No matter how you gave birth to your baby, your body needs time to heal and recuperate.
Often women want to know when it is safe to have sex again after birth; some women who have had a c-section might assume they can resume their previous sexual life right away.
When you decide to have sex again after birth really depends on how you feel, but most maternity care providers recommend new mothers wait until at least 6 weeks after birth before having sex again.
This includes women who have given birth via c-section.
Sex after a c-section
Different women have different health conditions. Women’s health is sometimes overlooked after a cesarean delivery and new mothers tend to do too much because they want to care for their newborn babies.
Because of this, some people (partners, relatives, carers…) tend to assume that, because a woman who has just had major surgery can look after her baby, her recovery is taking place much faster than it really is.
It’s important to acknowledge that everyone’s recovery process is different. Everyone, however, needs a few weeks or months postpartum before resuming sexual activity.
When can you have sex after a c-section?
It’s up to how soon you want to begin having sex again after giving birth. If you’ve had a c-section, you will have an incision in your lower abdominal area and this needs time to heal. The area will most likely be tender and you’re very likely to experience pain if pressure is placed on it.
During your six-week postpartum checkup, your care provider will assess your c-section incision site, and how it has healed. If you have had an infection, or pain, you might need ongoing treatment.
Your care provider will also check to see whether your post-birth vaginal bleeding (lochia) has stopped. During their postpartum period, many women are surprised to find out they have lochia after a c-section.
This bleeding comes from inside the uterus, at the site where the placenta was attached. It will heal and shred in a similar way whether you gave birth vaginally or had a cesarean birth. During cesarean deliveries, some of the blood is cleared out during the c-section surgery, but you can still expect to bleed for 4-6 weeks postpartum.
Your uterus also takes about the same time to shrink down to normal size and, unless you had an elective c-section (before labor began), your cervix will probably have dilated and will need time to close.
How long does it take for your cervix to close after a c-section?
The cervix should be closed to avoid the risk of infection when sex is resumed. Nothing should be inserted into the vagina for at least a few weeks after a c-section delivery.
Whether you’ve had a c-section or a vaginal birth, the hormones flowing in your body in your postpartum period are very similar.
The placental site also needs time to heal despite the type of birth a woman has had. For most women this takes between four to six weeks to happen. This is why a postpartum checkup is often scheduled for about six weeks after you’ve given birth.
If you need to, make sure you speak to your healthcare provider before this appointment. If you feel unwell or are in pain, or if you’re worried about your baby or about your mental health (postpartum depression is quite common), make sure you contact your midwife or doctor as soon as necessary.
Make yourself a priority and act the moment you realize you might need some professional help.
Sex after a c-section – risks
Giving birth by cesarean section usually requires a longer recovery period than giving birth vaginally.
The pelvic floor needs to recover, even if labor hasn’t taken place, as the pelvic floor muscles have been working extra hard during the pregnancy.
The risks of resuming sex too early after a cesarean delivery have a lot to do with the risk of infection of the wound, and with pain.
When women resume sex after a c section, if they experience pain, it’s clear they must stop. There isn’t one good reason to do something that is painful for you. There is often too much pressure placed on women to resume sexual activities after birth and also after c-sections. It is just another patriarchal idea put into women’s heads.
You’ve just had a new baby and your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles need to recover. You’re going through several hormonal changes. You might be breast feeding, and worrying about your milk supply, bra, and breast pads. It’s totally normal to be a bit overwhelmed and feel the need to wait longer before you resume sex.
Please read Sex Too Soon | Mothers Forced Or Pressured Into Sex After Childbirth if you feel pressured to resume sexual activity before you’re ready.
Resuming sexual activity after a c-section doesn’t necessarily mean resuming intercourse. You can enjoy sex in different ways. Maybe is time to be creative and try different new sexual positions. Is your incision site a bit tender? Try different sex positions. If you feel like resuming vaginal sex, try a position where your partner enters you from behind so there’s no pressure on your c-section wound.
Read BellyBelly’s article Pregnancy Sex Positions – 7 Ideas For Pregnant Couples.
It’s about sex positions during pregnancy but it can also give you good ideas if you want to resume sex after a cesarean section but want to leave your incision site pressure free.
Tips on sex after a c-section
Not all women are keen to resume having sex – even after their 6 week postpartum check-up. You might be extremely fatigued, feeling worried about pain, or just not interested in having sex. Just go with your feelings. Talk to your partner about it, too.
Read our article 10 Reasons Why She Doesn’t Want Sex After Having A Baby.
It might help him understand the various reasons why you don’t want to have sex yet.
If you decide to have sex when your six weeks are up, there are certain things you can do to make it easier for your body. First of all, don’t expect it to be a success straight off! It can help to spend time with your partner – just giving and receiving loving attention, such as a massage, which can help to make you both feel relaxed.
Try positions that you find comfortable and don’t put any pressure on your incision site. This area can remain sore for a while and it’s a good idea to avoid pressure on the area as much as possible.
Some good positions to try might be side by side, or spooning. Rather than intercourse, you might prefer your partner to perform oral sex; it might be more comfortable and more enjoyable.
Taking your time and enjoying each other’s bodies can help you to relax and move past any fear or tension you might be feeling about how your body looks or feels. You and your partner might feel nervous about resuming sex after birth, especially if you haven’t had sex for some time because of pregnancy.
Often women find sex uncomfortable after birth, especially if they are breastfeeding. Hormones and lack of libido can contribute to vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable and even painful. Vaginal lubricants can reduce discomfort during sex.
Remember, time and patience are important when resuming sex after your c-section birth experience. It’s likely there will be awkward moments and even times when it’s a case of ‘nothing doing’.
If you and your partner keep the lines of communication open, and take things slowly and carefully, sex after c-section can be an enjoyable experience.
If you have any problems that extend beyond the expected time frame for healing, any ongoing pain, or bleeding that is unusual or sudden, make sure you ask your care provider for advice.
Climax after c-section
Reaching climax after a cesarean section should be a pleasurable experience. If your body isn’t ready, it will let you know. If you’re enjoying sex and can feel your orgasm building up, your body is giving you the green light to let go and enjoy it. When in doubt, following your instinct and listening to your beautiful body is the right way to go. Always.
Even if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, don’t forget to consider birth control. Make sure you speak to your healthcare provider about the best options for you.