When is it Okay to have Sex after C-section and Why

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When to Have Sex After a Cesarean

After having a cesarean you will still need to wait about six weeks before having sex. You will have your six-week postpartum check-up at this time. Your doctor or midwife will want to ensure that your incision is healing well and that your postpartum bleeding has stopped.

After having a cesarean you will still need to wait about six weeks before having sex.1

 You will have your six-week postpartum check-up at this time. Your doctor or midwife will 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 tampons until they have had their six-week checkup.

Sex After C-Section: When Is It Safe?

According to the American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology, you should not place anything in the vagina or have sex for a few weeks after a C-section. Dr. Puls says most OBs will say to wait 6 weeks.

“In general, we want the uterus to be able to clean itself out and for surgical incisions to heal, so there is less risk of infection,” Dr. Puls said.

What can happen if you don’t wait? According to Dr. Puls, the woman would likely experience pain from vaginal dryness and changes of pubic symphysis or other musculoskeletal changes from pregnancy. Additionally, Dr. Puls says wounds that have not totally healed could reopen.

In some cases, a woman may have to wait longer to return to sexual activity. Dr. Puls says some reasons include:

  • Significant trauma to the vagina from an instrument-assisted delivery or the baby getting stuck, called dystocia, that requires vaginal reconstruction
  • A Cesarean hysterectomy, which is when the uterus is removed during the C-section
  • Any wound or organ infections -Having a drain placed after the surgery

Before engaging in sexual activity, Dr. Puls says it is important to talk to your OB. You should also know that the first time you have sex after a C-section could be uncomfortable. Couples may want to consider using a lubricant to help improve the experience. Your OB may suggest certain sexual positions that can help. Additionally, be sure to watch your incision site for bleeding and increased pain.

“Discuss concerns with your partner as well,” Dr. Puls said. “Patience and understanding are part of a good relationship.” The stress of having a newborn coupled with the extent of the surgery means the first few weeks after giving birth are an important time to listen to advice. “Women need to listen to their bodies and their providers with regards to increasing physical activity, as well as when to return to sexual activities,” Dr. Puls said.

Sex after a C-section: Everything you need to know

While there is no standard amount of time a woman should wait before returning to regular sexual activities following their C-section, it is best to wait until a doctor says it is safe. Most women get the OK from doctors at their 6-week postnatal checkup and may choose to start having sex after this point.

After a doctor says that it is safe to try sexual activity, people may still need to take some precautions to reduce the risk of complications. There may be some soreness and swelling around the incision site, and the surrounding skin may feel tight or stretched.

Sex After a C-Section: 7 Things to Be Aware Of

There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding whether you’re ready to resume having sex after a C-section. The first factor is your C-section scar, the second is vaginal bleeding, and the third is your emotional state. In addition to those things, you should also consider your overall health including your strength level, as well as your birth control method. There is a common misconception that people who have given birth via C-section can have sex soon after delivery because they have not had as much trauma to the vagina. Hold off from having intercourse at least until you have been to your six-week postpartum checkup. Rushing into things too quickly and even sex four weeks after a C-section can lead to complications such as infection. Six weeks is the average amount of time it takes the uterus to return to its normal size, cervix to close, and C-section incision to heal. Once you get the all-clear from your health care provider, medically speaking, you’re good to go. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re ready to resume having intercourse after giving birth, though. Consider your mental health as well. It is common to experience baby blues or postpartum depression after giving birth, which can cause low libido. Share these things with your partner, and don’t force yourself to do something you don’t feel ready to do. It’s normal to have a low sex drive after giving birth.