How is Sex after Childbirth?

How is Sex after Childbirth?

Written by Editorial Team

Last update: 26 April, 2024

Resuming intimacy with your partner is a process of rediscovery that does not have to be embarrassing nor traumatic. On the contrary, sex after childbirth is a great opportunity to love each other even more.

During pregnancy you prepare for the process of your child’s birth. You prepare the house, elements for their care and even breastfeeding.

However, something we seldom talk about as a couple is what happens to sex after childbirth?

In most cases, the doctor mentions the contraceptive methods that are appropriate at the first postpartum consultation. They also give recommendations for the resumption of sexual activity as a couple.

After childbirth, however, we don’t return to our sexual life as we once knew it. It’s a process that requires time, patience and above all, a lot of communication.

Why is sex after childbirth different

In order to bring a baby into the world, a woman’s body must undergo important changes. After childbirth, women’s bodies recover differently depending on factors such as if childbirth was through a cesarean or if it was through the vaginal canal.

If you had a vaginal delivery, you should wait until the episiotomy wound heals. Even if you didn’t have an episiotomy it’s important to wait for all of the injured tissues to return to normal. This can take as much as 40 days.

How is Sex after Childbirth?

If you had a cesarean, your vagina wouldn’t have suffered the same impact. However, your body did have to undergo an operation from which it must recover. There is also a surgical wound that has to heal.

Therefore, it doesn’t matter if it was a natural birth or cesarean section. Sex shouldn’t be resumed until the body fully recovers.

This is approximately 20 to 40 days after delivery. This period is commonly known as quarantine, during which it’s also important to prevent possible infections.

My body is ready but my mind isn’t  

There is another reality that we have to take into account: sometimes the body is fit to have sex, but the mind isn’t. This occurs because a large percentage of women experience changes in their sexual desire after childbirth.

The process of family adaptation to the new baby leaves parents physically and emotionally exhausted. A woman’s hormones also experience changes during this pregnancy.

Furthermore, some women experience fear of a new pregnancy or pain during intercourse. All of the above has an impact on sex after childbirth.

The best remedy at this stage is good communication and patience with your partner. Communication will allow you to express your emotions and to create an environment of emotional intimacy which may be beneficial to increasing sexual desire.

Don’t feel pressured and keep in mind that sex isn’t just about penetration. There are endless things that a couple can do to express love to each other.

Postpartum is a time when you can test your imagination, which will allow you to connect more emotionally

What can you expect from postpartum sex?

If you feel ready to resume your sex life, you may still face some obstacles such as pain during penetration or loss of interest while being intimate due to some noise that the baby makes. You may also feel uncomfortable due to the feeling of having your breasts full of milk.

In order to avoid this, you can empty your breast before being sexually intimate with your partner. Lubricant can help facilitate penetration and you can select a position that doesn’t merit too much physical effort on your part.

Another option is to focus more on sexual caresses and foreplay.

Don’t hesitate to tell your partner how you feel. You’ll be able to find solutions together using love and patience. Don’t leave good humor aside, sex after childbirth should always be fun and pleasurable.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Leeman, Lawrence & Rogers, Rebecca. (2012). Sex After Childbirth Postpartum Sexual Function. Obstetrics and gynecology. 119. 647-55. 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3182479611.
  • Hipp L; Kane L; van Anders S. Exploring Women’s Postpartum Sexuality: Social, Psychological, Relational, and Birth‐Related Contextual Factors. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2012 (9), 9 2330–2341. DOI: 

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.