Sexual intercourse

Why New Mothers Must Abstain From Sexual Intercourse For About Six Weeks

A Gynaecologist has said that new mothers should abstain from sex six weeks after birth. This is to protect them from uterine infections.

Dr Kemi Windapo, a Gynaecologist at the Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Meta raised this concern.

According to Dr Windapo, after childbirth, new mothers must abstain from sexual intercourse for the following reasons:

  • Postpartum discharge.
  • Vaginal tears.
  • Fatigue
  • Vaginal dryness.
  • Pain during intercourse.
  • Low sexual desire.

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“If you had a vaginal tear that required surgical repair, you might need to wait longer,” Windapo said.

 She especially cautioned women that had episiotomy to wait after six weeks to protect them from uterine infection.

Dr Windapo said that new mothers need this period to recover from the stress of pregnancy and labour.

Speaking in an interview with PUNCH HealthWise, she said a woman must be physically and mentally ready for sex.

Her words: “We usually say six weeks, but what we advise is that sex should be initiated when a new mother is physically and mentally ready.

“Some women can heal faster than others, and there’s no hard and fast rule about it. If a woman has healed and she is ready by six weeks, then she can have sex.”

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She said a major turn off for women from having sex is childbirth pain. The gynaecologist said this pain puts the fear of getting intimate with their partner.

Dr Windapo said the six weeks is important for some women who have had an episiotomy. By the end of the sixth week, they would have healed and relieved.

She said, “The danger in having sex before six weeks after childbirth is the accompanying pain and breakdown, which signals the onset of infection if the episiotomy site is not properly healed.

“If it happens, that means the woman will be in and out of the hospital for a longer duration. And that means she will have to take medications for longer than usual.

“As long as the woman is pain-free and the episiotomy area is completely healed, she can go ahead with sex,” she added.

According to an article obtained from Mayo Clinic, there is no required waiting period. A woman can have sex immediately after child delivery.

However, several healthcare providers have recommended waiting for four to six weeks. This is regardless of the delivery method.

The providers claim that the risk of postpartum complication after delivery is highest during the first two weeks. They also said that waiting will give the body time to heal.

“In addition to postpartum discharge and vaginal tears, you might experience fatigue, vaginal dryness, pain and low sexual desire. If you had a vaginal tear that required surgical repair, you might need to wait longer,” the article stated.

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The article further revealed that a woman’s pelvic floor muscles can be stretched by the following;

  1. Pregnancy.
  2. Labour
  3. Vaginal delivery.

These can affect the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum.

New mothers are, therefore, advised to carry out Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

“To do Kegels, imagine you are sitting on a marble and tighten your pelvic muscles as if you’re lifting the marble. Try it for three seconds at a time, and then relax for a count of three. Work up to doing the exercise 10 to 15 times in a row, at least three times a day,” Mayo Clinic advised.

Source: PUNCH HealthWise

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