Medically Reviewed by Dr. Melissa Thompson, PT, DPT, MTC
Dr. Thompson is board certified and the owner of Louisiana Pelvic Health. Her expertise is in alleviating bladder, bowel, and sexual pain symptoms during pregnancy, postpartum, and throughout a woman's life.
Having sex for the first time after giving birth can cause fear and worry especially if you’ve just had a C section.
If you’ve just had a baby through a C section delivery, you may be dealing with pain and discomfort during sex.
And it's frustrating. You have a beautiful child that you already love so much - but, you also want to enjoy your intimate relationship with your partner.
Keep reading to know about why sex childbirth by C-section can be painful and what you can do about it.
What Is Postpartum Dyspareunia?
To put it mildly, dyspareunia, or commonly known as painful sex, is a condition that implies recurrent pain among women during sexual intercourse.
Painful sex can happen for a variety of reasons. Commonly it is caused by inadequate lubrication which makes the vaginal area dry, tight pelvic floor muscles, dysfuntion in the pressure system, injury to tailbone, etc.
In postpartum sex, it’s been said that dyspareunia happens among women who have intercourse within the first month after childbirth (and some for much longer)
The reasons can vary, and some women don’t experience this at all.
But somehow, dyspareunia is even more painful for many new moms who have sex after birth after C section.
Why Does Painful Sex Happen For New Moms After Their C Section?
According to a gynecological study, almost all mothers feel some pain during sexual intercourse after giving birth to a baby.
So, you're not alone.
While many moms report painful sex at 6 and 18 months following childbirth (which are influenced by events during labor and birth), the odds of postpartum dyspareunia at 18 months were substantially higher in moms who delivered by C section, whether it was emergency or elective.
Factors That Cause Postpartum Dyspareunia After C Section Delivery
Listed are the most common factors linked to dyspareunia at 18 months following childbirth are:
- Prepregnancy dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse during the course of pregnancy)
- Problems with an intimate partner
- Maternal fatigue
- Postpartum distress
- Persistent low back pain
- Tightness in pelvic floor
- Poor abdominal control
Natural Dyspareunia Treatment For New Moms
Just because there’s pain during sex doesn’t entirely mean sex won’t be enjoyable in the future.
The fact is, dyspareunia can be relieved.
It’s not too late to enjoy intimacy like you used to.
So, if you’re a new mom and experience pain or discomfort during intercourse, we share some natural dyspareunia treatments.
1. Conventional Drugs (Warning)
Often, dyspareunia can be treated by applying topical estrogen directly to the vaginal area.
Ospemifene is prescribed to treat moderate to severe dyspareunia in women who have recurring problems with vaginal lubrication.
That’s great, but if you’re breastfeeding AND/OR have allergic reactions to medications, there are natural ways to relieve pain without having to deal with the complexities of a prescribed drug’s side effects.
Remember, you’ve just given birth and are still nursing your baby.
You can consult your doctor and listen to their advice. But, the consequences may cause a lingering effect on your vaginal health that can interfere with your day-to-day activities postpartum.
2. Masturbation To Revitalize Blood Flow
Painful sex caused by vaginal dryness can be alleviated through regular masturbation which brings blood flow and natural lubrication to the area.
Note - If your pain is caused by a tight pelvic floor, an orgasm could potentially cause more pain as it is a quick contraction and relaxing of the pelvic floor muscles. We recommend seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist who can identify and treat the root cause of your painful sex post c-section.
Not only does masturbation help produce the proper fluids to boost natural lubricant, but fluid production itself also helps revitalize blood flow in the uterus and the vaginal area. The more blood flow to the vaginal area, the more healing.
3. Sex Therapy
Problems in intimacy are relatively common and can happen to many couples.
There are some instances in relationships that may have left us feeling emotionally vulnerable, or worse, distant.
Sometimes painful sex after childbirth can happen due to emotional blockages. While this is less common than physical reasons, it’s worth looking into what’s making you feel dry, less sexually driven, or emotionally distant.
One of the recommended natural treatments for postpartum painful sex is the use of an all-natural personal moisturizer.
Most lubes have added chemicals that are proven harsh to the skin.
The vaginal area is sensitive, so a chemical-free moisturizer as a lubricant is what you’ll need not only to get past painful sex, it also helps moisturize the vaginal area and relieve dryness and discomfort.
Sex doesn't need to be painful. The use of natural treatment to relieve and overcome dyspareunia after C section can be done, and the kind of sex that you’ve always known and felt to be totally great is not impossible to achieve even after you’ve given birth.
5. Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
Pelvic floor physical therapy can work on c-section scar massage, rebalancing the pressure system, and learning how to relax the pelvic floor during penetration.