This Is How Long Women Should Wait After Childbirth to Have Sex Again, According to an OB-GYN

PEOPLE spoke to Wisconsin-based OB-GYN Dr. Sara Swift about intercourse after baby — and this is the "general rule" she gave as far as timelines go

sex after baby
Photo: Getty Images

Sex after baby is a big topic that has been discussed for years, even among celebrities like Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Eva Amurri Martino and Tanner Tolbert — but what are the restrictions, if any?

Following Tanner’s recent interview with Nick Viall where he talked about his sex life with wife Jade Roper Tolbert after the recent arrival of their second child, PEOPLE spoke with Dr. Sara Swift, an OB-GYN in Green Bay, Wisconsin, about how long is prudent for a woman to wait between giving birth and engaging in intercourse again.

“General rule is six weeks or until after your provider has cleared you,” Dr. Swift tells PEOPLE of the timeline she would normally recommend, saying that “applies to both cesarean [section] and vaginal [delivery].”

“Mainly because where your placenta was is a big raw spot (think big wound), which can be a great place for an infection,” she adds. “That, combined with a dilated cervix, is a perfect setup for an infection.”

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sex after baby
Newborn baby. Getty Images

“Also, with a vaginal delivery, there is some time for a laceration to heal,” explains Dr. Swift. “Postpartum sex should not be rushed! Breastfeeding also drops your estrogen, meaning a dry and non-stretchy vagina, so it’s often not super comfortable.”

During his chat with the former Bachelor on Viall’s podcast The Viall Files, Tanner, 32, said his relationship with Jade, 32, has “changed completely” since their now-2-year-old daughter Emerson “Emmy” Avery‘s arrival and the recent addition of son Brooks Easton on July 29. In summary, he wants to have sex more now while his wife “wants it less.”

“It took a dive [when Jade started nursing Emmy] and then pretty much right after the breastfeeding stopped, we got pregnant again with Brooks,” Tanner shared. “And now he’s here and we have two kids. It is tough. I feel like I’ve begged for it. And I don’t want to feel selfish — I hate asking, I hate trying, ’cause I don’t want it to be pity sex.”

That being said, he respects his wife’s priorities and they have honest conversations about it, recognizing that her focus “should be on the kids, not me.” But regardless, “I do feel on the back burner,” added the former Bachelor in Paradise contestant.

Jade Tolbert family
Couresy Jade Tolbert

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Polizzi, 31, opened up about her sex life with husband Jionni LaValle on the Women on Top podcast in July, seven weeks after giving birth to son Angelo James, the couple’s third child.

“I waited six weeks with my two older kids because I ripped. This third delivery I didn’t rip probably because I had two kids so my vagina is huge, I guess,” said the Jersey Shore: Family Vacation star.

“Actually, it doesn’t feel that bad down there. But I still want to wait just in case something happens and I do rip during sex. But after you have a baby vaginally and then have sex, it doesn’t feel right at first,” Polizzi shared.

“It feels like you are a virgin again. It just hurts. It’s uncomfortable. It starts to feel good after you get into the motions, but you need a lot of lube, let’s just put it that way,” she added.

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