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Sex After Pregnancy: What the First Time Is Really Like

You probably know when you'll be allowed to have sex again, but what’s going to happen when you finally get back in the sack?

Make sure you’re ready -- physically and mentally

Most OBs tell their patients to wait at least four to six weeks to do the deed after childbirth, but the truth is, moms are waiting anywhere from a couple weeks to, well, months and months. Just think carefully before you make the decision to get back in the sack, “You really should wait until your six-week postpartum visit and have an exam,” says Laura Riley, MD, Director of Labor and Delivery at Massachusetts General Hospital and author of You & Your Baby: Pregnancy. “You should be completely back on your feet, no longer bleeding, have had a conversation about birth control and started taking birth control.”

The trouble with jumping into sex too soon is that you might cause further injury to lacerations that haven’t healed yet, or you can risk infection. Even if you’ve had a c-section, bacteria from the vagina can travel directly into the uterus and get infected (and that really doesn’t sound fun!), if you do it too early.

Also, says Riley, many new moms haven’t gotten back on birth control yet, and even if you haven’t had your first postpartum period yet, you could get pregnant. “Studies have shown that women who have babies too close together may be at higher risk for some complications, such as low birth weight,” says Riley. “And you probably want to be in a better psychological state before you go back to being pregnant again.”

Don’t feel like getting it on after six weeks? There’s nothing wrong with waiting even longer. “Some new moms are physically and mentally fatigued, and not feeling sexy,” says Riley. “They’re anxious about their vaginal area being ready. Some are still leaking urine. If you’re tense, sex is more likely to be uncomfortable.”

Know that it could hurt

We know you’re dying to know what it’s going to feel like, but we can't answer that with total certaintly. Some moms say the first time hurts a whole heck of a lot. Others have no pain. Chalk it up to the same reasons some women breeze through pregnancy without morning sickness or hemorrhoids: everyone is different.

Pain can be caused by a number of different factors. “Things shift around,” says Riley. “Your uterus and cervix may be lower than it used to be. You might have had a repair that is a little bit tight.” Heightened levels of estrogen can make things dry down there, especially if you’re breastfeeding, so it’s smart to arm yourself with water-based lubricant just in case. (Riley says the non-water based kind can actually dry you out!) You should also ask your partner to really go crazy with the foreplay, to help you get in the mood.

And get ready to experiment with positions -- your tried and true ones might make you a little uncomfortable (for now), if you’re experiencing sensitivity in certain places.

Don’t worry: you'll get your mojo back

Believe us. You’re not destined for uncomfortable sex forever. Some women say it gets back to normal within a few times. For others it takes a little longer – sometimes up to a year, says Riley -- but they do get there.

Brutal honesty

So what do other mamas say their first roll in the hay after baby was like? Some loved it. Some hated it. Some waited a while -- and some simply couldn’t help themselves.

“Our first time was really bad physically-speaking, but it was nice to reconnect with my husband. I'll be honest: it did not feel comfortable, even going slow and using lots of lube. My advice to you would be to not try for your first time on your anniversary -- that's really just going to add a lot of pressure to something that can already be a little difficult.” -- vanillacourage

“I was very nervous. And surprisingly it wasn't that bad. It was just more uncomfortable. We used lube, but didn't really need it. It hasn't ever hurt really but it definitely isn't the same [as before the birth]. Lots of people recommend using lube. Astroglide is pretty good. Have a glass of wine to help you feel more comfortable, too.” -- Mrs_Marcos

“I held out for three months because I was scared -- and I had a c-section!” -- SBMBride406

“We waited 10 weeks. We had some wine, used some lube and it didn’t hurt a bit. I couldn’t believe it, since I had two episiotomies and was really swollen. I was totally scared at first, but it was great!” -- Bakler

“I don't know if I'm a bad person, but I couldn't wait the four weeks the doctor told me to wait. I won't lie -- it was around two weeks. We took it easy, so as not to cause any pain. Use a condom!” -- lizzmac21

“Dude, our first time after the baby was awful. It hurt so bad. It was seven weeks postpartum -- I do not recommend doing it that early. Your body needs more time to heal.” -- levans

“I can tell you that if you delivered vaginally, it may help to go on top.” -- cmumama

“I gave birth a little over a month ago. I had a c-section so I didn't expect any pain, but it hurt! I totally felt like I was a virgin all over again! It hurt so much at first that I thought we were going to have to stop, but after a lot of deep breaths and having my husband go very slowly, it turned out to be okay. The odd thing is, that after the pain subsided, and we kept going, I ended up having one of the best orgasms ever.” -- zyas

“I had a c-section too, and it hurt at first, but not as bad as I thought it would. It ended up being great! My doctor said if you’re breastfeeding, estrogen will be lower, so use lots of lube.” -- heatherbee710

“We didn't put expectations on our first time back in the saddle. It had been 10 months for us, because I was put on pelvic rest, and the goal was to just have it with as little pain as possible. And it wasn't bad for me at all. I was all afraid for nothing. If you're feeling self-conscious about your body, remember that your husband loves you. If he's anything like mine, he won't care at all [about the changes]. If you want to do something to feel better, get some babydoll lingerie that covers your breasts and midsection and makes you feel pretty.” -- toriwc

“We waited about eight weeks because I was so sore. I had fourth degree tears. It was painful, but we used a ton of lube. After the first couple of times, it didn't hurt anymore, and sex felt the same as it had pre-pregnancy. For me, it felt like losing my virginity again.” -- mommy510

“My husband and I have only done it two times postpartum. It’s so hard for me to get in the mood. I lost all my baby weight, but I feel so flabby and I have so many stretch marks. I’m breastfeeding and my boobs are so off limits to him. I have never been the self-conscious type, but it's so hard to feel sexy when I’m not comfortable with the way my body looks.” -- BeachBlondie456

“We did it five-and-a-half weeks postpartum, and it was awesome. It didn't hurt at all. I don’t know if it was because it had been so long, but man, oh man, was it good!” -- wifey~n~mama

“I don't remember it being crazy painful. And things were back to pretty much business as usual after just a few attempts. I'd had a second degree tear, and I could feel where that had been. There is also a position that we pretty much can never do again -- ever -- because of a weird sensitive spot I'd never had before.” -- redjetta22

Plus, more from The Bump:

Do People Actually Have Sex After Babies?

How Often New Moms Really Have Sex

Revving Up Your Sex Life After Baby

-- Elena Donovan Mauer

See More: Mommy Life , Post-birth Recovery , Sex and Relationship