The Naked Truth About Postpartum Sex

Everyone has a different pregnancy journey and it’s safe to say that postpartum recovery (and sex) differs for each Mama as well. Most doctors recommend waiting 6 weeks until engaging in intercourse or any other type of vaginal penetration. If you had an episiotomy or tear, it is even more important that you wait to have sex so that you do not get an infection. 

It’s always a good idea to get clearance from your doctor prior to having sex. This should be addressed in your 6-week postpartum checkup, but if you want to reach out to your doctor sooner, you can. Regardless, you should give your body an adequate amount of time to heal before having sex. Every Mom’s body and birthing experience is different! 

Once you and your doctor agree that you’ve healed properly and you feel comfortable enough, you can prepare your body and mind for your first time postpartum! 

Will it hurt? What if it’s different?

It might hurt, but don’t let that scare you away from being intimate with your partner! Your vagina birthed a whole human, and low estrogen levels can also impact vaginal dryness and elasticity. Go into the experience knowing that it may feel a bit different, could be a bit awkward or uncomfortable, but open communication with your partner is great to have!

If you’re worried about sex being different, don’t be! The truth is that sex probably will be different and that’s okay. “We think of sex as this stagnant thing in our lives that should remain the same, that should be stable in its flow. We don’t realize that everything that happens in our lives affects our sex lives; Same way that our sex affects everything else.” –Kelly Swartz, Toronto-based erotic expert and sex coach.

How can I prepare for my first time after giving birth? 

  • You can prevent pain by using over-the-counter medications, emptying your bladder, and/or taking a warm bath
  • Kegel exercises can help strengthen your pelvic floor
  • Foreplay is your friend!
  • Use lube if you encounter dryness or discomfort.  We suggest water-based options.
  • Take it slow, communicate with your partner, and listen to your body  

Preventing pregnancy 

Getting pregnant after giving birth is fairly common without proper preventative measures in place. If you get pregnant too quickly after birth, it can increase the risk of premature birth or complications. Many providers recommend waiting at least 12 months before getting pregnant again. 

Ways to prevent pregnancy include: 

  • A copper or hormonal intrauterine device (IUD)
  • A contraceptive implant 
  • Male or female condoms
  • Progestin-only contraceptives via injection or pill
    • If you are breastfeeding, contraception that contains estrogen can impact your milk supply 
    • Estrogen-progesterone pills can raise your risk for postpartum blood clots 
  • Breastfeeding is about 98% effective if
    • less than six months postpartum
    • exclusively breastfeeding
    • haven’t resumed menstruating

What if I have a low libido? 

Don’t worry! There are many different factors that can impact your libido and you shouldn’t be hard on yourself. You will know when your body and mind are ready for sex again and the 6 week mark isn’t a mandatory starting line. 

There are other ways that you can be intimate with your partner, including:

  • Knowing their love languages
  • Time together without baby
  • Massages
  • Mutual masturbation 
  • Oral stimulation 

Make sure that you take the proper steps to get some me-time (whatever that may look like…) and build your self-confidence! Kelly Swartz says of this, “The true sexual journey is about a woman’s intimacy with herself.” You may want to reacquaint yourself with your body, desires, and needs postpartum…as you should!

If you don’t feel attractive or not in the mood postpartum, we recommend a bit of self-care and taking extra steps to help you feel good about yourself. Remember that your body performed a miracle and you are magic, Mama. Take care of yourself and, ultimately, take your time and go at your own pace!