The period beginning immediately after the birth of a child and extending for about six weeks is known as the postpartum period (or postnatal period). The World Health Organization (WHO) describes the postnatal period as the most critical and yet the most neglected phase in the lives of mothers and babies.
A study in the International Obstetrics and Gynaecology Journal, found that women were more likely to have sex by six weeks if they had delivered their child vaginally. Only about a third of women who had perineotomy (surgical incision of the vagina during second stage of labor to quickly enlarge the opening for the baby to pass through) had resumed sex after six weeks.
For normal (vaginal) birth:
It is best to hold off on intercourse until six weeks after delivery, which is when they have their postpartum checkup. The body of the mother should be given adequate time to heal and restore to its previous glory.
For birth by episiotomy, c-section, or other procedures:
If other external invasive procedures were followed at the time of giving birth, the time for complete recovery and healing may vary among individuals and will depend on how extensive the procedure was. Hence it may take more than six weeks to resume intercourse.
But the most important point here is for the women to be ready to have sex both emotionally and physically, as childbirth can be a very traumatic process. Factors such as fatigue, stress and fear of pain can take a toll on your sex drive. For faster recovery and restoration of the health of the mother, adequate care and precautions should be taken.
Tips for resuming sex after the birth:
• Hormonal changes can leave your vagina dry and tender, especially if you’re breast-feeding; hence to help ease any discomfort during sex, take it slow. It is advised to try just cuddling and being intimate at first, so you gradually become used to being touched in a sexual way again.
• Try a position that doesn’t put too much pressure on your vagina.
• To tone your pelvic floor muscles, try Kegel exercises.
• Eat a healthy diet, including plenty of fluids.
• Include physical activity in your daily routine.
• Rest as much as you can.
Most of the sexual concerns associated with pregnancy or childbirth resolve within a year; hence it is best advised to be prepared and to be patient.