Postpartum Sex – When can I have sex again?

While advice will vary from one health care provider to the next, most health care providers recommend that you abstain from sex until after your six-week postnatal checkup. There are a variety of reasons for the wait.

During delivery, your uterus and your cervix go through tremendous changes. Accordingly, they need time to heal. Specifically, the lining of the uterus may be particularly prone to infection during this time. Not just sex but douching, the use of tampons, or the placement of anything in the vagina can introduce bacteria and cause a uterine infection. Lochia, the material that flows from your uterus after delivery, is a sign that your uterus is healing. When the flow of Lochia is not red in color any longer, it indicates that the uterus is nearly healed. This can take anywhere from three to eight weeks for most women.

A variety of things can happen during delivery that can also affect the safety of having sex after delivery. If you have an episiotomy, for example, it may require stitches. Having sex could reopen the tear and pull out the stitches. The same danger can occur if you have a vaginal or rectal tear or laceration, as well.

Other forms of sex, such as oral sex or masturbation, may be appropriate sooner. It is important that during this time, however, nothing is placed into the vagina. In addition, there is the risk of bacteria from your mate’s mouth working its way into your uterus, so stimulation should be kept mainly on the “outer” parts, avoiding penetration of the vagina, and any areas, such as the perineum, where there may have been a tear.

In addition, many women find that they have a reduced sex drive after delivery. Some women complain of pain during intercourse, even long after delivery. More common is the fear of pain that a woman may have after delivery. The use of lubricants and the woman-on-top positioning may make a woman more comfortable, and allow her to take more care with areas that may still be sensitive.

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