Top Tips For Sex After Birth & Pregnancy

Returning to sexual intercourse after giving birth often creates a lot of anxiety for many woman. Your baby is up often during the night meaning you are exhausted, your body hasn’t returned to it’s pre-pregnancy state and either you might have had some perineal stitches from a vaginal birth or abdominal stitches from a caesarian.

It is completely normal to feel apprehensive about returning to sexual intercourse so here are a few pointers to help combat those nerves:

    • You shouldn’t have sex until your bleeding stops due to the risk of infection (I usually recommend my patients wait until their 6 week check up especially if they had a vaginal birth and have had some stitches)
    • One of the most important things to remember is lubrication. Women who are breast feeding have low oestrogen levels which can lead to vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness can result in painful intercourse. Please use a good quality lubricant (it shouldn’t sting). Even if you aren’t breast feeding and you have some vaginal dryness, don’t worry and just use some lubricant. Often just feeling stressed about have sex again can stop you from relaxing and feeling in the mood.
    • There is a difference between feeling nervous to have intercourse and actually experiencing pain with intercourse. It helps to try distinguish between the two. Sometimes what started out as nervousness develops into a fear, that in itself causes your pelvic floor muscles to tighten up so much prior to penetration, that pain is created.
    • If you are very nervous about the first time after birth, initially try other forms of foreplay, rather than penetrative sex.
    • As long as there are no complications post birth, I encourage my patients to try intercourse at least once by 3 months post natal, this gives me a good indication if there are any concerns that need to be addressed.
    • Sex should not be painful and if it is, you should follow up with an appropriate professional.
    • Ideally you should be assessed by a women’s health physiotherapist who will be able to do a thorough assessment which would include your pelvic floor muscles and the condition of your vaginal tissue.
  • Remember to look after yourself, rest when you can and explain to your partner how you are feeling.

Here at PhysioActive we offer a range of women’s health services, from pre- and post-natal care to treatment for incontinence and pelvic floor disorders. Please get in touch and book an appointment today if you feel we can help.


Thanks for reading!

This post has been written by PhysioActive physiotherapist and women’s health specialist, Tamara Gerdis (Physiotherapist B.Sc, Women’s Health).

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