You may have heard the myth that if you’ve had a c-section, you can resume sex almost straight after delivery. Of course, this isn’t true, but when can you have sex after a c-section? And how can you make sure it’s not painful? Here’s what you need to know.
How Long Should You Wait Before Having Sex After a C-Section Delivery?
Although your c-section will have minimized trauma to your vagina, it’s still not safe to have intercourse straight away. Ideally, you should wait 6 weeks before having sex after your cesarean. Although, if you’re a fast healer, you may be good to go after just four weeks.
Here’s a quick checklist to see if you’re ready for sex:
- You’ve been given the green light by a medical professional.
- Your incision is healing well.
- You have no signs of infection, like a fever, swelling, or discharge.
- Your postpartum bleeding has stopped for at least 48 hours.
- You want to have sex.
If you’ve checked all these off, congratulations, you’re ready to get back between those sheets. But before you jump back in, here are a few tips to ensure things go smoothly.
The hormones associated with pregnancy or breastfeeding can cause vaginal dryness and painful friction. Fortunately, a little water-based lubrication should help.
Choose a Good Position
It’s important to avoid positions that could put pressure on your scar. So avoid bending or missionary. Instead, try spooning or go on top, which will give you more control.
Wear a Bra with Breast Pads
Foreplay may cause your nipples to leak. To avoid any distracting spills, wear a bra with breast pads.
It’s uncommon but possible for your fertility to return soon after birth, even if you’re breastfeeding. You’ll typically have to wait for your 6-week checkup to start hormonal contraception, so use condoms if you have sex beforehand.
Why Should You Wait to Have Sex After a Cesarean?
If you’re feeling good and your scar looks well healed, you might be tempted to resume sex early. However, it’s vital to wait at least a month because sex before four weeks could:
- Cause an infection.
- Open an internal incision.
- Rupture your stitches.
- Cause bleeding.
- Be painful.
This is because it takes between 4 and 6 weeks for your cervix to close and for your scar to heal sufficiently. It’s not safe to put anything inside your vagina, even a tampon, before this time. You should also avoid strenuous exercise and bending over.
If you reach the 6-week mark and still don’t feel ready, you’re not alone. Only around 41% of women resume vaginal sex at this point.
Give yourself time to recover, and if you reach a point where you want to have sex, but something is stopping you, tell your doctor. There are lots of ways they can help.
When Can You Have Sex After C Section and Tubal Ligation?
If you had a tubectomy, or tubal ligation, at the same time as your c-section, you can usually resume sex after 4 to 6 weeks.
However, always check with your doctor, ensure your incision is healing well, and wait until your lochia has stopped.
When Can You Have Intercourse After a C-Section and Hysterectomy?
If you had a hysterectomy at the same time as your cesarean, it might take you slightly longer to heal. So, you should expect to wait between 6 and 8 weeks before you have sex.
Again, check with your doctor first.
Can Sex After a C-Section Cause Bleeding?
Yes, having sex after your c-section can cause bleeding for a few reasons:
- Orgasms can cause your uterus to contract, which may release some remaining lochia.
- Your cervix will be in quite a fragile state, so intercourse could cause spotting.
- If you have vaginal dryness, the friction could cause small tears and bleeding.
Can Sex After a C-Section Cause Infection?
Yes, having sex too soon after a c-section can result in infection. This is because your cervix will remain open for weeks, allowing bacteria to pass from your vagina to your uterus.
Can Sex After a C-Section Cause Internal Bleeding?
It’s very rare, but if you get an infection resulting from sex, it can lead to internal bleeding. Symptoms include:
- Fast heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Bruising (other than the normal bruising at your incision)
- Cold, clammy hands
- Passing blood clots
- Feeling faint
If you experience any of these, seek medical help right away.
Can You Have Sex After a C-Section With a Condom?
Even with a condom, intercourse can introduce bacteria and cause an infection. So, you still need to wait 4 to 6 weeks before having protected sex.