If Carrie Bradshaw ever had children, you can bet she’d have pondered the question ‘How soon is too soon to have sex after childbirth’. If you’re left wondering the same, you’re not alone.
Being intimate, getting back in the saddle – however you describe it, sex post-pregnancy is a challenging time for many couples. Most women struggle with sex in the last trimester anyway, then there’s the tiny issue of giving birth and all that comes with the physical and emotional recovery.
In basic terms, it could be weeks and months before you have sex again as a new mum.
What to Expect
Sex post-pregnancy is different for everyone, while some get back in the game in a matter of days, it can be a year or longer for others. It’s important to be guided by your own personal feelings and talk openly to you partner so they understand the physical and emotional challenges you’re facing.
After all, some women have raging hormones that need to be fulfilled, while others never want to see a penis again!
Generally speaking, medical professionals advise waiting six weeks after delivery before having sex; this is certainly a prerequisite for those who undergo caesarean sections.
This allows your body to recover and avoid any complications which are highest in the first two weeks after birth.
If you’ve had a vaginal tear, episiotomy or complications from birth, it’s important to speak to your GP first. They can provide a timeframe for when it’s safe to have sex post-pregnancy.
Back in the Sack
Having sex post-pregnancy for the first time might feel different for a number of reasons. Hormonal changes might disrupt your natural balance leaving your vagina feeling dry.
You might also experience some pain if you’re still recovering from surgery.
If you’re breastfeeding this might also change the way you feel about your breasts being touched. Some women consider them a ‘no go zone’ for the duration of breastfeeding.
In time, you should start to feel back to your normal self. If, however, you feel that your recovery is taking longer, do speak to someone.
Another worry for many women is their vagina post-childbirth. If you feel that your body is not as controlled as it once was, try pelvic floor exercises using Kegels to help tighten it.
“People are always concerned that their vagina will never go back to normal, but your vagina is designed to do this exact task,” says Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist in Los Angeles.
High Chance of Pregnancy
As if the mental and physical challenges of sex post-pregnancy weren’t enough, there’s one more thing to consider: pregnancy.
Because Mother Nature has a sick sense of humour, yes friends, you can get pregnant quite soon after birth.
As the NHS explains: “You can get pregnant as little as 3 weeks after the birth of a baby, even if you're breastfeeding and your periods haven't started again.”
Unless popping out another child is part of the master plan, using contraception is advisable. Debunking the myth that breastfeeding is a natural contraceptive, why take the risk. There’s mixed views about its effectiveness, therefore the best way to avoid pregnancy is to use contraception.