The question isn’t really is there a sex life after baby, but when and how there’s sex after a baby. Even if it might not seem like it right away, it’s possible to have a healthy sex life with a baby in the house—as long as there’s communication and compassion about the changes that your baby brings.
When can you have sex after having a baby? Generally it’s safe to have sex 4-6 weeks after giving birth, but you should wait for the okay from your OB/GYN at your 6-week postpartum check-up. Your “safe” date may vary depending on whether your birth involved a cesarean section, episiotomy, vaginal tearing, or other complications.
Once your doctor tells you you’re physically ready to resume sexual activity, you can assess your emotional readiness.
Some new mothers are ready right away, while others are reluctant. Here are common obstacles preventing new moms from returning to their pre-pregnant intercourse routine:
- You’re tired. Becoming a mother is both rewarding and exhausting. Sleep deprivation and late night feedings don’t leave you much energy for sex. According to a 2008 poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 20 percent of Americans lose interest in sex because they are too sleepy. Once your baby begins regular sleep cycles around 6 months of age, fatigue will subside.
- You’re afraid it will be painful. And it could be in the beginning, depending on your labor and level of recovery. The good news is that “in the majority of cases, painful intercourse generally resolves within 3-6 months postpartum,” according to the Institute of Sexual Medicine. Talk to your partner about your fears, and take it slow. Use lubrication to reduce pain during intercourse. If you have concerns, discuss them with your OB/GYN.
- Your focus is on your new baby, not your partner. Women are wired to be attentive to their children, and it is difficult to have sex with a new baby on your mind. As the weeks pass and as you settle into a routine, it will be easer for both you and your partner to focus on intercourse.
- You’re self-conscious about your postpartum body. With pregnancy come changes to your body. Focus on the beauty of what your body has accomplished, and open up to your partner about your feelings. Their reassurance may boost your self-esteem—and your libido.
When you are emotionally ready and deemed physically ready, take it slow, and follow your doctor’s advice for contraception.
Reviewed by Dr. Eva Benmeleh, September 2020
- Generally it’s safe to have sex 4-6 weeks after giving birth, but wait for the okay from your OB/GYN.
- Being physically ready to resume sexual activity doesn’t mean you’re emotionally ready.
- Sleep deprivation is one of the biggest factors in lack of sex after birth.