When Can You Have Sex After a C-Section?
Right after a C-section, having sex is probably the last thing on your mind. But as your recovery progresses, you might wonder when it's safe to get back in the saddle. We've broken down exactly when you can have sex after a C-section, with advice on whether the experience will be painful.
How Long After a C-Section Can You Have Sex?
"After delivery, it's recommended to wait six weeks before resuming vaginal intercourse," says Pamela Promecene, M.D., professor and obstetrician with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth/UT Physicians in Houston. This timeline gives your C-section incision time to heal and your cervix time to close and return to normal.
If you had complications during or after delivery, though, you may have to wait for up to eight or ten weeks for sex after a C-section. It's important to let all of the tissue heal to prevent further damage. Check with your practitioner before restarting sexual activity so they can advise you on the best course of action.
Will Sex Be Painful After a C-Section?
Once your doctor gives you the green light to have sex after C-section recovery, your first time could be more uncomfortable than it might have been after a vaginal delivery. Why? A study published in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2015 found that Cesarean delivery is associated with persistent pain during or after sex, a condition known as dyspareunia. The study's authors looked at which factors contributed to such pain, including breastfeeding, fatigue, postpartum depression, and even abuse.
More than 1,200 first-time mothers across Melbourne, Australia, participated in the research. Most of those women who had resumed having sex by 12 months postpartum said they experienced pain the first time they did so after having their babies, and close to a fourth of those women still reported pain at 18 months postpartum. But women in the group who had an emergency Cesarean section, vacuum extraction, or elective C-section had double the risk of pain during or after sex at 18 months postpartum as women who had spontaneous vaginal births with intact perineums or unsutured tears.
Will a C-Section Affect My Sex Drive?
Having a C-section should not affect your sex drive, even though many new moms don't feel like making love again right when the six weeks are up (and that's totally normal). For one thing, you're probably exhausted from your newborn's round-the-clock schedule. And the hormones you release while breastfeeding have also been known to temporarily lower libido, too.
What About Anal Sex After a C-Section?
You might think you can work around these guidelines by having anal sex after a C-section, but in actuality, the six-week timeframe might still hold up. That's because the movements of anal sex could still aggravate your incision. As always, check with your practitioner for advice about your specific situation.