While there’s no required waiting period before you can have sex again, many doctors recommend waiting to have sex until four to six weeks after delivery, regardless of the delivery method. The risk of having a complication after delivery is highest during the first two weeks after delivery. The time gap is mainly to prevent uterine infection or disrupting any stitches from an episiotomy, and giving the body some time to heal.
Post-delivery hormonal changes may also make vaginal tissue thinner and more sensitive. Your vagina, uterus, and cervix have to “return” to normal size, too. And if you’re breastfeeding, that can lower libido.
After your doctor has given you the all clear to resume sexual activities, you may still need to take things slowly. Remember: In addition to physical recovery, you’ll also be adjusting to a new family member, less sleep, and a change in your regular routine. Returning to sex too soon may increase your risk of complications, such as postpartum haemorrhage and uterine infection. So go easy.
The most common issues with sex after delivery include –
- Vaginal dryness – Postpartum vaginal dryness develops due to fluctuating hormones, specifically estrogen and progesterone as your body adjusts to no longer being pregnant.
- Thin vaginal tissue – Childbirth and postpartum vaginal dryness can mean that the tissue of your vagina become thinner, less elastic, and more prone to injury. The vagina can also become inflamed, which may cause burning and itching.
- Vaginal bleeding – You will have some vaginal bleeding after birth, which will last for a few weeks. This will happen if you had a vaginal delivery or a caesarean section. It’s best to wait until you’ve stopped bleeding before you start having sex again. Your vaginal area can feel sore and painful after having a vaginal delivery.
- Breast discomfort and nipple soreness – Breast engorgement (swelling, tightness, and an increase in size of the breasts) is the result of increased blood flow in your breasts in the days after the delivery of a baby. The increased blood flow helps your breasts make ample milk, but it can also cause pain and discomfort.
- Backaches and overall achiness – The vast majority of women who experience postpartum back pain develop the symptoms due to pregnancy-related changes in the musculoskeletal system that persist after delivery. There are a number of causes of postpartum back pain, including pregnancy hormones that loosened your ligaments and joints, strained abdominal muscles.
- Lower libido – The hormones estrogen and progesterone are crucial to your baby’s healthy development during pregnancy. They also happen to be vital to your sex drive. Levels of these hormones are incredibly high during pregnancy. Once the baby is born, they decline dramatically, back to pre-pregnancy levels. That means you may not feel any sexual desire for a few weeks.
Pregnancy leads to a lot of physical changes to your body. That’s why it’s important to give yourself four to six weeks after delivery before you have sex again.