The range of emotions that follow a miscarriage can take a toll on couples. After a devastating loss, you might seek a connection with your partner, but being intimate again can also be a challenge — physically and emotionally. Because of this, knowing how long to wait to have sex after a miscarriage can be tricky.
How Long Is The Recovery For A Miscarriage?
Experts say that the typical recovery time after a miscarriage is about two weeks, but note that every person’s body heals differently. The timing of a miscarriage — how far along you are when it happens — can also impact how long recovery takes.
“You should avoid putting anything into the vagina, including tampons and douching, as well as penetrative intercourse, until your bleeding has stopped — which usually indicates the cervix has closed,” board-certified OB-GYN, Benjamin DiJoseph, D.O., tells Romper. “This will help to prevent an infection in the uterus, and usually occurs within two weeks.”
Dr. Kim Langdon, an obstetrician with Medzino, says that “no bleeding, pain, or abnormal discharge means you are OK to have sex again,” and that “two weeks is probably adequate” for a person to recover from a miscarriage before having sex. However, she also adds a disclaimer of “or, whenever you feel comfortable” for women whose bodies and minds might need more healing time.
Is The Timeline Different For A D&C?
With some miscarriages, physicians need to perform a surgical procedure called a dilation and curettage (D&C) to remove tissue to clear the uterine lining.
“If you’ve had a D&C, you should still wait the recommended two weeks to have sex again,” DiJoseph tells Romper. “Because a D&C completely empties your uterus, you may bleed for less time than if you had a complete miscarriage. However, you should still wait the recommended two weeks to have sex. Depending on the specifics of your situation, your healthcare provider may recommend additional time for healing if needed.”
While experts agree that waiting the recommended two weeks before having sex after a D&C is ideal, some women may want to wait longer.
“Recovering from a D&C can be painful and the risk of infection is higher during acute recovery,” birthing educator, doula, and author Sara Lyon says. “It’s important to monitor your abdomen for pain, your bleeding for changes in color and volume, and your cervix for pain.”
After a D&C, Lyon explains that you may experience some tenderness or soreness, so waiting for that to subside is also recommended before jumping back into penetrative sex. “If you’re still sore, wait until you’re feeling totally healed before having intercourse again,” she says. “There are so many ways to be sensual, to be nurtured, and to be sexual that don’t involve penetration — this would be a great time to lean into foreplay and the main course.”
When Can You Start Using Birth Control Again?
After a miscarriage, some couples want to wait before trying to conceive (TTC) again. Your doctor may also advise waiting, but again, every person’s experience will be different. If you want to have sex, but aren’t ready to get pregnant again, DiJospeh says, “You can start to take hormonal contraceptives or birth control pills directly after a miscarriage.”
As Romper previously reported, ovulation isn’t usually impacted by miscarriage, so your cycle will likely pick right back up afterward and birth control would be necessary to prevent pregnancy.
Langdon tells Romper that while you can start taking hormonal contraception immediately after a miscarriage occurs, she recommends that “if you wait more than 5 days” to take your pill, you should “use a backup method if you are going to have sex.”
How Do You Know When You’re Emotionally Ready For Sex Again?
In addition to waiting the requisite two weeks (or more) for your body to heal and recover, DiJoseph tells Romper, “You should also make sure you are emotionally ready, as you may need to grieve your loss before you can be intimate and have sexual intercourse.”
Even when your body is ready, your emotions may not be, so it’s a good idea to check in with yourself and your partner before having sex again.
“This is just as much an emotional issue as a physical one, and our emotions are largely governed by our hormones in this case,” Lyon explains. “If someone is grieving a pregnancy, that can lead to an increase in libido or it can lead to decreased libido — it’s unique to each person and situation.”
Each person’s situation will be different, but experts agree that being both physically and mentally ready to have sex after a miscarriage is key.
“Likewise, there are some scenarios in which women are motivated to have sex on the basis of wanting to confirm their sexuality and vigor,” Lyon says. “I’ve seen grief pull people closer together and I’ve also seen women reject their partners for some time because they need to be more internal, spending time healing and being nurtured rather than physical and interactive.”
Dr. Kim Langdon, OBGYN with Medzino
Sara Lyon, birthing expert, doula, author of The Birth Deck and You’ve Got This: Your Guide to Getting Comfortable with Labor