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Safe Sex After Giving Birth: A Guide for New Moms

Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Mar 03, 2022

Safe Sex After Giving Birth: A Guide for New Moms

After childbirth, parents have to make a lot of adjustments. Both of them have to dedicate a good portion of their time to take care of their newborn. Furthermore, a mother will experience yet another change in her hormonal levels as she recovers from labor and delivery. The lack of time and physical changes often make it hard for couples to remain sexually intimate with one another. Here’s what you need to know about safe sex after giving birth.

When Can You Practice Safe Sex After Giving Birth?

According to reports, it is physically safe to have sex again when you notice that the vaginal bleeding (lochia) has stopped. Women who delivered via C-section might have less lochia than those who delivered vaginally, but they might still see some blood for a few weeks. Generally, lochia stops at 4 to 6 weeks after delivery, when the cervix has returned to its natural size.

This is the reason why, whether it is vaginal birth or C-section delivery, many couples resume their sexual relations after 4 to 6 weeks.

But, despite this common timeline, doctors emphasize that “there is no required waiting period” when it comes to safe sex after giving birth.

After all, the physical aspects are not the only thing you need to consider. There are also other factors such as birth control and your feelings toward sex. In other words, you may need more time to become physically intimate with your partner again.

Safe sex after giving birth

Things to Remember: Safe Sex After Giving Birth

Whether you’ve had a vaginal birth or C-section delivery, these are the important things you have to keep in mind once you decide to resume having sexual relations with your partner:

Wait Until You Have Fully Recovered Physically

The first and most important tip is, of course, to not have sex unless you have fully recovered. Four to 6 weeks might be the common timeline, but it may take longer, especially if you have experienced complications during childbirth.

Remember: Having sexual intercourse before your body has recovered may result in complications like uterine infection and hemorrhage.

Your Interest in Sex May Change

After giving birth, you may feel that you will never have sex again. But experts explain that your interest in being physically intimate with your partner will return in time. Most women take about 1 to 3 months to feel sensual again; others take longer.

If you and your partner both experience the same level of interest in sexual intercourse, there’s no problem. But when you have different levels of sexual desire, it may put a strain on your relationship.

Hence, in case your partner is ready to have sex again, but you feel that you need more time, give them some reassurance that you are not pushing them away.

Check if You’re Ready for Sex Again

Before you practice safe sex after giving birth, it’s a good idea to “see for yourself” first if you are already up for it.

You can check by gently exploring yourself with your fingers. To ease any discomfort, it will be helpful to use some lubricant. Touch your genital area and assess for any pain, discomfort, or changes.

After checking, you can then communicate with your partner what is comfortable for you and what is painful. You can also open up on how you want to be touched.

There are Various Ways to Maintain Intimacy

Here’s another important reminder: There are other ways to practice safe sex after giving birth aside from vaginal penetration.

Experiment with your partner and see if other forms of intimacy will work for you. Examples include oral sex, massage, and mutual masturbation.

These options are especially great if both you and your partner are feeling sensual, but penetrative sex is not yet possible.

Find Some Ways to Ease the Discomfort

Sometimes, no matter how many precautions you take, safe sex after giving birth will still result in pain and discomfort. This is true for both vaginal and C-section delivery. You may find it soothing to:

  • Take pain-relieving measures. Before engaging in sex, it might be helpful to prevent discomfort by taking over-the-counter pain relievers. Emptying your bladder and having a warm bath may also reduce pain. If you experience a burning sensation after sex, you can consider applying towel-wrapped ice in the affected area.
  • Don’t pretend that it does not hurt when it does. If sex starts to hurt, it is better to say so than pretend otherwise. According to experts, pretending that it does not hurt might lead you to see sex as a nuisance rather than a source of pleasure. If penetrative sex is still too much for you, consider the other forms of intimacy mentioned earlier.
  • Lubricate. Vaginal dryness is a normal problem in practicing safe sex after giving birth. It’s especially common among breastfeeding mothers. To help with the dryness, you may need to use a water-based lubricant. Additionally, allow some time to achieve arousal; this gives your body ample time to lubricate.
  • Experiment with positions. Some positions put pressure on the incision or wound, so you might want to avoid them in the meantime. Talk to your partner about the positions that you like and those that result in less pain or discomfort.

Key Takeaways

There’s no required waiting period when it comes to safe sex after giving birth. But, in most cases, couples are ready to be physically intimate again after 4 to 6 weeks. Once you decide to have sex again, remember that it may not be successful right away. Don’t rush. Instead, take time to build your intimacy as a couple by keeping your communication open and letting them know what feels good and what leads to discomfort.

Learn more about Postpartum and Self-care Here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Mar 03, 2022

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