Pregnancy loss impacts women and their partners in different ways. One common response is a reduction in sexual desire, and it is important to know that this is normal. Individuals and couples who have experienced a miscarriage often report feelings of hesitancy towards resuming sexual activity, due to both physical and emotional reasons. What is most important is that individuals take care of themselves in the wake of a miscarriage, and that they keep the lines of communication open between themselves and their partners.
What factors influence when someone can start having sex again?
Sex after miscarriage is a very personal and individualized situation. That being said, there are some physical and mental factors that most women will want to take into consideration after experiencing any kind of pregnancy loss.
- Physical factors: After a pregnancy loss, women are generally advised to maintain ‘pelvic rest,’ including no tampon use or sexual activity, for two weeks after miscarriage. This is partially due to the fact that the cervix and uterus are more dilated in the weeks following a miscarriage, which makes infection more likely. A pelvic exam from a provider is the best way to know for sure that a woman is medically ready to have sex again. Sexual activity can typically be resumed after this time. However, a healthcare provider may give different recommendations about when it’s safe to resume sexual activity based on their assessment and the woman’s miscarriage experience.
- Emotional factors: Many people don’t feel quite ready to start having sex again for some time after a miscarriage. It’s important to understand that this is normal for a lot of people who go through the same experience. Open, honest conversation between partners should be encouraged in order to remain connected and work through these feelings.
Your healthcare provider is a valuable resource in order to determine when it is safe to resume sexual activity, as well as attempting pregnancy if that is something you want. Your provider will base their recommendation on multiple factors including the type of pregnancy loss, the gestational age at the time of loss, and the patient’s personal experience.
When does the menstrual cycle return?
Women may ovulate as soon as two weeks after a miscarriage, but it is also normal for resumption of ovulation to take longer. Healthcare providers usually recommend that women wait at least one menstrual cycle before trying to conceive again, and that women not try to conceive until they’re emotionally healed. These recommendations may be different for women who have had more than one miscarriage. As always, it’s a good idea to ask your healthcare provider for his or her opinion about when it’s safe to start trying again, and in the meantime add a safe method of protection until you’re cleared.
It’s normal to experience a shift in mood, or strain in a relationship after a miscarriage. While short- and medium-term grief and sadness are expected, any woman experiencing grief and depression lasting for months that impacts one’s ability to perform daily activities could greatly benefit from seeking the help of a specialist. This could be a therapist, psychiatrist, support groups, or a combination of these; the most important thing is that women feel comfortable talking to their healthcare provider or providers about any concerns they may have. Sexual activity after a pregnancy loss might be emotionally or physically difficult at first, but as long as both partners are respectful of one another and where they are in the healing process, things will get easier over time.
- “When can I resume sex after a miscarriage or pregnancy loss?” UTMBHealth. The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, 2016. Web.
- “How soon can couples have sex again after a miscarriage?” ISSM. International Society for Sexual Medicine, 2016. Web.
- “Getting pregnant: when is the best time to get pregnant after a miscarriage?” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, May 17 2016. Web.