The first thing to say about painful sex after a c-section is that it isn’t unusual so don’t panic. This can be confusing for most women who think that because the baby didn’t come out through the vagina it won’t have been affected.
There are several reasons why sex can be painful after a c-section, some of them applying to any kind of childbirth. First among these are hormones, especially if you are breastfeeding. These hormones can leave the vagina dry, so plenty of lubrication is a must. In a way it’s the body saying, hey we just had a baby, it’s not a good time to make another one!
Something else in addition to lubricant that can help with this dryness is estrogen cream which can be prescribed by your doctor. There are also a variety of prescription options to help with the lubrication side of things.
For c-section moms another significant reason for pain is because your muscles and ligaments were pulled and stretched during your C-Section delivery to allow them to get your baby out. Not to mention that of course everything is connected down there and your uterus is attached to your cervix which is attached to your vaginal canal. This can mean that movement in the vaginal canal can ‘pull’ on the uterus
This stretching and pulling can mean you will continue to feel sore in your lower vaginal area until fully healed. Because of this sex can be painful until your body is strong again. Your body has been changing for the 9 months leading up to birth and some say it can take 9 months before it fully returns to it’s pre pregnancy state.
Positioning while making love can also be a factor. Many women find being on top and having more control over the speed and depth of penetration is very helpful. Obviously the missionary position is out for several months because of the c-section scar.
So far the issues we have covered regarding painful sex after a c-section have been normal and will eventually pass. There can however be reasons for the pain that need treatment of one type or another. Simplest of these is some form of post c-section infection, which once diagnosed is easy to treat.
More difficult to both diagnose and treat are adhesions. Adhesions are fibrous bands that form between tissues and organs. They are basically a form of internal scar tissue and can cause serious problems. After a c-section adhesions can form on the uterus and can tighten and pull the in the body. If after a few months after your c-section sex is still painful and it’s not an obvious lubrication issue (especially if no longer breastfeeding) then it is advisable to see your doctor, and if you aren’t satisfied with what they say, get another opinion.
So the main take away from all this is painful sex after a c-section is normal so take it slow. That means slow and gentle with as much foreplay as your time and energy allows. Use lubrication and plenty of it. And above all, communicate with your partner. Even though the pain will be challenging in the short term, there’s no reason you can’t deepen the intimacy with your partner. The best thing to do is listen to your body, do what feels comfortable for you, communicate that with him, and don’t rush things.
One final word, is to remember that everyone’s body is different. Each woman will heal in her own time and be ready for sex again in her own time. Only you will know what that time is for you.