Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Is the “six weeks of no sex rule” after having a baby merely folk wisdom dating back hundreds of years?

by Tarzan · 38 comments

sex after having a babyYes, we’ve come full circle here.  It seems like years ago when Jane was 16 weeks pregnant and I was writing about her crazy hormones and lack of sex.  Back then, I never thought too much about what life would be like after Monkey was born as far as sex was concerned.

I mean, what’s the deal? The last time we were at Jane’s doctor’s office we asked what are some things we can do to induce labor naturally at home and she told us to have lots of sex.  I don’t know about you, but any doctor telling Jane and I to have lots of sex just secured me as a patient for life!  LOL

Maybe I was all caught up in the craziness and excitement of the next chapter in our lives.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been in such a fog lately due to the lack of sleep.  Or maybe somehow the first part of parenthood somehow switches off your sex drive for awhile.  Whatever it was, it’s gone away and I can’t wait for that damn 6-week post pregnancy follow-up appointment so we can finally get the “OK” from Jane’s doctor.

I’m telling you, the second she walks out of the room, I’m going to put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door, lock it, and… well, maybe the doctor’s office isn’t the best place.  Maybe we can wait until we get to the parking lot.  :)

So yeah, it hit me today.  I really miss Jane.  Heck, we haven’t slept in the same bed because of the shifts we’re on so we can both get a decent amount of sleep.  She just did a lot of really nice things for me today as a nice thank you for being such a great Daddy and husband.  So what did Jane do for me?  Well…

mommy makes breakfast1. Mommy Jane made me breakfast: Pancakes with blueberries, scrambled eggs, some strawberries, a bowl of cut up pineapple, coffee, and orange juice.  I was in heaven!  I was so full from her GREAT, GREAT surprise breakfast that I just had a banana for lunch.

2. My neck hurt a lot for some reason today and she rubbed my neck and back for a good 20 minutes.

3. Mommy Jane gave me a really nice and sweet card.  (Two of them actually!  One from her and one from Monkey and our dog saying thank you to me as well.)  Note: I was a little concerned when I saw that our son writes bubbly like a girl, but I’m sure he’ll grow out of it.  He’s merely three weeks old, so I’m sure he will.  Our dog on the other hand has some really messy hand paw writing!

4. And she cooked a nice dinner for me – complete with a nice glass of a red wine I really like!

Whew!  I love you Mommy Jane!  Thank you so much!

What great ways to show your husband how much you love and appreciate him.  :)  I had a great day today – thank you beautiful!

So let’s talk about our dinner.  It’s been awhile since I had wine and maybe it was the wine that did it, but man… Jane just drove me wild tonight.  We both wished this horrible six weeks of no sex rule after your pregnant was somehow lifted for us.  Like we were given a pardon or something and the curse was lifted.  Jane was even up for it, but we both didn’t dare because of the risks of having sex after having a baby.

Risks?  More on that in a moment.  Now I don’t know if this is some terrible hoax, a secret government conspiracy to help keep the world’s population down, or if there is something to it.  But there are risks they say.  Believe me, I didn’t know anything about all of this before.  And just in case you’re a guy learning about this crazy rule that pretty much puts a chastity belt on your wife, here’s some info about the “no sex rule” after pregnancy:

no sex after having a baby1. Sex After Giving Birth: This page has some great info on what you can and cannot do.

2. BabyCenter: Let’s Talk About Sex: Let’s talk about you and me… la la la… (remember that song!?)  I was excited when I saw four weeks mentioned there, but then I saw the part about stitches.  Urrgghh.  Jane got stitches, so six weeks it is. err.

3. BabyCenter UUurrrrggghhhhh:  Why oh why did I read some of those comments?  Some of the woman commenting said that they had sex with their husband two weeks after having their baby.

4. Mayo Clinic: Answers to the most common questions about postpartum sex.

5. So you REALLY have to wait?: This is my favorite article about having sex after a baby.  Why?  They refer the six-week waiting period to “folk wisdom” and that woman should be given the freedom to choose!  NICE.

OK, before I get a lot of heat from everyone, I do understand the purpose of the no sex rule.  It’s to help a woman heal and ensure the risk of infection is kept at a minimum.  I understand that.  But why don’t doctors schedule the follow-up appointment for five weeks?  Or four?  I’m going to go with article # 5 listed above and their folk wisdom (the link goes to an interesting article on folk wisdom from Psychology Today).  Sadly, they didn’t cover the big question, “how long do you have to wait to have sex after you have a baby?”

folk wisdomSo where does all of this leave me?  Well, not one inch further than I was before.  Mommy Jane and I will of course be waiting until we get the OK from her doctor.  We have what… three move long weeks ahead of us…urrgh.

Now what about you?

