November 22, 2019 3:24:14 pm
By Dr Neena Singh
Childbirth already makes a woman’s body go through a lot of stress. This means that she needs adequate time to recover before she is able to resume her regular day-to-day life. The recovery time could be longer if there was any surgical intervention. Going back to one’s regular life also includes getting intimate with the partner and it may be several weeks before one can do that. No to mention how the mother is fatigued and sleep-deprived having to take care of her newborn, which can also impact her mood and thus her relationship with her partner.
Many healthcare providers recommend waiting to have sex until four and six weeks after delivery regardless of the delivery method (normal vaginal delivery or C-section). The reasoning behind this is the following:
1. Whether you have a vaginal delivery and caesarean, the bleeding continues for around four weeks. So intercourse is generally avoided during bleeding as infection rate may increase.
2. In normal vaginal delivery, sometimes stitches are applied on the vagina because of an incision given to facilitate the delivery of the baby. The stitches heal in four to six weeks. Penetrative sex in the first four weeks after delivery may become painful and interfere with the healing process.
3. After delivery, the cervix is dilated, so penetrative sex in the first four weeks increases risk of infection.
Most of the risks can be avoided by waiting for six weeks to start having penetrative sex after giving birth.
It is recommended to visit your obstetrician after four weeks of delivery for her to see that the stitches have dissolved, the vagina has returned to normal and cervix is no longer dilated. It is also recommended to gain knowledge on birth control measures to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
(The writer is Associate Director-Obstetrics and Gynecology, Fortis LaFemme, New Delhi.)
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