Back to Intimacy: When Is It Safe To Have Sex After Pregnancy?

Childbirth is a transformative experience, and it introduces significant changes to your body and lifestyle. As a new mother, one question you might be grappling with is when it’s safe to resume sexual activity after childbirth. In this article, we explore this delicate topic, addressing the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects involved.

Physical Healing Post Childbirth

After giving birth, your body needs time to heal and recover. The cervix needs to close, any incisions or tears need to repair, and the postpartum bleeding (lochia) must cease. For most women, the healing process takes around six weeks, after which they have their postnatal check-up. It’s usually after this check-up that healthcare professionals give the green light for resuming sexual activity, as they can confirm whether your body has healed sufficiently.

However, this six-week benchmark is a general guide, not a rule. Each woman’s body heals at its own pace, and the process can take longer for some, especially if there were complications during childbirth or if it was a cesarean section. Always consult your healthcare provider before resuming sexual activity.

Breastfeeding and Vaginal Dryness

Breastfeeding triggers hormonal changes that maintain milk production but can also lead to vaginal dryness. This dryness can make sexual intercourse uncomfortable or even painful in the early postpartum months. A water-based lubricant can help make sex more comfortable, but it’s important to engage in sexual activity only when you feel ready.

The Role of Contraception

Even though your period may not resume immediately after childbirth, especially if you’re breastfeeding, ovulation often starts before your first postpartum period. This means you can become pregnant within weeks of giving birth. If you wish to avoid another pregnancy so soon, discuss contraception options with your healthcare provider. They can advise on safe and effective methods compatible with your overall health and breastfeeding, if applicable.

Emotional and Psychological Readiness

Physical recovery is just one aspect of resuming sexual activity; emotional readiness is equally important. Hormonal changes, the stress of caring for a newborn, sleep deprivation, and body image concerns can impact your libido. Don’t rush yourself. It’s essential that you feel emotionally ready to resume sexual activity.

It’s also crucial to keep the lines of communication open with your partner. Discuss your feelings, apprehensions, and expectations. Rebuilding intimacy can start with non-sexual physical closeness, like hugging, kissing, or holding hands.

Dealing with Pain During Sex

It’s not uncommon for sex to be uncomfortable or even painful in the first few attempts after childbirth. Vaginal dryness, scar tissue from perineal tears or episiotomies, and fear of pain can contribute to this discomfort. Don’t hesitate to discuss these issues with your healthcare provider; they can offer solutions or referrals to specialists if needed.

Again, open communication with your partner is key. Let them know what feels good and what doesn’t. Engaging in ample foreplay, using lubricants, and exploring different sexual positions can also help make sex more comfortable.

Postpartum Depression and Sex

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a condition that affects one in seven women and can significantly impact your desire for sex. Symptoms of PPD include prolonged feelings of sadness, anxiety, and detachment. If you suspect you’re dealing with PPD, reach out to your healthcare provider. Addressing and treating these symptoms can improve your overall well-being and, by extension, your sex life.


Resuming sex after childbirth is a unique journey for each woman, and the experience is influenced by a range of physical and emotional factors. The most important thing is to listen to your body and ensure that you feel ready, both physically and emotionally, before reintroducing sexual activity. Always remember that open communication with your partner and healthcare provider can significantly contribute to a healthier and more satisfying postpartum sexual experience.

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