can reduce your desire to have sex, too.
You may be feeling sore or sensitive. If you had a c-section, you will still be recovering from a major operation. Your scar should heal by the time your stitches come out, which might be the time to start thinking about sex again if you want to.
Feeling pain, and having a tight or dry vagina are among the most common worries about sex for new mums. Lubrication is a really good idea and Yes Yes Yes lubrication is a fantastic option!
For most women, any sexual issues get better after a few months. But one in five women continue to have painful sex up to a year and a half after giving birth, so if this happens you’re not alone. A Women’s Health Physiothearpist is the perfect professional for you to see, you can ask your midwife if they can refer you to a local NHS service but this service will vary depending on location. Otherwise look for a private professional the MummyMOT service is excellent and if you are in Cornwall Laura (Ottilie founder and Womens Health Physio) offers a FitMums check at the studio in Newquay.
What if my partner wants sex before I do?
Communication is key. Talk to each other about how you’re feeling, your partner might feel rejected if you don’t want sex and he does, but you shouldn’t feel pressured before you are ready. Your relationship will definitely benefit from intimacy but this can be words and cuddles until you are both ready.
It probably isn’t just you that is worried, your partner may also feel uncertain about having sex after seeing the birth. He may worry that sex will be painful for you or be unsure about his own feelings. Talk about concerns that either of you have so you can work through it together.
- Try a position that doesn’t put too much pressure on wherever you are feeling sensitive. Beginning with you on top means that you can control the rate and depth of penetration.
- Improving your pelvic floor strength with your ‘Kegel’ or pelvic floor exercises will help aid healing but also improve your sex life too. If you are unsure about this speak to a Women’s Health Physio.
- Generally look after yourself. Eat well, drink plenty and rest when you can. Looking after a new baby is extremely demanding and to have energy left, you also need to look after yourself.