You shouldn’t start having sex again until you both feel ready, physically and mentally. For some couples this can take some time, as your birth experience, any injuries or trauma, your hormone levels, emotional wellbeing and sleep-deprivation all impact on your ability or desire to have sex. There is no “normal” timeframe to resume a sexual relationship after birth, it depends on the couple and what you’ve experienced.
If you do want to have sex, it’s best to wait at least a few weeks to allow yourself to heal, whether you’ve had a vaginal birth or a caesarean. The risk of infection is higher in the weeks following the birth, as your cervix may not be fully closed, and your uterus will still be healing where the placenta has detached. Ask your midwife for advice on this based on your own circumstances. You may need to use extra lubrication to make things more comfortable, especially if you are breastfeeding or pumping as this affects your hormone levels.
If you do have sex, it’s extremely important to use contraception – you can become pregnant again within a few weeks of giving birth, you will be fertile before your first period arrives. Some people think that breastfeeding prevents ovulation but this is not always the case.
It’s a good idea to think about what sort of contraception you’d like to use – talk to your GP about your options, as not all contraceptives can be used while breastfeeding. Until you’ve arranged contraception, make sure you use condoms to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.