Almost every new mom has heard it a million times: you have to wait until the postpartum checkup before being intimate again. But why do you have to wait six weeks to have sex after birth, anyway? There are many reasons to give it a little time. To learn more, Romper spoke with Dr. Maureen Whelihan a gynecologist based in Palm Beach County, Florida.
Because most patients return for a checkup around four to six weeks after giving birth, it is generally a convenient time to discuss contraception, as Whelihan says. Given the physically and emotionally draining nature of birth, many new moms don't have the desire to get back in the saddle much sooner, so to speak. The six week rule serves as a good guideline in many cases.
But this isn't to say that all women want a sexual cease and desist order right after giving birth to a baby. In reality, people have sex as soon as one week after delivery, according to Whelihan. If a woman does not have stitches or other complications for recovery, she might not feel that bad. In fact, some OB-GYNS have walked in on sex happening in the postpartum unit. For some women, that six-week wait is unthinkable.
So what is the potential danger to having sex before this checkup? Fertility. Because the uterus has not yet shrunk down to its normal size, sperm can easily get to the goods. This fact is well-known to some people on a personal level, including Welihan. "My mother was pregnant with me at her postpartum checkup," she says says. Face it: fertility can be kind of intense at this time.
If you anticipate wanting sex before the six week checkup, just bring it up with your doctor. Arm implants, shots, and IUDs are all forms of birth control that can be safe to use right after delivery. If, however, the moment just happens upon you and your SO, using a condom is a smart move. Whatever your desire, be open and honest with your physician to get the best care. Seriously: they have heard (and possibly seen) it all, so you have nothing to lose.