There are so many factors that impact sex after pregnancy: a woman’s physical healing, emotional readiness, partner expectations, quite simply finding the time for intimacy and many others.
We look at all these as well as the possible causes that could delay sexual intercourse after a woman’s pregnancy.
When is it safe to resume sex after pregnancy?
The simple answer to this is, whenever a couple feels comfortable and ready to resume sex. For some couples this may be as early as within the first month after childbirth and for others this could take up to 6 months or even longer.
The rule of thumb that couples can follow is, to resume full sexual intercourse after about 6 weeks, at which point a woman would likely have undergone a postnatal checkup and the doctor would typically have Okayed the resumption of sex.
Physical factors that affect sex after pregnancy
In the case of a vaginal delivery a woman is exhausted after a possibly long labor and difficult delivery. If an episiotomy was done, there are those stitches that need to heal. After a C section the recovery time needed is obviously significantly long; after a woman has undergone major abdominal surgery.
Then there is the fact that the post pregnancy bleeding (lochia that may contain mucus, blood as well as placental tissue) will continue for 4 to 6 weeks after the pregnancy.
The cervix also needs some time to return to its normal pre-pregnancy state after the childbirth. Many women experience vaginal dryness and/or tenderness in the perineum area which may also be physical impediments to sex after pregnancy.
For all of these reasons is not only advisable to wait for about 6 weeks after pregnancy; in most cases it could take that long for a woman to become physically able.
Emotional factors that affect sex after pregnancy
Childbirth can be a marvelous experience but it can also be a taxing and overwhelming one; to say nothing of utterly exhausting.
A woman’s priorities can change dramatically after the arrival of a new baby as well. So it may be that resuming sexual relations is the last thing on the mind of a new mother.
The huge hormonal changes that a woman experiences in the aftermath of the birthing, can mean that a woman has little or no interest in physical intimacy. Post pregnancy depression is another reason why a woman may not be interested.
What men should know about sex after childbirth
For the partner of the new mother it is important to remember that if it takes time for sex to be resumed, this is not a rejection of any sort. If a woman seems stressed or pressured, cries for no reason or seems to find no time for herself, then the man needs to understand that this is not the best time to suggest the resumption of physical relations.
Men may have to be patient about sex after pregnancy and follow the non-verbal cues that a woman my typically give out. In the meantime the man should ideally be supportive and understanding. He can be affectionate and loving and intimate in a way that is not physically demanding.