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Sex and Contraception

The thought of having sex post partum can be nerve wracking for many women. It is a good idea to wait at least six weeks before having penetrative sex with your partner to give your body time to heal. After six weeks many people are still not ready to have sex, and it is important to wait until you are feeling comfortable.

Worries you might have post partum about sex:

Will it hurt?

Will it feel the same for my partner?

When will we find the time?

How can it be fun if I'm so exhausted from taking care of a newborn?

Will my partner like my post partum body?

It is important to remember that your body post partum looks exactly how it is supposed to look. For many women they are surprised to come home from the hospital still looking very pregnant! Your body has changed to grow a baby and it will never look exactly the same as it did before having a baby. It will continue to change during the first few years post partum to look more and more like your non-pregnant self. Practicing kindness towards yourself and build self confidence by having realistic goals for your body and working towards health, not a number on the scale.

Sex post partum requires a lot of patience, gentleness, and lubricant. Everyone should consider using lubricant post partum to reduce pain from penetration, especially if you are breastfeeding. Remember that sex is not just penetration, consider lots of "foreplay" and other forms of sex that might be less daunting, such as oral and manual stimulation. If sex is painful, a pelvic floor physiotherapist might be your best resource on how to improve your sex life.


At your 6 week postpartum checkup, discuss contraception options with your physician. If you are breastfeeding you might wish to use the Lactational Amenorrhea Method, and may want to discuss adding an additional method such as condoms, hormonal contraception "the pill" or an IUD.

What Is the Lactational Amenorrhea Method?

A temporary family planning method based on the natural effect of breastfeeding on fertility. ("Lactational" means related to breastfeeding. "Amenorrhea" means not having monthly bleeding.) The lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) requires 3 conditions. All 3 must be met:

1. The mother's monthly bleeding has not returned

2. The baby is fully or nearly fully breastfed and is fed often, day and night ( at least every 4 hours during the day and at least every 6 hours overnight)

3. The baby is less than 6 months old

· "Fully breastfeeding" includes both exclusive breastfeeding (the infant receives no other liquid or food, not even water, in addition to breast milk) and almost-exclusive breastfeeding (the infant receives vitamins, water, juice, or other nutrients once in a while in addition to breast milk).

· "Nearly fully breastfeeding" means that the infant receives some liquid or food in addition to breast milk, but the majority of feedings (more than three-fourths of all feeds) are breast milk.

· Works primarily by preventing the release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation). Frequent breastfeeding temporarily prevents the release of the natural hormones that cause ovulation.

(Sourced from World Health Organization Baby Friendly Initiative)

If you are breastfeeding, you may want to avoid birth control pills with estrogen (which is in all oral contraceptives except for micronor/ the mini pill/ progesterone-only pill) as estrogen can decrease your milk supply. You must take Micronor at the same time every day (within the hour), otherwise it is ineffective.

Many people also choose to have an IUD inserted by their healthcare provider. This is one of the most effective forms of birth control and will last for 3-5 years depending on your device. More information can be found here: intrauterine devices (IUDs)

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