We all know sex during pregnancy is safe, and doesn't harm the baby. And having sex after a C-section is fine "whenever you feel able to do so" (according to the NHS), which could be after six weeks or so. As long as you're comfortable, you're good to go. But what about sex after giving birth? How long do you have to wait? And what does it feel like?
These parents explain how long they waited to have sex after giving birth, how it felt and what they learned.
1."We had non-penetrative oral sex at three weeks. but waited the full six weeks for anything penetrative. Although my labour was pretty easy with very minimal tearing and bleeding, I really saw no need to let anything up there until the six-week OK from the midwife. Even at three months postpartum we definitely have sex but not that often, who can find the time?"
2."About six to seven weeks all three times. Breastfeeding put a dampener on my sex drive anyway and I wasn’t feeling it. The first three or so times it was always pretty uncomfortable bordering on painful before it became fun again."
3."Lol, like seven months. Omg the the sleep deprivation and hormone changes. Sex didn’t even cross my mind before then."
4."My first birth I tore so much. The baby basically shot out of me, I had no control over it. It was like she was stuck, then she wasn't, and it was so quick that I tore. The doctor was holding her in as best she could, but ended up giving me an episiotomy to control the tear so that I didn't tear all the way to my anus. It ended up being something like nine months before I was able, and it still hurt. Birth is fucking horrifying. But apparently not enough to prevent me from deciding to have a second. My second birth was a walk in the park, and we had sex in about eight weeks."
5."Around two weeks. I had a pretty standard, non-complicated labour, no tears, no issues, and a good recovery. I was advised after birth to wait around four weeks, but after two weeks I felt ready and I discussed it at my two-week check up and the doctor said as long as we were gentle and used a condom to reduce risk of infection, we were fine. The sex was fine and we continued as normal from there. My sex drive (which has always been high) didn’t change throughout my pregnancy or after, so it was important for me to embrace that too."
6."I was feeling horny around week three or four, but decided to wait until I got cleared from my doctor at six weeks. She cleared me, so we tried a day or two later. It was excruciating and we had to stop immediately. I gave it another two weeks and was fine then. I'd had a vaginal birth, with only very minor tearing and no complications."
7."I'm nearly six months out, and mentally still too scared. I'm physically fine, feel aroused, but just so so scared. My brain projects the pain of birth onto the thought/visual of penetration and I freak out. My partner is endlessly understanding, but I'm not sure how to 'fix' it."
8."They told me to wait about a month and a half. I went to a check up after a month of giving birth and they asked me to be careful because my inside stitches we not yet fully healed. So we waited two more weeks, so two months in total. When we did finally have sex it was uncomfortable, the second time it hurt a little. The following morning I realised I was bleeding a little. My husband took a look and the back edge, near the anus, was red so we waited more to keep having sex. Now I don't feel any uncomfortableness and enjoy it.
"I remember the nurse telling me she had seen women who tore badly have sex really fast after birth and their stitches ripped. Apparently they can't stitch you up again if that happens, so the wound has to heal on it own and it can take months. I don't know if she just said that so I would be careful though. Every birth experience is different so its important for you to do what is best for your body."
9."Seven weeks. I have never understood why people think the six-week rule is a joke. Your uterus is basically an open wound after birth."
10."Four weeks both times. Both times we waited for the midwife to give me the go-ahead and then as soon as she did we were both very happy. I didn't have any tearing or stitches though."
11."Almost a year.... I just didn't think about it. I got hit with and postnatal anxiety, and I was so sleep deprived. The last thing I wanted was to waste what precious time I had alone not sleeping. It hurt and he couldn't get it in all the way."
Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.