How long did you wait?  Did you hold off until after your six week appointment?  Did you break the no sex rule and *secretly* go against doctor’s orders?  Did you wait even longer?

We’ve all heard stories of people going to their doctor on their six week appointment and finding out they are pregnant again.  Any of you guilty of that charge?  :)

You might also want to read:

  1. 11 weeks pregnant: we heard the heartbeat for the first time!
  2. 15 week doctor appointment: Baby and Uterus doing great!
  3. 38 weeks pregnant: OB pregnancy appointment, date night, & my labor dream
  4. The real cost of having a baby with no Maternity Insurance, no Medicaid, and no help.
  5. 32 weeks pregnant: OB pregnancy appointment

Facebook comments:

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michelle

I don’t think we waited for the 6 week rule with any of my 3. The lochia only lasted about 3 weeks or so and I never had any tears or stitches. Plus there’s other stuff to do as others have said. With 3rd baby we waited just 3 weeks. Not like we went all night or got crazy.
I may have missed something but I am not understanding all the shifts. I found out how noisy babies are so I ended up sleeping in another room since my baby liked to nurse all night long. I remember nursing on left then right then left. But mine cried all the time and it kept him quiet. I could sleep too on my side at same time. I recall the pump was way more vicious on my nipples. At around 4 weeks I would nurse on one and pump on other at same time, or pump after he was done. The rich milk is at the end of pumping session. I kept my little bags of pumped milk in freezer and husband used them for when I wasn’t around after about 5 weeks. Shopping for 30 mins in grocery store was fantastic.

2 Jessica C.

My fiance and I held out for 4 weeks when we had our son… we barely it to that point!

3 Korie

With Braeden, my firstborn, I vaginally delivered and waited for the 6 weeks…but around 2 weeks, I had a postpartum infection so that influenced why I waited so long. With Ashlyn, my most recent delivery, I waited a whooping 10 days! But I had a c-section and healed very quickly!

With both of my first postpartum sexual experiences, it was slightly uncomfortable….but by taking it slow and using lots of KY, it can be enjoyable. Girl on top is a good option at first so that Jane can be in control of the situation.

I also must agree with a previous poster that the BC pills aren’t necessarily the best option for breastfeeding moms. I have heard many women say that even the mini pill gave them a decrease in their milk supply….and they aren’t as effective and need to be taken religiously at the same time every day. After getting pregnant with Ashlyn when Braeden was only 5 months old, I did lots of research on effective birth control while breastfeeding. I ended up deciding to get an IUD (Mirena), which is well over 99% effective and lasts for up to 5 years. I was a little freaked out with getting an IUD at first, but I am so glad I decided to get it. It has had no influence on my milk supply, and the only side effect was a week of spotting after insertion.

4 Sara

I have 3 kids. With the first, we waited a little longer than 6 weeks. With the second (who is 1 year younger) we waited like 5 days… i was ready- i hadn’t really had sex since my second trimester. of course that was a bad idea because what happened at my six week appt? I AM PREGNANT! oh crap! well it all turned out for the best because now little Liam is a part of our family.. but i would highly suggest waiting till you feel ready and even then use precautions!

5 kelly

Well with our first it was about not quite six weeks. We had our 6 week appointment scheduled about 5 weeks. As soon as we were given the okay we were ready to go. Unforutunately this time I think it may be longer than six weeks. I’m a little over two weeks and not healing very well. They say six weeks but I think it’s a matter of how your body is healing. Ha ha also the “waiting it out more” has a lot to do with it. 2 is plenty. I told my hubby I would get mt tubes tied and he said he would. He said I’d been through enough. So I’m going to see if there is something other than bc pills that are more effective (my son was a bc pill baby). If another form doesn’t work, I don’t care I’m going to tie them. Wonder how an IUD effects milk supply. Anyway, we are so ready for the 6 weeks to be over.

6 Jen

You may want to reconsider the birth control pills if you are breastfeeding. You really can’t use the “normal” BCPs while nursing otherwise they could cause your milk supply to go down. Some people take the mini-BCP but they are far less effective (so what’s the point?) and you have to take them at the *exact* same time every day. There is no flexibility at all with them, which is really hard to do with a newborn. So I’d have a backup birth control plan! Here’s a link with more information:
http://kellymom.com/health/meds/birthcontrol.html

7 Anne

@Jessica – there are two different Annes on here ! I am the first one, my kids are 13 months apart, my post natal appt was 6 weeks out, I got pregnant again when my baby was 12 weeks…so not the first appointment, but sooner than expected ! (and I don’t recommend it unless you have lots of help)

8 Jessica

@Anne: lol does that mean after your first you went to you appointment and found out you were pregnant again? Or I read that wrong…

9 Gilz

I couldn’t wait the full six weeks. I gave in at week 2 with megan (I have three stitches that dissolved within a few days) and 10 days after Kaylin was born (no stitches). But I insisted on a raincoat. Just take things very slow.

