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.