When Is It Possible to Have Sex After Pregnancy?

It's somewhat complicated to have sex after pregnancy, as women go through many emotional and physical changes during this stage. Of course, it's not impossible. It all depends on each individual, and will require a lot of patience, understanding, and love.
When Is It Possible to Have Sex After Pregnancy?

Last update: 12 June, 2021

After pregnancy, it’s very difficult to resume relations with your partner on a regular basis. It’ll take time to enjoy intimacy again; loss of interest in sex is a real situation that you’ll have to face. That’s why having sex after pregnancy can be a new beginning, as desire may have faded.

In fact, the rate and difficulty of having sex after pregnancy are higher and more common than you might think. For example, a cohort study of Australian women showed that, out of a group of 1,500 mothers, 89 percent acknowledged sexual discomfort during the first three months after childbirth. Likewise, 51 percent said that they still had the problem after twelve months.

The reality after childbirth

Let’s see to what extent your situation has changed. You’re less intimate now because you have to use your time to take care of your baby. The exhaustion’s going to affect your physical and emotional state too much to be able to be intimate with your partner quickly.

Also, in regard to the physical aspect, take into account that, during pregnancy, your uterus increases in size. And, at the time of delivery, your vagina widens or dilates more than usual. Therefore, it’ll require some time to return to a state that allows you to be comfortable, especially if there was a tear or incision in the process of childbirth. In addition, there may be a period in which some bleeding may occur.

On the other hand, your body develops the hormone prolactin, which will allow for the production of breast milk and reduce estrogen; this will condition your sexual response.

A woman lying on top of her partner, face to face.

When can it be safe to initiate sex after pregnancy?

First, you should understand that the real reason to avoid intercourse after pregnancy is to give your body time to recover properly. Why? Remember that your body has undergone emotional, physical, and hormonal changes, and this inevitably affects your response to sex.

However, having sex after pregnancy varies from woman to woman. While it’s wise to wait until the period, known as quarantine has passed, this can vary depending on the type of delivery.

For example, the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Society of Contraception (SEC) mentions that, if there have been no complications, after a cesarean section, sexual relations can be resumed after 20 days. However, it’s important to be careful regarding position so that the woman is comfortable.

On the other hand, if the birth was by natural childbirth, you should wait for five to six weeks.

If you try to have sex too soon, this won’t only cause pain. It’ll also interfere with your body’s natural healing process. You can cause a rupture that then requires a surgical procedure or develop an infection that needs to be treated.

“The vast majority of women report sexual discomfort during the first three months after childbirth. Likewise, more than half claim to have them after twelve months.”

The psychological aspect to having sex after pregnancy

As a woman and now mother, being able to understand what’s happening in your body will help you to resume or have sex after pregnancy. A very important aspect to work on is the psychological aspect.

You’re still a woman with needs, including sexual needs. Achieving moments of intimacy with your partner, in which you can cuddle, rest together, and even caress one another without erotic demands will awaken your libido again.

Other complications

The psychological element isn’t only the central point to having sex after pregnancy. There will also be other situations to tend to, such as:

A man kissing his wife in bed.

A new learning curve as a couple

Remember also to have realistic expectations in this new stage. Don’t think you’ll be able to show the same excitement about having sex after pregnancy all at once.

Take your time to be comfortable; if your partner cooperates, even better. Talk to him and make him understand your needs, concerns, and feelings. This will allow you to lower the tension and the demands of resuming your sexual life as soon as possible.

Therefore, pretending that everything remains the same after pregnancy and childbirth is a mistake. Having sex after pregnancy is the beginning of a new learning process.

You should explore what gives you pleasure now, which practices you like, as well as the things that turn you on and how they’re performed. In the end, there’s the possibility that everything will go back to the way it was before, change a little, or even differ completely; every woman is completely unique.

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.

  • Byrd JE, Hyde JS, DeLamater JD, Plant EA. (1998). Sexuality during pregnancy and the year postpartum. J Fam Pract. 1998 Oct; 47(4):305-8.
  • Enderle, C. D. F., Kerber, N. P. D. C., Lunardi, V. L., Nobre, C. M. G., Mattos, L., & Rodrigues, E. F. (2013). Condicionantes y/o determinantes del retorno a la actividad sexual en el puerperio. Revista Latino-Americana de Enfermagem, 21(3), 719-725. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0104-11692013000300719&script=sci_arttext&tlng=es
  • Gómez Cantarino, S., & Moreno Preciado, M. (2012). La expresión de la sexualidad durante la gestación y el puerperio. http://rua.ua.es/dspace/handle/10045/24154
  • González Labrador, I., & Miyar Pieiga, E. (2001). Sexualidad femenina durante la gestación. Revista cubana de medicina general integral, 17(5), 497-501. http://scielo.sld.cu/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0864-21252001000500015

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