Skip to content

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

Sex After Childbirth - Topic Overview

For a while after childbirth, don't be surprised if you have little interest in sex. Physical recovery, exhaustion, and hormonal changes often affect sexuality after childbirth. Each woman's experience is different.

Together, you and your partner can connect emotionally and physically by knowing ahead of time what is normal and why.

  • Physical recovery. It's important to avoid sexual intercourse until you have stopped bleeding and intercourse is not painful or uncomfortable. Your body needs time to heal after childbirth. This can take about 4 to 6 weeks, but it's different for each woman.
  • Lack of energy. Exhaustion, your baby's demands, and recovery from childbirth may make sex less important to you. You will have more energy when you become used to having a new baby and are healed, more rested, and settled in a routine.
  • Hormonal changes. Until your menstrual cycle starts up again, your estrogen is low and vaginal dryness may be a problem. High prolactin levels while breast-feeding also play a part in vaginal dryness. If you have this problem, use a vaginal lubricant to provide moisture.
  • Breast-feeding. Newborns need to breast-feed often. This not only takes up your time and energy, but it can lead to sore breasts. But this does not last long. You and your baby will settle into a feeding routine, feedings will become further apart, and your breasts will adjust. As the healing and feeding demands on your body become less, you will feel more interest in sex again.

Talk with your partner about your feelings, concerns, and expectations. Let your partner know that as you recover from childbirth, you need extra support. Ask your partner to tell you about any needs and concerns too.

Try to set up times when you can be alone, unrushed, and uninterrupted.

Rest whenever possible.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 13, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Sex After Childbirth Topics

    Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

    Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
    what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

    Today on WebMD

    hand circling date on calendar
    Track your most fertile days.
    woman looking at ultrasound
    Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
     
    Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
    The signs to watch out for.
    pregnant woman in hospital
    Are there ways to do it naturally?
     
    slideshow fetal development
    Slideshow
    pregnancy first trimester warning signs
    Article
     
    What Causes Bipolar
    Video
    Woman trying on dress in store
    Slideshow
     
    pregnant woman
    Article
    Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
    Video
     
    healthtool pregnancy calendar
    Tool
    eddleman prepare your body pregnancy
    Video
     

    WebMD Special Sections