Dear Dr. Kate: Painful Sex After a C-Section

photo by Ingorrr

Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City and she answers your medical questions here once a week. To ask her your own question, click here.

Dear Dr. Kate,

I had a baby a few months ago — it was via cesarean — and I’ve noticed intercourse is now uncomfortable. I thought since I ended up having a planned cesarean I’d have less sexual problems postpartum, not more! Pre-kid, I never liked having my G-spot focused on, because it felt kind of painful — and this is the sensation I’m getting with just regular intercourse now. Could it be that 10 months of carrying a fetus around pushed my G-spot down a bit so now it’s getting in the way of intercourse? Or could it all be mental and/or hormonal — since I’m breastfeeding and never in the mood for sex and my libido is shot and my natural lubrication is pretty Sarahan…?

— Just Not That Into It

Dear J.N.T.I.I.,

Discomfort during intercourse is never mental – pain is real. Breastfeeding definitely lowers your lubrication levels, so you’ll definitely want to stock up on the lube. And never getting more than a few hours of sleep in a row isn’t helping either. You’ve only got so much energy in the day, and after taking care of your little one and breastfeeding/pumping, it’s no wonder you aren’t aroused by your partner as you were before.

Knowing that most new moms go through this, though, may not make it any more fun. Good sex will take more effort than before, whether it’s getting a babysitter for a few hours and getting out to a hotel if need be to have some alone time, or letting your partner give a bottle of pumped milk at night to let you sleep more. And hang in there, things will improve eventually!

— Dr. Kate

Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City. She also lectures nationally on women’s health issues and conducts research on reproductive health. Check out more of her advice and ask her a question at Gynotalk.com.


  1. Wow I found myself on this thread to look up a question and found myself reading the entire conversation. I can’t stand when people lecture and pass judgement on other people’s personal decisions. I have a 7 week old baby (my third and final btw). When she was born my milk did not come in until around day 5 or 6 and my baby had lost over 10% of her body weight and developed jaundice. I had no choice but to supplement with formula. My first 2 babies were breast fed 1/2 the time and given formula 1/2 the time and they both are healthy and developing just fine. Having said that it was important to me to exclusively breast feed my last baby and was a disappointment to have to supplement, but it worked out just fine. Once her weight was back up I made a plan with my pediatrician to get exclusively on the breast and now I haven’t given my baby formula in 5 weeks and she takes the breast AND bottle and is not confused in the least. She does not reject the breast, she prefers it. I have known many new mothers who were so quick to give up breast feeding thinking they couldn’t do it when in fact they just needed a little help. It’s strange that something as natural as breast feeding can be so difficult but for some women it can. A lactation consultant can be beneficial for sure but if someone decides to give their baby a bottle (or pacifier) they shouldn’t be made to feel like a failure or a bad parent by know it all “professionals”.

  2. Oh great I just bored myself with another post from THE expert and just realised that she suggests attachment parenting us a cure for divorce LOL
    Do me a favour madame, go back through your posts and have a read of them and pretend that it wasn’t you that wrote them. Then just give a little more thought before you peddle your infinite wisdom.

  3. A breast feeding fanatic that would have everybody drain there wives bodies of every ounce of energy and nutrient through feeding and sleep deprivation then cater for your own selfish needs when the child leaves the nest.
    Ladies most children take a bottle and a breast. Your ability to share the load with your partner is critical for both your sanity’s. Do what is best for baby and you and don’t let over zealous midwives or lactation experts guilt you up.
    Believe it or not my son and I have bonded, and yes it was during the days I fed him with the bottle. My daughter and I share a most beautiful connectedness that also formed when she was a baby. To suggest that parents and babies can only bond during breast feeding is insulting and ridiculous.
    And guess what, the relationship between my wife and I had become the most strongest during these difficult sleep limited times because she knows she does not have to struggle guilt ridden on her own. She sleeps tonight in her own bed knowing our son will be sustained on her beautiful supply delivered from my loving embrace.
    So back to the issue… does anyone have a definitive answer on the pain following c section?

  4. Whilst I acknowledge various people’s professions, there sound skills and years of experience, it appears that there can be extremists among them.
    I am the father of a daughter who through no fault of her mother was unable to hold our daughter let alone breast feed her.
    Needless to say those extremists were quick to assert their judgments on mum. My daughter was successfully raised on…dare I say formula. She is now my delight and aged 21 years. Although not as qualified as some I can advise that she suffered no apparent developmental disorders, she was in fact in the top 80th percentile during her school years, and also bonded with body her mother and I.
    Now 21 years later, I have a son, and are also blessed with the ability to be able to see my son breast fed. I noticed that this entire thread has been ambushed by

  5. Regarding above points…
    I too am experiencing this kind of pain during sex, 8 weeks after having a caesarian. I feel very tight & sore inside. I think I will just have to keep trying for now!
    2 other points… I had to use a lactation consultant. My baby did not latch on at all to start with, possibly because she was sleepy after nearly 3 days of attempted labour & me using pethidine etc. When she did latch on, it was extremely painful and I ended up with bleeding nipples which lead to infection and a breast abscess. I did not want to give up breastfeeding & got a consultant to help teach me how to assist my baby to get a good latch. Now, we are fine.
    2) Yes it is harmful to leave your young baby to cry. It can cause damage to their frontal lobe

  6. People people people this issue here is not about breastfeeding, pumping, formula feeding etc… I had a baby via c-section 6 months ago and I am still experiencing a BURNING pain during sex… I guess I am going to have to go to the doctor because it has only seemed to get a little bit better. It does’t seem to be a lubrication issue, but it burns like hell! A million times worse than the first time I ever had sex. It is so frustrating, I try to relax, I lubricate, I’m on a POP, I keep trying waiting for it to get better but it just doesn’t! What in the world is wrong?!?!

  7. Hi….i was wondering when can you have an orgasm after a c-section?? My husband was wanting to have oral sex but i am afraid of all forms until it’s time. What to do?

  8. Fuzzy, you crack me up and mostly, I agree with you. LC’s are the reason I gave up breastfeeding my little one at 1 month. They put waaaay to much pressure on me and made me feel like an awful parent (and a sub-par woman) for not being successful. If I would have just did it my self, we (my son and I) probably would have figured it out. It really is a simple process that just takes practice.

  9. I personally feel that all mothers try the best that they can with their children and should all be congratulated. I have had four children by c-section, the oldest is 16 and the youngest is three months, I love all of them and I honestly feel that as long as they are loved and looked after they will be happy. Breast fed, bottle fed, given a sippy cup, fed, fed, fed, also just loved, loved, loved. I believe all mothers should be supporting each other because it is a difficult job.

Comments are closed.