By Cristina Mestre Ferrer BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 12/22/2015

Sexual life may become a little bit worse after childbirth because of pain, exhaustion, fear, hormone changes, etc. However, sexual desire can be recovered gradually after the first six weeks postpartum.

The woman’s hormonal state after childbirth is comparable to hypogonadism, that is, sex glands generate only a few hormones or no hormones at all. Thus, the most usual thing during the so-called quarantine period—6 first weeks after childbirth—is to have sex without penetration.

After this period of time, human sexual response is recovered gradually. Three months after childbirth, female capacity to have an orgasm is the same or even better than it was before getting pregnant, so by then most women have restarted having intercourse.

Tips to enjoy a full sexual life

Here you will find a series of tips that will help you enjoy your sexual life after childbirth. By following these recommendations together with a great deal of patience, your sexual life can be even better than it was before pregnancy.

1. Effective communication

Although communication with the partner is essential in every relationship, it becomes especially important in this very moment.

If you do not talk about this issue, sex drive may become suppressed because each one of the members of the couple may think the other is not in the mood to have sex.

The more you talk to each other, the more you will enjoy your sexual life.

2. Kegel exercises

Kegel exercises strengthen pelvic floor muscles. That is the reason why practicing them after childbirth is strongly advisable to recover both strength and the resistance of pelvic muscles.

Apart from being effective against urinary retention problems after childbirth, they help increase pleasure during intercourse.

3. Choosing the right birth control method

The use of contraceptive methods is a key element in sexual life after labor.

During this period, it becomes necessary to use an accurate birth control method that allows the couple to enjoy having sexual intercourse without fearing getting pregnant again. This is because fear is one of the main reasons why recovering the normal sexual life becomes difficult for a great number of couples.

4. Using lubricants

Hormone changes may cause vaginal dryness, which leads many women to feel pain during intercourse.

Using lubricants and vaginal gels can help solve this problem. Those based on water, water-soluble, or with balanced pH levels are the most recommendable ones.

Authors and contributors

 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information

2 comments

    1. Laura Holmes

      Hello! I’ve a question on this issue. You see… can I start having sex before my six-week postpartum check-up? I’ve read the whole article and you said something about a loss of libido after childbirth, but the truth is I actually know I’ve got it again with me, because every time I see my husband I just wanna make love, is it normal? Will if be painful? Thanks!!

      • Sandra FernándezBA, MA

        Hello Laura,

        It is nice that you feel the same way you usually felt before pregnancy, that is a very good sign that everything is going well! However, I recommend waiting at least six weeks before engaging into sexual intercourse, mainly because, as you said, that’s when most women go in for their postpartum evaluation.

        In this exam, the GYN/OB will make sure that both your vagina and perineum have healed; otherwise, sex may be unsafe and do not cause you to feel any pleasure. Besides, during the healing period, the lining of the uterus is susceptible to infection, so you should be especially careful at this time.

        Hope this helps,

        Best wishes