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Resuming Sexual Activity After Giving Birth: What You Need to Know

August 7, 2023

After giving birth, many new parents have questions about when it is safe to resume sexual activity. It is natural to wonder about the physical and emotional changes that occur during the postpartum period. In this blog, we will explore the topic of resuming sexual activity after giving birth.

Physical Recovery:

The timing of resuming sexual activity after giving birth varies for each individual, depending on factors such as the type of birth, physical healing, and personal comfort. It is important to allow yourself time to heal and listen to your body's cues. Healthcare providers often recommend waiting until after the postpartum check-up, which usually occurs around six weeks after birth. This recommendation holds for both vaginal and c-section deliveries. This allows time for any tears, incisions, or episiotomies to heal properly.  In the meantime, your doctor will likely advise holding off on both vaginal penetration and receiving oral sex. Non-penetrative forms of intimacy like masturbation (if you're up for it) are totally fine.  Keep in mind that every woman is different. While some might feel eager to resume intimacy as soon as they get the green light, it is also completely normal to need more time.

Emotional Readiness:

In addition to physical healing, it is crucial to consider your emotional readiness before engaging in sexual activity. The postpartum period is a time of significant adjustment, and many new parents experience changes in mood, fatigue, and hormonal fluctuations. It is essential to have open and honest communication with your partner about your emotions and feelings surrounding restarting sexual activities.

A pregnant couple on a bed

Communicating with Your Partner:

Discussing your feelings, concerns, and desires with your partner is essential when considering resuming sexual activity. Open communication helps create a supportive environment and allows both partners to understand each other's needs and expectations. It is important to approach the conversation with empathy, respect, and patience, recognizing that each person's experience and comfort level may be different.

Breastfeeding and Sexual Activity:

Breastfeeding can impact sexual desire and vaginal lubrication due to hormonal changes. Some individuals may experience a decrease in libido, while others may have no change or an increase in sexual desire. Breastfeeding can also cause vaginal dryness, making it important to use a water-based lubricant if needed. Communication with your partner and exploring different positions or techniques can help navigate any changes or challenges.

Contraception:

If you're considering resuming sexual activity after giving birth and wish to avoid pregnancy, it is important to discuss contraception options with your healthcare provider. While breastfeeding may provide some natural contraception, it is not foolproof.  Barrier methods, hormonal contraceptives, or intrauterine devices (IUDs) are among the options to consider. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best method for you.

Patience and Taking Things Slow:

It's important to remember that resuming sexual activity after giving birth is a personal decision, and there is no one-size-fits-all timeline. Be patient with yourself and your body. Start slowly and listen to your body's cues. It is common to experience some discomfort or mild pain during initial attempts at sexual activity, especially if there was vaginal tearing or an episiotomy. Using a water-based lubricant and taking things at a comfortable pace can help ease any discomfort.

A couple speaking to a therapist

Seeking Professional Advice:

If you have concerns or questions about resuming sexual activity after giving birth, don't hesitate to consult with your healthcare provider. They can address any specific issues you may have, provide guidance, and offer recommendations based on your individual circumstances.

Emotional Connection and Intimacy:

Remember that intimacy and sexual activity are not solely about penetration. The postpartum period is an opportunity to explore other forms of intimacy, such as cuddling, kissing, and emotional connection. Engaging in non-sexual physical affection can help strengthen the bond between you and your partner during this transitional period.

Resuming sexual activity after giving birth is a personal decision that depends on various factors, including physical healing, emotional readiness, and open communication with your partner. It is important to listen to your body, take things at your own pace, and seek professional advice if needed. Remember that everyone’s experience is unique, and there is no right or wrong timeline for resuming sexual activity. Focus on building emotional connections, communicating openly, and finding what works best for you and your partner. With time, patience, and understanding, you can navigate this exciting and transformative postpartum period while maintaining a healthy and fulfilling intimate relationship.

The information is presented as a general guide to present information about resuming sexual activity after giving birth.  It is for informational purposes only.  The information provided is not intended to be the only information available about resuming sexual activity after giving birth.  The material provided is not expected to be a substitute for advice or information from your physician or health care provider.

If you have any questions, concerns, apprehensions, unease, or worry about resuming sexual activity after giving birth contact your health care provider immediately.

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