Postpartum sex is a tricky subject for new moms. Some moms recover fairly easily and are ready to be back in their normal lives quickly, while other moms take a very long time to be able to even think about physically reconnecting with their partners. For those who recently went through a vaginal birth, they may be wondering, "why do you have to wait six weeks to have sex after vaginal birth?
According to Baby Center, there is a reason why you should wait at least six weeks to have sex after giving birth. As OB-GYN Laura Fijolek McKain told BabyCenter, new moms should wait six weeks because that is typically when most women go in for their postpartum exam. At this time, your doctor or healthcare provider will examine your vagina and perineum to make sure that you have healed enough for sex to be safe and pleasurable.
One of the main reasons that doctors and professionals recommend that a woman does not engage in intercourse right away is because the uterus and cervix have undergone a significant change during the process of giving birth, and both need a time to heal. During the healing process, the lining of the uterus — particularly where the placenta was attached— is susceptible to infection that intercourse, douching, tampons, and anything placed in the vagina can cause by introducing unwanted bacteria.
That being said, six weeks isn't a hard and fast time frame. According to Glamour, determining how long you have to wait until you can have sex postpartum is a complicated equation that depends on many factors such as a woman's physical and emotional recovery.
"After a woman has a baby, it takes about six weeks for a woman's vagina to heal from a delivery," Dr. Pari Ghodsi, and OB-GYN, told Glamour.
Ghodsi also noted that the six week recommendation allows for ample time for women to recover from tears during delivery, if they have any. OB-GYN Dr. Maureen Whelihan, agrees, telling Glamous that it is indeed possible for some women to have sex sooner if they are up for it. She also advised that women use protection if they don't want to get pregnant again.
"Women who are exclusively breastfeeding aren’t going to ovulate," she said. "But those who are intermittently breastfeeding may ovulate for a short time in the first month."
It is also important for women to set their own timelines for sex postpartum, according to Mayo Clinic. While some women may feel ready to have sex well before those six weeks are up, other women may take a few months or even longer due to fatigue, stress, and fear of pain. Even though doctors recommend that you wait six weeks before having sex after giving birth, it is important to listen to your own body before making a decision to engage in intercourse with your partner.