Getting back into the bedroom may be the last thing on your mind after having a cesarean section — but many women (and their respective partners) have questions about intimacy post-birth.
Whether you’re curious about how long you should wait to have sex after having a C-section, or wondering what to expect, here’s what you need to know. Learn how soon you can have sex after a vaginal birth here.
Recovery from a C-section delivery
Women who deliver their babies via C-section usually experience less bleeding than women who have delivered vaginally, because much of the blood is cleaned out during surgery. You will still experience bleeding in the next four to six weeks though, so don’t be alarmed!
The area of your incision site will also be tender for several weeks after delivering your baby. It will take about six weeks for the incision to heal fully, but it is common for women to experience pain, numbness and tingling around the incision site for longer.
Sometimes the sensations around the incision site can last for several months after the surgery. Normally, discomfort is fine (even several weeks or months after the surgery) as long as it’s not accompanied by other symptoms like fever or vomiting.
Speak to your doctor if you notice any increase in pain, discharge, or bleeding after your c-section. You should feel better as time goes on, not worse.
When Can I Start Having Sex Again After Having a C-Section?
No matter if you give birth vaginally or via C-section, your body needs time to heal after delivery. While everyone heals at their own rate, most women find they are ready to have intercourse between four and six weeks after giving birth. Your healthcare provider will give you the green light when you are fully healed and ready for intercourse again.
Remember, after giving birth, your uterus takes about six weeks to return to its normal size and for your cervix to close back up. It is best to wait to resume any sexual relations until after the cervix has closed.
For mothers who give birth via C-section, the healing process is typically longer. Having a C-section is a major surgery, and most women will need more time to recover from a C-section than a vaginal delivery.
Whenever you resume having sex you must begin using birth control again. Pregnancy can happen almost immediately, even after just having given birth! Talk to your doctor to find a breastfeeding safe method of birth control (most methods are).
What to expect when having sex post C-section
When it comes to having intercourse after your C-section delivery, set your own timeline! The physical recovery from a C-section doesn’t happen overnight and you will experience tenderness in your abdominal area.
Because the area around your incision site might be uncomfortable even after six weeks postpartum, we recommend trying sexual positions that don’t put any pressure on this area. Being nervous to have sex for the first time after delivery is normal, so go at your own pace and be open with your partner. Remember that intercourse is not just physical, but mental.
Be open with your partner, take your time, engage in non-sexual foreplay (such as massage) to help you relax. If you experience unusual pain during intercourse, talk to your doctor.
4 C-Sections Recovery Tips
1. Get lots of rest
Remember, a C-section is major surgery! And just like with any other surgery, your body needs lots of rest afterward to heal. Following your C-section, you will likely stay in the hospital for three to five days for your initial recovery, but a full recovery takes around six weeks.
Getting enough rest is easier said than done. After all, taking care of a new baby isn’t easy. We recommend resting whenever your baby rests and sleep whenever your baby naps. If you can, ask friends and family for help with diaper changes, housework and any other strenuous activities. Having a solid support team will help you recovery faster.
2. Take it easy
Your body will be sensitive following your C-section, so it’s important to be extra careful when resuming your normal activities. Try keeping everything you need to take care of baby in one place (such as diapers, wipes and a clean set of clothes), so you don’t have to get up too often.
It’s important to not lift anything heavier than your baby since your incision marks will be healing. While you should avoid strenuous exercise, we recommend taking gentle walks often as the movement can help your body heal while also preventing blood clots and constipation. Plus, walks with your new baby are great for bonding!
3. Don’t forget your emotional health too
Taking care of your emotional help is just as important as taking care of your physical help. Having a baby can bring on feelings you’ve never experienced before. You may feel exhausted, sad or disappointed. All of these feelings are normal but don’t ignore them. Talk to a friend, your partner, or your doctor.
4. Relieve pain with OTC drugs
Some OTC pain medications may be suitable for you to take to relieve pain. Be sure to ask your doctor which pain medicines are ok for you to take, especially if you are breastfeeding.
If you have more questions about post-birth intimacy, call your OB-GYN
Still not sure if it’s okay for you to have sex yet? Are you experiencing pain or discomfort during sex since delivering your baby? If you are at all concerned, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team has helped women be successful in every stage of their lives! You can give us a call at (941) 254-2717 or view our online patient portal.