Everything You Need to Know About Sex After a C-Section

If you’ve had a Caesarean section (or C-section) you’ll probably be wondering a few things about your recovery. One of them might be surrounding the ins and outs of sex after a C-section (excuse the naff pun) – and more specifically, when it’s safe to resume your normal sexual activities. 

I’ve had two C-sections, and especially after my first, I was terrified about having sex again. I knew my downstairs bits were still in working order, but the whole sun-roof situ can be a bit icky to think about in the first few weeks (everything felt so sore) so I think we waited the best part of six months. Shock, horror! (Sorry to ruin your sex-cred, Jamie.)

Here’s what to expect in terms of your postpartum recovery: having sex after a C-section, what it might mean in terms of discomfort and whether you need clearance from your GP or healthcare provider.  

When Can You Have Sex After a C-Section?

It’s important to remember that most women are pretty scared about the prospect of sex post-birth, and that feeling is completely natural. I’ve got a couple of close friends who didn’t resume sexual activity for over a year after birth, while another was back in the saddle after a couple of months. We’re all different. Also, don’t underestimate the exhaustion you’ll feel in the first few months of getting to grips with a new baby. 

When it comes to medical advice after a C-section, it's similar to that of a vaginal birth. It's generally recommended to wait until after your six-week postpartum check-up before resuming sexual activity. However, ultimately, the decision is yours to make.

Healthcare providers usually recommend waiting to ensure your body heals adequately, minimising the chances of complications. It's important to be aware that you may experience vaginal bleeding for several weeks, so it’s important to be mindful of how long it takes your cervix to heal.

It’s important to consider your C-section scar and your own emotional state. Are you ready? Breastfeeding, weight gain, and pelvic floor issues together with vaginal bleeding may impact on your libido and body image. It’s a time to be kind to yourself. 

Is Sex After Birth Painful?

When it comes to C-section pain during sex, it varies from person to person. It’s common to experience tenderness or pain around the incision site which will reduce over time. With birth, comes a drop in oestrogen, which can lead to vaginal dryness, making everything a little more delicate. Communicating with your partner about your body and how you are feeling is really important during this time, so they know where you’re at.  

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Tips for Having Sex for the First Time After a C-Section

Don’t Rush 

Take your time. It can be really hard to make room for each other during the first few months, so patience is key. Once you are ready, start with gentle intimacy, and progress when you feel comfortable to. 

Use Lube

As mentioned, hormonal changes can cause dryness postpartum, so get yourself a water-based lubricant to help make intercourse a little less awkward and a lot more enjoyable. 

Choose Comfortable Positions

Now is probably not the time to crack open the Kama Sutra. Instead, opt for easier positions to minimise pressure on your abdomen and take things from there. You’ll soon be cracking out The Bridge, The Plough or The Balancing Act in no time.

Relax and do it 

If you’re anxious or tense, you’re bound to experience discomfort during intercourse. It really is all about taking it slow, and being relaxed. Communicate with your other half and share your feelings and concerns. Let them know what feels good and definitely let them know what doesn’t. 

Use Contraception

According to the NHS, you can get pregnant three weeks after the birth of a baby – even if you're breastfeeding and your periods haven't started again. It’s really important to use contraception in the months following a C-section. The general advice is to wait at least six months, but your GP or healthcare practitioner may advise waiting anything up to two years.  

Do You Need the Go-Ahead from Your Doctor?

While you don’t need their permission, it can be useful to consult your GP or midwife before resuming your sex life post C-section. They’ll know your individual circumstances and will be able to advise on whether you have healed properly. 

Don’t Forget

You will be able to enjoy a fulfilling and satisfying sex life postpartum, but some things just take a little time  - and that is perfectly OK.

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