For some women late in their pregnancy and immediately postpartum, sex is the farthest thing from their minds. Between the exhaustion and the recovery — your body just did a major thing, after all — it's just not on the to do list. Other women, however, are ready to go soon after giving birth. Although many healthcare providers tend to recommend waiting to resume having sex until you're at least six weeks postpartum, if you're struggling with the wait you might be wondering, how soon you can masturbate after delivery.
As it turns out, it's kind of unclear. There's no hard and fast rule for when you can start or how long you should wait. One of the factors is how you delivered. If you had tearing or any complications, you may find that you need to wait longer, whereas if everything went perfectly according to plan, you might not need to wait all that long. According to Trimester Talk, external stimulation postpartum is fine as soon as you feel comfortable. Additionally, urogynecologist Dr. Lauri Romanzi told Redbook that you need to be careful to avoid the vagina and any stitches you may have while masturbating after delivery so as to keep them from ripping.
You also have to consider blood flow before diving into masturbation. The website for U.K.-based National Childbirth Trust (NCT) advised that you wait to put anything in your vagina postpartum until all the bleeding has stopped, which can take anywhere from 10 days to several weeks. In an interview with Health, OB-GYN Dr. Hilda Hutcherson said that checking to make sure postpartum bleeding has stopped is partially what your six week checkup is for. If you don't wait, it's possible that it could cause an infection. Healthcare providers also check to see that any tears or cuts that you sustained during the delivery are healed properly, which is important for postpartum sex and masturbation.
Another thing to remember, though it has nothing to do with safety, is that wanting to masturbate postpartum is totally normal. In fact, according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, it's quite common for women to masturbate within a few weeks after delivery. As long as you're taking precautions like avoiding stitches and minimizing risk of infections, if you feel comfortable and ready, there isn't really any medical reason to wait. And if you're unsure though, talk to your doctor about it, as they'll be able to give you a better idea that's more specific to you.