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Sex after C-Section may be the last thing on your mind, as you’re healing and trying to take care of your new baby. But, trust us here, there will be a time when having sex after birth (yes, even sex after C-Section) will appeal to you. Read on for everything you need to know about sex after C-Section, from the experts.

How long should you wait to have sex after C-Section?

About 6 weeks, according to Lois Brustman, MD, an ob-gyn at Mount Sinai, in New York City. “That way, the incision will have enough time to heal, as well as the tissues that were cut during the surgery,” he explains. In addition to letting your body heal, your cervix is still open for a period of time, and you don’t want to introduce bacteria and an infection, adds Rachel Kassenoff, MD, also an ob-gyn at Mount Sinai Hospital. By six weeks, your uterus should be back down to its normal size, and your C-Section incision should be healed as well.

Does it hurt to have sex after a C-Section?

Not specifically due to the C-Section, unless you had significant scar tissue, says Dr. Kassenoff. “After delivering a baby, estrogen plummets, which can contribute to painful intercourse,” she says. “The vagina gets dry, less flexible and pliable, and lots of women find sex abrasive.” But, each person’s experience is different. For instance, when Kathy B. of New York City got the go-ahead from her doctor six weeks after her emergency C-Section, she decided to  give sex a try. “It was actually so much easier than when I had a vaginal delivery with my first baby,” she admits. “We just tried different positions and it worked out great.”

How will the doctor know your body has healed enough for sex?

During your six-week check-up, your doctor will do a thorough exam to evaulate whether your body is healing properly. “The vaginal exam will consist of using a speculum to look at the vagina, cervix, and assess vaginal bleeding,” says Dr. Brustman. “The exam will determine if the cervix is closed, the size of the uterus, and if there is any pain that could indicate an infection or need for continued healing.” If all is well, then you should be given the green light to have sex.

What are the risks of having sex after C-Section too soon?

If bacteria get into the uterus, it could cause infection (like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease). Having sex too soon could also result in increased bleeding and possible injury to healing tissues, as well as be painful.

What is “lochia” and how will it affect sex?

Even if you’ve had a C-Section, you will experience postpartum vaginal bleeding called lochia. According to Dr. Brustman, this totally normal discharge is a mixture of blood, tissue, and mucus that results when your uterine lining sheds, and can last up to 8 weeks. “The presence of lochia does not affect sex after a Cesarean Section any different than it affects sex after a vaginal delivery,” adds Dr. Brustman. No matter how you delivered, having sex before the lochia stops could result in infection.

Any tips for having sex after C-Section?

Dr. Kassenoff says that sexual position doesn’t make any difference. Using a vaginal lubricant can make sex more comfortable, particularly if you’re experiencing vaginal dryness, she adds. It’s also important to make sure that you’re emotionally ready for sex; even once they’re fine physically, some women are wrestling with fear of increased pain following the surgery, in addition to extreme fatigue, emotional stress, and the pressure of trying to please her partner, points out Dr. Brustman. Have sex because you want to, not because you think it’s expected of you.

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