Sex After a C-Section

When It's Safe and What to Expect

Post-C-Section Sex

Verywell / Alexandra Gordon 

When can you have sex after a C-section? Usually, at about six weeks postpartum. The timeline is the same as if you had a vaginal birth. It's a common misunderstanding that giving birth by cesarean section means you can have sex right away. That's not the case, because your body needs time to recover.

When to Have Sex After a C-Section

After a C-section, it's usually safe to have sex once your incision is healing well and your postpartum bleeding has stopped. This is typically about six weeks after delivery. Many people will have a check-up with their healthcare provider at this time; it's a good opportunity to discuss how you are feeling and whether it's OK to have sex again.

Some people believe that if they have a surgical birth, they won't have postpartum vaginal bleeding. However, postpartum bleeding comes from inside the uterus, at the site where the placenta was located. It's not caused by delivering vaginally. So everyone has postpartum bleeding, regardless of how they gave birth.

It takes about six weeks for the inside of the uterus to heal and for the cervix to fully close, regardless of type of delivery. This is why it's important to avoid intercourse and tampons during this time.

More Comfortable Sex After a C-Section

Even once you get the go-ahead for sex from your doctor or midwife, you may not always feel ready. Take your time, and take steps to make sex a more comfortable experience for your post-C-section, postpartum body.

Choose Sex Positions Carefully

Partner-on-top positions like the missionary position may put too much pressure on your incision, especially if it's still tender. You may wish to use a position where you are on top, or a side or rear entry position, to avoid direct contact with your incision.​

While the incision should heal around the six-week mark in most people, it may still be sensitive to pressure. You may also feel some numbness or tingling around the incision site. This is normal. However, report pain (especially if it is new or severe) to your practitioner immediately.

Use Lubrication

You may find that vaginal lubricants help make post-cesarean sex more pleasant. Most people have some issues with lubrication after giving birth, particularly if they are breastfeeding or taking hormonal birth control. This happens regardless of how you gave birth.

In addition to store-bought lubrication, remember that foreplay can help increase the amount of lubrication that your body naturally makes. Incorporate lots of hugging, kissing, massage, and more.

Encourage Affection

While time is a precious commodity when you have a new baby, encourage intimacy with your partner throughout the day. This can include holding hands when you take a walk, playing footsies at dinner, or snuggling on the couch while you feed the baby and watch television.

These small acts of affection help boost feelings of love and support, They can also help increase lubrication and make sex more appealing and comfortable.

Manage Leaking Breasts

If you are breastfeeding, your breasts may also leak during foreplay and sex. This is normal and will not affect your milk supply. It's just a normal thing that happens.

Some people prefer to wear a bra and breast pads if they tend to leak a lot. This can also happen if you are not breastfeeding but is more common in people who are actively nursing a baby.

Don't Forget Birth Control

Having a baby does not protect you from getting pregnant. This is still true if you have a c-section. Even if you haven't yet had your period, you can still ovulate. This is why birth control is very important.

At your postpartum visit, talk to your practitioner about the best form of birth control. Even if you want another child again soon, it's safest to wait six to 18 months between pregnancies.

A Word From Verywell

Remember that time and patience are great cures for sexual discomfort post-cesarean and post-baby. You might have a few awkward encounters, but a sense of humor will really help with most of what you experience. If you have issues that seem to be beyond the typical time frame, or pain or bleeding that doesn't seem normal, be sure to see your doctor or midwife for advice.

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Alum AC, Kizza IB, Osingada CP, Katende G, Kaye DK. Factors associated with early resumption of sexual intercourse among postnatal women in UgandaReprod Health. 2015;12:107. doi:10.1186/s12978-015-0089-5

  2. Obstetric Care Consensus No. 8: Interpregnancy care. Obstet Gynecol. 2019;133(1):e51-e72. doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000003025

Additional Reading

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.