10 Anne

After my 1st was born (over 10 years ago) I waited 5 weeks. A year later when I had the 2nd one, I waited 4 weeks. Then, last year when my youngest was born the hubby and I waited 3 weeks and 6 days. For me, I just felt ready!

11 Tarzan

@everyone – thanks for the comments and info!

@Jane – make out, huh? Hmmmm…. Too bad you just went to bed. :(

@Tatiana – Yeah, it’s GREAT to see Jane’s sex drive coming back, that is a good sign of good things to come. ;) I agree about the trying, but Jane is all about waiting until after the appointment. Grrrrr… That’s OK. I made it through the first few months of pregnancy, I’ll get through the next couple of week…. I hope. LOL

12 Tatiana

I think that if Jane feels ready, you should try. It’s not like she can’t say “You know what, this isn’t comfortable for me, I’m not ready yet.” I know several women who have had sex before that 6 week appointment — whatever works :)

Although I must admit to some jealousy that she has some sex drive back already! I still can’t find my groove, but I’m getting there. Slowly :P

13 Jane

Ella Jane – Thanks for asking how I’m feeling about this whole thing… Surprisingly I’m ready to go! ;) I will not be partaking in the, uh, penetration part of things until I get the clearance from my OB. My appointment is on the 28th, which will actually be 5 weeks and 1 day from the day I delivered.

I like the thought of just doing it when my body is ready and I do feel ready, even as tired as I am. The only things that are stopping me:
1. I was told not to & I’m guessing she speaks from experience or something…
2. I have a couple of stitches and want to make sure those are gone and healed…
3. I want to make sure that the area as a whole has healed from the “trauma” of my son. LOL
4. I’m scared to death to get pregnant, so I want to wait it out a bit more

And I’ve told Tarzan that after I get back on BC pills, I can assure him that I will never again forget a pill! And he’s been told that he will wear a condom until the pills have been taken for a few days. There’s no chancing it!

I could not imagine getting the news that I was pregnant at that appointment. I would probably have a heart attack. On. The. Spot.

Anyways, if it weren’t for those few things, I would jump on my husband instead of answering you back. But until I get “clearance”, I’m all for asking like high schoolers and making out!

14 devaskyla

Most midwives say whenever the woman feels up to it. I know one woman who felt up to it before she even left the hospital. There are some risks, but mostly it’s a whether the woman will find it painful or not. I hate the six week rule because some women are ready earlier, but many aren’t ready until later. Much later. I know some, including me after a horrific cesarean experience with my first, who aren’t ready until 6 *months* or more. I think the “whenever you feel up to it” idea is far more useful, whether that’s 6 hours or 6 months.

15 momof3girls

Everyone’s body is different but if you two were awake enough to be into it then I hope you did something. Really don’t miss that chance again! I am not a crazy sex hungry person but I believe in the power of an intimate relationship in helping you stay close and bonded, especially with the lack of sleep and stress you’re under. Like some of the other people said above mess around and take it slow. I waited 7 days with the first one (I was 18) and 11 days with the second one (I was 21) and 2 months with the third one (I wasn’t that into him anymore).
Good luck…..no go fool around before Monkey wakes up.

16 Anne

We waited 4 weeks the first time and it wasn’t pleasant for me, after 8 weeks was much better. Then we got pregnant again, our 1st and 2nd children are 13 months apart… After the second child I don’t really remember as I was a stay at home mom with a newborn and a 13 month old and no help…and no sleep ! This time around I think we will wait 8 weeks for the while shebang…

17 Jessica

I dont know what my doc says yet (Due 9/18) but even now he only gets it once or twice a month lol. My friends kid just turned one year old and her and the DH havent had sex since BEFORE he was born!

18 Katelyn Segnere

My doctors said it was between four and six weeks to wait. My appointment was 4.5 weeks after birth at which point I had an IUD inserted and my doctor gave me the okay for sex!

19 EllaJane

Just wondering… how does Jane feel about all of this?

20 AngelMommy

It’s mostly how mom feels. Stitches make it a bit harder and I have to admit I’m not sure what the rules are there. In a no-stich circumstance it’s no so much the healing the doc worries about but that fact that right after you have a baby, mom is very fertile and thats why a lot of women turn up pregnant at their 6 week pp. You will normally be given your options for birth control at the pp visit. At my office we recommend 6 weeks but it’s not normally a rule. We tell mom that when she feels ready and to be aware that the first time will possibly be painful or uncomfortable and sex certainly wont be the same as it was before the baby.
I can’t say for sure about the stitches, but I would guess it would depend ton where they are. 6 weeks is nothing though. When I had my cryosurgery and LEEP procedure I wasn’t allowed to have sex until I stopped shedding tissue (gross I know) and then 3 weeks after that. So for the cryo that was 8 weeks and the LEEP 12 weeks. After the LEEP I was not interested in sex for a very long time, I hurt for quite a while. I think I ended up waiting almost 7 months,.

