Sex After Birth: How Long After Birth Can I Have Sex?

I’m feeling all hot and ready for sex after giving birth. Is it too soon? How long after birth can I have sex?

If you’re ready to jump right into action after a period of inaction, here’s everything you need to know about sex after birth – including when it’s safe to have sex again and what sex will feel like now that you’ve had a baby.

How long after birth can I have sex?

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), there is no definitive timeline on how long you have to wait before you can actually have sex again after giving birth. However, most doctors recommend waiting four to six weeks (if you had a vaginal delivery) before you start having sex again.

Sex after episiotomy, vaginal or perineal tear

If you had a vaginal delivery, you might have had an episiotomy, which is an incision that enlarges your vaginal opening so your baby can be delivered during a vaginal birth. Episiotomies are no longer as commonly done during a vaginal delivery, so check with your doctor to confirm if you had one as this would factor in the amount of healing time you will need.

If you had a vaginal or perineal tear during your delivery, you would also need to heal the tear before having sex to prevent a vaginal infection. Vaginal tears are relatively common and up to half of all moms will experience at least a small vaginal or perineal tear during their delivery.

What happens if you have sex before healing after birth?

Returning to sex before you allow your tears to fully heal may increase your risk of complications from postpartum hemorrhage and uterine infection.

Healing time will depend on your delivery

Since each woman’s postpartum experience and healing timeline is different, there is no one-size-fits-all time for when you can resume sex. Depending on the birth you had and how difficult your pregnancy was, you might need a few weeks post-birth to feel ready for sex, or you might feel like you need longer than six weeks if you had a very difficult birth and needed stitches.

Besides the physical healing time needed, you would also need to ask yourself if you are emotionally ready for sex after giving birth.

The first few weeks postpartum are challenging for both new and seasoned moms, and during this time you and your baby are settling into a routine that might take a toll on your energy or mental health. Sex might be the last thing on your mind at this time – and that’s normal and okay.

How soon can you have an orgasm after giving birth?

You can have an orgasm as soon as you have been cleared for sex by your doctor. However, some women don’t experience orgasms weeks after giving birth, even if they used to have frequent orgasms before giving birth.

Are orgasms weaker after giving birth?

You might also find that your orgasms after giving birth are less “powerful” than the orgasms you had in the past. If your pelvic floor has weakened during pregnancy, the contractions of the muscles of your vagina will not be as forceful as before.

You can work on building up your pelvic floor muscles by doing Kegel exercises daily.

Related: The Best Kegel Exercises After Birth (And How To Use Kegel Balls!)

How soon can you have sex after C Section?

Generally, you should be physically ready for sex again after about 6 weeks. However, do not rush into sex after having a C-section, even if a cesarean birth does not include the birth canal directly. Your cervix might be dilated after delivery even if your baby wasn’t born vaginally.

As you might begin to dilate weeks before your due date, you run the risk of bacteria from the vagina traveling directly into the uterus and causing an infection with a dilated (or open) cervix.

Having a C-section delivery is also a major surgery, and as with any major surgeries, you need time to allow the incision wound to heal. You would also want to avoid partner-on-top sex positions such as the missionary position to protect your stomach scar – great time for a cowgirl!

Related: 4 Things You Can Do If You’re Experiencing Burning Sex After C Section

Is it normal to have bleeding after sex postpartum?

Yes, having sex after giving birth may cause you to start bleeding again – and that is completely normal, even if it is the last thing you want to deal with! There are two main reasons why you might be bleeding after sex postpartum:

There is irritation to your cervix

Regardless of whether you had a vaginal delivery or a C-section, your cervix has been through a lot during the length of your pregnancy. This irritation to your cervix will likely cause some light bleeding when you have postpartum sex.

Uterine cramping

Orgasms cause your uterus to contract, and you may also experience some light bleeding.

Does sex hurt after birth?

Some moms experience painful sex after birth, other moms have no pain. Painful sex after birth is highly dependent on each person’s delivery experience.

One of the main reasons why some women complain that sex hurt after birth, especially in the first three months up to 6 months postpartum after their first delivery, is due to the hormonal and physical changes after giving birth.

Vaginal dryness

After giving birth, your estrogen will drop to pre-pregnancy levels. If you are breastfeeding, it will further lower your estrogen levels below pre-pregnancy levels.

Since estrogen helps supply natural vaginal lubrication, having low estrogen levels leads to vaginal dryness which causes pain during penetration. It can also cause you to bleed due to friction, which increases your risk of infection.

If you had a C Section, you would be recovering from abdominal surgery. You would want to make sure that the incision site has properly healed before having sex, as sex is after all a strenuous activity which requires your core muscle!

How to make sex less painful after birth

Lube it up!

The best way to overcome vaginal dryness is by using lots of lube! Get extra slippery wet before any penetration. You would also want to have longer foreplay than usual to build up sexual tension and vaginal wetness, or try other types of sexual activity such as anal sex.

We recommend using water based lubes as it is most compatible with condoms and sex toys, and we especially love the Sliquid Natural H20 lube which is formulated specifically for people whose skin is easily irritated, and made without glycerin (a common ingredient in drugstore lubes that causes yeast infection).

Go slow

This is not the time for some rough sex (even though we love it!). You might still have vaginal tenderness or breastfeeding, so go slow and ease into sex the first few times after giving birth.

Related: How To Use Sex Toys After Birth To Ease Your Way Back Into Sex

It might feel stressful to have sex after birth

Since giving birth can bring up a lot of stress and anxiety postpartum, it can make sex challenging and heighten every sensation of pain or discomfort. If you are feeling anxious about having sex, you might not be emotionally ready yet for sex and that’s okay – or if you wish to work through your anxiety around sex, we recommend seeking out a therapist who specializes in postpartum anxiety or anxiety around sex.

How long after birth can I get pregnant again?

If you’re not ready to get pregnant again so quickly after giving birth, remember to use birth control! Even if you are breastfeeding and your first postpartum period has not started again, you can get pregnant in as little as 3 weeks after giving birth.

Because pleasure gets better the more you know what you like and need! Learn more about women sexual wellness, self pleasure tips, and more.