When Can You Have Sex After a C-Section?

Having a Good Sex Life After Your Cesarean

Husband kissing pregnant wife in hospital
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If you have recently given birth by cesarean section, also known as a c-section, you might have questions about how and when to resume your sex life. You may assume that since you did not have a vaginal birth that you can have sex right away—this is not true, though it is a common misunderstanding.

Why Wait Before Having Sex?

After having a cesarean you will still need to wait about six weeks before having sex, until you've seen your midwife or doctor postpartum.

They want to ensure that your incision is healing well and that your postpartum bleeding has stopped.

Many women and their partners believe that they will be able to have sex right away since they had a c-section. They believe erroneously that the blood has been removed and that there won't be any bleeding after a surgical birth. However, this bleeding comes from inside the uterus, at the site where the placenta was located. This bleeding happens to all mothers, regardless of how they gave birth.

It takes your body about six weeks to heal the inside of the uterus and for the cervix to fully close back up. This is why all postpartum women are told to avoid intercourse and use tampons until they have had their six week check up.

Sexual Positions to Avoid

When you are given the go ahead for sex, typically at your postpartum visit at six weeks, you need to consider some other factors before deciding that now is the right time for you and your partner.

For example, if your incision is still tender, you may be worried that positions like the missionary position will put too much pressure on the incision and will hurt. You may wish to use a position where you have the woman on top or a side or rear entry position to avoid direct contact with your incision.

While the incision is healed around the six week mark in most women, there is still a chance that you are sensitive to pressure on it. You may also note that you have some numbness or tingling. This is normal, however pain should be reported to your practitioner immediately.

Vaginal Lubrication

You may also want to check into vaginal lubricants to assist you in making this experience as pleasant as possible. Most moms have some issues in the lubrication department, particularly if they are breastfeeding or taking hormonal birth control. This is true, regardless of how you gave birth, because hormones are not specific to the mode of delivery.

In addition to using store bought lubrication, remember that foreplay can help increase the amount of lubrication that your body naturally makes. Try to be sure to include the time for lots of hugging, kissing, massage, and more.

While time is a precious commodity when having a new baby, try to incorporate touching your partner throughout the day. This can include things like holding hands when walking, playing footsies at dinner, or even snuggling on the couch while you feed the baby and watch television. These small things help with your feelings of love and support, and can help increase the lubrication.

Leaking Breasts

If you are breastfeeding, your breasts may also leak during foreplay and sex. This is normal and will not affect your milk supply or cause your milk to spoil. It's just a normal thing that happens.

Some people prefer to wear a bra and breast pads if they tend to leak a lot. This can also happen if you are not breastfeeding, but is more common in women who are actively nursing a baby.

Don't Forget the Birth Control

Having a baby does not protect you from getting pregnant. This is true even if you have a c-section. Even if you haven't yet had your period, you can still ovulate. This is why birth control is very important.

At your six week visit, talk to your practitioner about the best form of birth control for you after a c-section. This may be a moot point if you opted to have your tubes tied, known as a tubal ligation, during your most recent c-section.

A Word From Verywell

Remember that time and patience are great cures for sexual ailments post-cesarean and post-baby. You might have a few awkward encounters, and a sense of humor will really help with most of what you experience. If you have issues that seem to be beyond the normal time frame, pain, or bleeding that doesn't seem normal, be sure to see your doctor or midwife for advice. Typically there is a simple fix!

Source:

Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. Gabbe, S, Niebyl, J, Simpson, JL. Sixth Edition.

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