It’s one of those taboo topics that most soon-to-be new moms worry about but are often afraid to discuss: having sex after delivering your baby.
Let’s face it, a lot of stuff is going on down there after baby is born. It can be painful or just feel “different.” Either way, the first intimate experience with your partner after giving birth can be a nerve-wracking one.
Dr. Aimee Probasco, an OB-GYN at Methodist Physicians Clinic Women’s Center, said it’s a common concern among her patients.
“I think women are often surprised at how different intercourse might be following delivery,” she said, because they don't know what to expect.
It’s a question that’s worth asking, Probasco said. Any discomfort is something your physician should know about to help.
She often suggests personal lubrication, vaginal estrogens, physical therapy or even vault massage, which is stretching for the vaginal area that can be done with the help of your partner.
Doctors generally advise women to wait until their six-week postpartum visit to see if their body has healed from delivery. If the tear hasn't healed, doctors will recommend delaying sex for a few more weeks.
Unless you experienced complications, the wait time is usually the same for women who had a c-section or vaginal birth.
The six-week postpartum visit is also a good time to discuss birth control. You generally will start ovulating and having periods about four to six weeks after you deliver – so you could get pregnant if you are having intercourse during that time.
“Breastfeeding does decrease the risk of conception following delivery, but it doesn’t completely eliminate it,” Probasco said.
If you want to prevent pregnancy, Probasco suggests using birth control, whether that’s condoms, birth control pills or long-acting, reversible methods like an IUD or a shot.
Whatever your concerns are about sex after pregnancy, Probasco – a mother of five – urges new moms to not stay silent. Talk with your health care provider to have a happy and healthy sex life after your baby arrives.
“Patients need to understand taking care of themselves and their partner will only add to their ability to take care of their baby as well,” Probasco said.