Sex and contraception

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Having sex after birth

You can start having sex again whenever you feel ready after your baby is born. Most women feel sore and tired for a while after giving birth, this is normal and you should not feel pressure to do anything you are not up to. Most couples will start having sex again by 3 months.

Women who have small tears will need 2 weeks to heal, those who have had a cut or larger tear will need at least 4 weeks, do not have sex if you feel you are still healing.

It is good to have some lubricant when you start having sexagain as there can be changes in your vagina. Be gentle when having sex for the first time, if sex is painful speak to your GP. It is good to talk to your partner about your feelings about having sex again and any pain you have.

Remember you can fall pregnant again as soon as 3 weeks after birth, if you have not started contraception then condoms should be used until you can see a doctor or sexual health clinic.

Contraception after giving birth

You can become pregnant again at 3 weeks after your baby is born. Most contraception can start as soon as your baby is born and breastfeeding is safe with this. It is good to have condoms to use when you start having sex again if you have not started contraception.

If you start the implant, injection or mini-pill before your baby is 3 weeks old then it will protect you without needing to use condoms. Coils can be put in at c-section or within 2 days of giving birth, after this they can be put in when your baby is 4 weeks or older. The combined pill, patch andring can be started 3-6 weeks after birth. Permanent contraception such as vasectomy or sterilisation need to be discussed with your GP and can take as long as 6 months to organise.

If you forget to use contraception and your baby is older than 3 weeks then you can use the morning after pill from the pharmacy or the copper coil from sexual health.

Breastfeeding is only a contraception if your baby is younger than 6 months and you are not using a bottle or dummy, if your periods have come back then it will not work as contraception.

It is healthy to leave 1 year between birth and your next pregnancy to reduce the risk of the next baby being small or coming early.

People who can talk to you about contraception include; midwife,health visitor, GP and sexual health clinic

To find out more about contraception after birth, click here.

Survey

We are looking to find out your opinions on using contraception after you give birth. To provide you with an opportunity to tell us how you would want to get contraception and what type you would be most likely to use, please complete this survey.

The results of this survey will be shared with the Public Health teams in Southampton, Portsmouth and Hampshire to allow them to make changes that will help women to get the contraception they want after giving birth.

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