Sex may be the last thing on your mind, especially if you've had a difficult birth, have painful stitches, or have had many sleepless nights. However, after your body heals and taking care of your baby gets easier, you will likely feel more ready for sex.
In the meantime, spend some time each day with your partner. Snuggle, go for a walk, share what is worrying you. Take time to nurture your emotional relationship with your partner.
These tips may help you when you are ready to resume sexual activity:
If you plan to have a baby again soon, you may want to avoid using hormone methods of birth control.
That way, you will not have to wait for your body to readjust to your normal hormone levels and menstrual cycle. This makes it easier to get pregnant.
Because it is possible to get pregnant soon after giving birth, use a reliable form of birth control every time you have sex.
In the hospital before discharge or at your postpartum checkup, talk with your health care provider about birth control choices that are good for you—especially if you are breastfeeding.
The only option that is 100 percent effective is abstinence (not having sex).
The chart below gives you some brief information about birth control.
The pill contains the hormones estrogen and progestin. This combination birth control pill is not recommended for breastfeeding moms. Certain health conditions may mean you need to use a different form of birth control.
These contain only the hormone progestin, making them safe to use while breastfeeding or when health conditions prevent the use of the two-hormone pills. They must be taken at the same time every day to be the most effective. The minipills can decrease milk supply.
Contraceptive skin patch
Hormones progestin and estrogen are released into your body through a patch on your skin. This method is not recommended for breastfeeding moms. You need to change the patch from time to time, based on the schedule for the product you buy.
health care provider visit
A hormone shot is given once every one to three months. It may cause prolonged or irregular bleeding. This injection may decrease milk production if given in the first three days after birth.
They are thin sheaths that unroll and fit over an erect penis. One must be used each time before having sex and removed afterward.
A pouch with two rings placed inside the vagina before intercourse. One must be used each time before having sex and removed afterward.
A small, flexible device is placed in the uterus. It can stay in for 5 years (Mirena) or 10 years (Paraguard).
This is a thin, rubber dome that you cover with a spermicide (sperm-killing jelly), and then insert into the vagina so it covers the cervix. It must be inserted each time before having sex and removed afterward.
Note: Do not reuse your diaphragm from before your pregnancy. You must be refitted after having your baby.
A soft rubber cap smaller than a diaphragm but works the same way. It is usually used with a spermicide.
The foam is a spermicide. (It kills sperm.) It both destroys sperm and blocks the opening to the cervix. It is placed in the vagina before sex using an applicator.
Small rings containing hormones progestin and estrogen are placed within your vagina. This method is not recommended for breastfeeding moms. Some rings can be used only once. Some can be left in place for a period of time, depending on the product you buy.
A procedure that blocks the fallopian tubes. Inserts (made out of the same material as heart stents) are put into the fallopian tubes to keep sperm from reaching your eggs. Follow-up testing is needed.
This is a one-time surgical procedure that permanently sterilizes a woman.
This is a one-time surgical procedure that permanently sterilizes a man.
female and male use
This is a method of monitoring the woman's basal body temperature, estimating the time of ovulation, and timing intercourse to occur when the woman is not fertile. This requires careful personal observation and charting.
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, sixth edition, preg-ahc-90026, ISBN 1-931876-25-8
Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts
Before you leave the hospital, talk with your doctor about any restrictions on sexual activity.
If you find sex is still uncomfortable after a few months, talk to your regular health care provider.