It’s normal to feel like you never want to have sex again after giving birth.
At some point you probably will want to have sex, so it’s good to be prepared and to think about contraception.
Your fertility can come back quickly even if you’re breastfeeding so it’s a good idea to talk to your midwife about contraception.
You can speak to your midwife about contraception before your baby is born.
Physically, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have sex as soon as:
If you have sex before then:
Doing pelvic floor exercises can help your body recover.
Many couples wait longer – it’s entirely up to you. The important thing is that you only have sex when you’re ready to.
There are many different ways to have sex. After giving birth you may feel you want to try something other than penetrative sex. As everybody’s different, talk to each other about how you feel.
You and your partner may feel too tired for sex, and you may feel bruised after the birth or not ready emotionally.
When you do decide to have sex again you’ll both probably be a bit nervous, so use some lubrication and don’t rush it. If you’re finding sex hurts, stop and talk to your partner.
There’s a large choice of contraceptives available. What you choose will depend on whether:
Ask your midwife, health visitor or family nurse to give you information about:
If you decide not to use contraception, talk to your midwife, health visitor, family nurse or GP about what this could mean for you.
Watch this animation to find out more about contraception after birth.
The main types of contraception are:
Some women use breastfeeding as a method of contraception. This method isn’t as reliable as other forms of contraception such as LARC.
If you choose to use this method you need to start it straight away or within 3 weeks of birth.
Breastfeeding as a contraceptive is likely to be most effective if you’re:
It becomes less effective:
You can get pregnant as little as 3 weeks after the birth of a baby, even if you’re breastfeeding and your periods haven’t started again.
If you’re planning on having sex that could lead to pregnancy, you should start using contraception no later than 3 weeks after your baby’s born.
There are lots of benefits to leaving a gap of at least 18 months between one baby and the next.
Helpful information is available from Public Health Scotland and is available in multiple languages and formats.
For alternative languages and formats, please contact email@example.com
6 November 2023