Resuming sexual activity

The time between having a baby and resuming sexual activity varies from couple to couple. Some of it depends on your partner's healing from childbirth.

Although a Cesarean birth may have prevented stitches in your partner's perineum (the area around the vagina), your partner will need to recover from major surgery. In addition, the Cesarean incision (surgical cut) must heal.

Your partner's health at the time of birth and the health of your baby also greatly affect your partner's energy.

Her health care provider will give directions about when it is safe to have sex again. Until then, you and your partner can be close without having intercourse.

  • Use massage, touching, cuddling or kissing.
  • Know that she probably feels unattractive right now. Light candles, buy flowers, and tell her how much you love her. Let her know that she is attractive to you.
  • Keep your sense of humor.
  • When you're ready to leave your baby, even briefly, get a sitter and go for a walk, a drive or a date.
  • Help her feel less exhausted and speed healing by:
    • encouraging her to nap when the baby sleeps
    • giving her a break at least once a day. Take the baby so that she can relax.

Have a supply of condoms or another over-the-counter form of birth control. That way when the two of you are ready for sex, you will have the protection you need to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, seventh edition, ob-ah-90026
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 12/02/2015

Taking care of a new baby can leave a mother feeling "touched out." Your partner may feel more ready for sex if she has been able to nap or soak in a warm bath first.