Almost Half of Mothers Wait 2 Months or Longer to Have Intercourse After Start

Key findings

  • Virtually 1 / 4 of mothers have intercourse inside six weeks of supply. Medical doctors usually suggest ready round six weeks earlier than resuming penetrative intercourse, however 26 p.c report having intercourse for the primary time after start earlier than that.
  • One other 46 p.c wait longer than six weeks — typically taking six months, a 12 months or extra earlier than resuming penetrative intercourse.
  • It is no shock many mothers want extra time. A few quarter of ladies surveyed (23 p.c) reported experiencing painful intercourse after giving start. Common pelvic ache and strain additionally have an effect on about 1 in 4 mothers.

Each child, each start and each postpartum restoration journey is exclusive. The usual steering from well being care suppliers — typically, to attend about six weeks earlier than having penetrative intercourse — would not fairly line up with what many new mothers want and expertise, in response to a survey performed by On a regular basis Well being Group, What to Anticipate’s guardian firm.

The 478 respondents, all who’ve given start, had vastly completely different timelines for resuming penetrative intercourse in addition to non-penetrative intercourse and masturbation. This held true for various supply sorts, together with vaginal births and cesarean sections.

“The six-week mark is definitely fairly arbitrary,” explains Rebecca Amaru, M.D., a board-certified OB/GYN at Mount Sinai Health System and a member of the What to Anticipate Medical Overview Board. “The restoration is so variable. That is such a person expertise for girls that it is actually exhausting to make guidelines.”

1 / 4 of mothers wait lower than six weeks after giving start to have intercourse

After giving start, many ladies hear that six weeks postpartum is when it is protected to return to sexual exercise, and 24 p.c of the mothers we surveyed waited till precisely that time. However it’s not at all times clear-cut. 

The American Faculty of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) says there’s actually no set timeline.[1] It now recommends that mothers see a supplier a number of instances inside these first six to eight weeks following start relying on their very own distinctive conditions.[2]

Some girls really feel prepared sooner. Actually, about 1 in 4 mothers (26 p.c) surveyed waited lower than six weeks to have penetrative intercourse.

“You do need to be cleared by your supplier first,” explains Katie Propst, M.D., a urogynecologist on the University of South Florida and a member of the What to Anticipate Medical Overview Board. “Each girl’s therapeutic is simply so particular person for thus many alternative causes.”

Even should you’re mentally and emotionally prepared, your physique might have extra time for the cervix to shut, the uterus to shrink and any tears to heal. This course of can take kind of than six weeks. 

“I received the okay from my physician to ‘have fun’ with my companion after 4 weeks,” says one What to Anticipate neighborhood member. “My companion was actually mild and perceptive the entire time, which helped.”

Virtually half of mothers wait longer — and typically for much longer

One other 46 p.c of mothers surveyed waited greater than seven weeks to have penetrative intercourse. Supply kind did not appear to make a distinction, with roughly equal numbers of ladies who had vaginal (44 p.c) or C-section deliveries (49 p.c) saying they waited greater than seven weeks to have intercourse. 

The typical survey respondent in actual fact waited till round 10 weeks. A full 11 p.c waited between three and 6 months, 3 p.c waited between 7 and 12 months, and one other 2 p.c waited a 12 months or longer earlier than returning to penetrative intercourse. 

“I didn’t need to even take into consideration or do it till seven months after our first was born,” says one What to Anticipate mother. “This time, I am 4 weeks postpartum after a C-section and nonetheless have extreme ache and an infection of the incision, so it is a exhausting ‘no’ for now.”

Postpartum signs could make intercourse uncomfortable for far more than six weeks

Almost 1 / 4 of ladies surveyed (23 p.c) skilled painful intercourse after giving start — and this symptom lasted for 20 weeks on common. Pelvic ache and strain additionally have an effect on about 1 in 4 mothers and normally remained for 14 or 15 weeks.  

Given the longevity of those signs, it isn’t surprising that many postpartum girls select to attend to have intercourse. Past pelvic strain and again ache, girls who breastfeed may additionally expertise hormonal adjustments that decrease intercourse drive and contribute to painful intercourse. 

“Breastfeeding causes you to have very low estrogen ranges,” Dr. Amaru explains. This hormonal swing can contribute to vaginal dryness and discomfort.

When or how mothers resume their intercourse lives may also differ primarily based on the circumstances of the start, such because the diploma of tearing and any prior deliveries. “The bodily restoration is usually a lot more durable after the primary child,” Dr. Amaru says. 

How a lot social help a mother has, whether or not she has a long-term companion, and whether or not she’s coping with a postpartum temper dysfunction like postpartum melancholy or postpartum nervousness may also play into this timeline. 

The important thing factor to remember is that you do not have to endure in silence. In the event you really feel bodily signs are holding you again from resuming intercourse, speak to your physician, regardless of the place you might be in your postpartum journey. 

Whereas numerous post-birth ache does get higher with time, obtainable therapies will help pace restoration. Pelvic ground bodily remedy, Kegel workouts, over-the-counter ache relievers, lubricants and hormonal therapies like estrogen lotions can go a great distance relying on what is going on on. 

The important thing takeaway: “It’s not true that you do not get to think about your self after you may have kids,” Dr. Propst says. “It is okay to take some extra time earlier than returning to intercourse, but when issues will not be bettering by six weeks, you possibly can work together with your supplier to discover a resolution.”

Mothers take time to get again to different types of intercourse and intimacy too

Penetrative intercourse is not the one sort of intercourse. On common, mothers additionally waited 9 weeks postpartum to have non-penetrative relations with a companion and 13 weeks to masturbate. 

The entire adjustments that come together with welcoming a brand new child to your life make it exhausting to make time for your self, a lot much less your relationship. 

“What influences a girl’s return to intercourse is difficult,” Dr. Propst says. It is not unusual for mothers on this interval to really feel “touched out,” overwhelmed by new duties or simply plain drained — on prime of all of the bodily challenges of restoration. 

In the long run, there is no regular on the subject of postpartum restoration and no “proper” time to return to intimacy. Actually, should you’re not having intercourse but and also you’re positive with it, there is no motive to fret.

“There’s numerous cultural strain to return to intercourse,” Dr. Propst says. “However as with every different time in life, if a girl is not sexually lively and is okay with that, there is no motive to vary issues.”


The On a regular basis Well being Group Being pregnant & Parenting Speak to Mothers Month-to-month Ballot was performed by On a regular basis Well being Group – Being pregnant and Parenting between January 31 and February 3, 2023. We surveyed 478 respondents who’ve given start and have a minimum of one youngster as much as 5 years outdated. The survey was fielded among the many Dynata Analysis Panel.