An interesting study on painful sex after childbirth

A recent study (see reference below) asked 1507 women in Melbourne about painful sex after childbirth. It showed:

  • 85% of women who had resumed sex by 12 months post partum experienced pain during first vaginal sex after childbirth

  • By 18 months post childbirth, 98% of women had returned to vaginal intercourse, with 24% of those women reporting painful sex. 44% of sexually active women at 3 months post birth reported painful sex.

  • Women who had an caesarian section or vacuum extraction reported higher rates of dyspareunia than those who delivered vaginally without a tear that needed stitches

  • Women who tore during childbirth, did not have higher rates of painful sex at 18 months post natal than women who delivered vaginally but did not tear

  • Other risk factors for painful sex at 18 months post birth: having had painful sex before pregnancy, intimate partner abuse and maternal fatigue

  • Breastfeeding women have higher rates of painful sex than non-breastfeeding women

For tips on how to prepare for returning to sex painfree, read this.


McDonald EA, Gartland D, Small R, Brown SJ. Dyspareunia and childbirth: a prospective cohort study. BJOG2015;122:672–679.