When can I have sex again?

Whoa! Hold your horses! Although we classically tell women to wait 6 weeks after delivery to resume sex, many do not and there isn’t really any science behind this advice. The actual answer varies by woman, and likely depends on how you delivered (vaginally or cesarean), if you had problems (a bad tear or no tear), and whether you have the energy and interest.

Here are some things you should know:

  • If you aren’t lactating, you will probably ovulate again about 25 days after delivery. This means you could get pregnant from sex that happens as early as 3 weeks after delivery. Since the time of return to ovulation is variable, then just assume that you are fertile any time after two weeks or so postpartum
  • If you are breastfeeding, you probably won’t ovulate in the first 6 weeks, but you shouldn’t count on this.
  • If you had a vaginal delivery with a tear, you may need four weeks to heal before sex is comfortable (and sometimes much longer if the tear was severe or it’s not healing well).

So when should you have sex? When you feel like and you feel healed; but make sure you use birth control or you might have two babies in the same year! Most women have sex before their 6 weeks postpartum check-up and most of those women have sex the first time at 3-4 weeks after delivery. It’s really up to how you feel.

What birth control should I get?

Great question. For most women, the most appropriate birth control choice is one of the long-acting, reversible contraceptives or LARCs. The LARCs include the hormonal IUDs (Mirena, Liletta, Skyla, and Kyleena), the copper IUD (ParaGard), and the implant (Nexplanon). These methods are the most effective, have the highest success rate (as much as 80 times more effective than The Pill), have the lowest side-effect profile and lowest complication rate, and the highest patient satisfaction. They also don’t interfere with breastfeeding, and they will protect you for 3-10 years depending on which one you choose. All are immediately reversible if you want to get pregnant and none decrease your chances of pregnancy in the future.

Read more about birth control choices here.