21 Sarah Asp

I say trust your own body. If you heal quickly as I did then it’s between you and you. I ‘m for the 6 weeks since I’m usually so tired and not especially horny when I have another human sucking on me all day long but if you feel like it then by all means do it. People who find that they’re pregnant at 6 weeks postpartum must have known and subconsciously made a choice. I think in America there’s no excuse for not knowing what may result from unprotected sex. I’ve seen doctors smoking before. I wonder if they all follow their own advice to the letter. Probably not.

22 Megan

With my first son, we waited the full six weeks. This time around, we waited about three weeks.

23 TheAngelForever

We waited until after my 6 weeks appointment to go all the way. With that said, there’s nothing saying that you can not do ahem . . . other things to pleasure each other. Personally I hurt bad from the episiotomy and stitches healing. Things were not happy after for many months to come . Nursing can make a woman very dry – so that along with scars did not mix well. It took quite a while for me to feel 100%. Thank goodness that was not the case after my second birth. I healed a lot quicker and things were not really painful. Still having a newborn and being so tired did not help my sex drive.

I know several people that conceived another child well before the 6 weeks. Heck one is only 10 months and 2 weeks younger than the older sibling. YIKES!

24 Jen LF

Just remember that it may take a while for things to get back to normal. We waited more than 6 weeks with both kids, and with both kids, it was awful awful awful for me for several months.

On the other hand, if it doesn’t get better after a few times, Jane, go see your doctor. I had delivery-related problems that led to painful sex after both pregnancies, but thought that it was just how it was supposed to feel. When it hadn’t gotten any better after half a dozen tries, I saw my midwife. She got me fixed up quick! I only wish I hadn’t waited so long for it to get better!

25 Kari

My youngest is 5, but we waited. DH is (was) really fertile before his vasectomy. But his cousin didn’t wait & when she went for her 6 week check up she found out she was pregnant again. Twins this time.

26 bessie.viola

I had a c-section, so… my risk of infection was mostly a bit higher, and the bleeding (lochia) was enough to put me off from actual sex. However… I’m going to second Shari and say that we went through with the “everything but penetration” part for the majority of that six weeks. I think the first time was about a week in? It was like being a teenager again! HA.

Also, my husband got a lot of… um, this is a family blog, so I’ll just say *personal attention* from me during this time. I totally agree with the book “Babyproofing Your Marriage” on the point that bj’s are completely underestimated by women. They call them the “Five Minute Fix” and I absolutely agree. I still use this a lot to this day. When daddy’s happy, so am I. :)

http://www.babyproofingyourmarriage.com/blog/?p=5

27 Lori @ I Can Grow People

It’s been 18 weeks since I gave birth and I still have no interest—soooo from being back to work full-time and taking care of our little guy. My husband and I are still very close and he is really understanding about the whole thing. I think we last had sex before I hit my third trimester!!!

28 Shari

I admit the first two we waited the 6 weeks. This 3rd child we played and had fun without the entire intercourse with penetration part. Still had fun, and relieved some stress. When I saw the doctor at 6 weeks he asked me if we had had sex and I said no and he laughed. I asked why and he said most don’t wait like he asks and thought it was unusual I did. Not going into details, but you still can have everything but the penetration part if you can’t wait.

29 Twisted Cinderella

We didn’t wait for six weeks after each pg. We waited until I was feeling up to it.

30 Beth

Oh wow, you did a whole lot more research than we did! I always thought, they SAY 6 weeks, we’ll do what we feel like. But my midwife was so serious about the 6 week thing and shuddered when she mentioned others who had gone earlier. Since Iknew that she knew what had gone on down there a whole lot better than even I had, we trusted her and waited until exactly 6 weeks! We saw her a few days later. She asked how it had gone, and I admitted that it was a lot more sore and uncomfortable than I had expected

, and she said that probably the second or third time would feel a lot better and improve from there (as long as we gave it a few days break in between). They have. While we waited for six weeks, we did some of the things from your link #2 (after all our baby was born a week before Valentine’s day). I had almost forgot about that, so there was some repreive for DH and helped us regain some of the coupleness.

Ahem. I am totally writing under an alias today! As for the pregnancy thing. I’ve had a few scares, especially with being irregular due to breastfeeding, but no pregnancy, thankfully. I miss the free and easy days of pregnancy, but we are hoping for at least a two year separation between kids and feel that it would be hard on everyone to not be careful until a better time.

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