Resuming intercourse after childbirth — How long do we need to wait?

Originally Published: April 11, 2003 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: July 11, 2011
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Alice,

Your site is quite interesting to say the least. You have some great answers for some good questions. My dilemma has to do with our child being born. My wife had a c-section and her wound has healed. I am quite anxious to jump back into bed with her. It has been almost three weeks and I just can't wait any longer. Would it be ok if we continued our lovemaking? If not, how much longer should I wait?

Thanks,
Anxious

Dear Anxious,

Before "jumping back into bed" with your wife, it's important to find out how SHE feels about things. Does she feel physically, emotionally and/or psychologically ready? Giving birth and caring for a new baby are huge, exhausting life events. Hormone shifts and sleep deprivation in the weeks after birth are important factors, also. Have a frank conversation with your wife to find out how she's feeling about resuming intercourse with you.

It's interesting when you say, "It has been almost three weeks and I just can't wait any longer." It's only three — or really six weeks — in your lifetime together. What would happen if you needed to wait longer before having intercourse? Men in similar positions masturbate to take the pressure off, so that they won't explode from blue balls. This is where negotiating and finding common ground are so important. If it's okay with your partner, you can masturbate with her — next to her, against her, or with her touching, kissing, and/or talking with you. All this is to be worked out together. Your needs deserve to be taken care of, whenever possible, if not by your wife, then by yourself. Your wife, the mother of your baby, now has other needs, and the baby has needs, so if your wife can't meet your needs at this time, then it's important to take care of yourself, and be loving and tender with your wife, rather than impatient and deprived.

Most health care providers suggest waiting for at least six weeks after childbirth (either vaginal or by C-section) before having vaginal or anal intercourse again. Some health care providers specify that the woman should no longer be experiencing vaginal bleeding when she resumes having intercourse. After a C-section, an incision may appear healed, but still be vulnerable to stress, and a woman's internal organs are not yet be back to normal, either. Your own obstetrician or midwife can explain her/his rationale, based upon your wife's individual pregnancy and delivery.

Some health care providers ask women to wait until after their six-week check-up, so that there is certainty that healing has occurred, to decrease the chance of infection and to avoid discomfort or pain. On the other hand, some couples are eager to have some kind of sex together so they do not wait till the six-week check-up. If you are both ready to become sexual with each other again, and the six weeks haven't passed, outercourse options and/or oral sex can be fulfilling and pleasurable after childbirth.

Alice