Sex after baby: When can you make love again after giving birth?

I have heard that you should wait six weeks after giving birth to make love. Is this true?


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

When I first started practicing midwifery in the 1970s, the six-week rule was in effect. Although we recognized that many women had already had intercourse before their six-week checkup and suffered no consequences, the main concern was the possibility of infection.

Research has demonstrated that the cervix is closed by two weeks postpartum, and normal episiotomy incisions and lacerations are well-healed. As a result, I now tell women to have intercourse whenever they feel ready -- as long as the red bleeding has stopped. This generally occurs around two weeks postpartum.

There are exceptions: Women who have had significant blood loss, postpartum fever or infection, and women who had extensive extensions of their episiotomies or severe lacerations would probably do best to wait four to six weeks before intercourse.

Mothers who are bottle feeding or breastfeeding with supplementation may be fertile again at two weeks, so I recommend that they use a good method of contraception. If you are at risk for sexually transmitted infections, a condom and gel or foam are recommended.

Women are generally a bit apprehensive the first few times that they make love after giving birth. Extra lubrication, such as Astro Glide or Slippery Stuff, can make lovemaking more comfortable. 

Watch Video: Starting Sex After Baby

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