How does breastfeeding affect sex?

It is safe for mothers to resume intercourse after childbirth once they are medically cleared. There can be challenges with intercourse, but most are temporary. After delivery, mothers may find that intercourse produces pain, anxiety, or fear. Breastfeeding mothers may have vaginal dryness. They may feel tired and overwhelmed by the demands of caring for a baby. Good communication with their partners is important.

A) Resuming sex

Mothers may start having sex again once they are medically cleared. To resume this important part of a relationship, both the mother and her partner need to agree. It is important to have good communication through respectful discussion, as there can be challenges with intercourse. Most are temporary.

Intercourse can result in pain, anxiety, and even fear, especially after a difficult delivery and associated complications.

Contraception should also be discussed. 

If you need more information or are having pain or other difficulty, please see your health-care provider (Woolhouse 2014).

B) How breastfeeding affects sex

While breastfeeding does not prevent sexual intimacy, breastfeeding mothers may have vaginal dryness until their periods begin again. This can be managed with lubricating gels or prescription creams containing estrogen.

Mothers’ breasts may leak with physical stimulation or sexual arousal.

Under specific conditions, breastfeeding can prevent pregnancy. 


Woolhouse H, McDonald E, Brown SJ. Changes to sexual and intimate relationships in the postnatal period: women's experiences with health professionals. Aust J Prim Health. 2014;20(3):298-304