If you are reading this blog because you and/or your partner have recently lost a pregnancy – I am very sorry for your loss.
You might consider having sex with your partner again at this time. Common questions in this situation include: ‘Will this happen again?’, ‘How soon can I try?’, ‘How is my sex life impacted by the miscarriage?’ Everyone experiences baby loss differently. Whether you wish to get pregnant again right away or fear getting pregnant again, the golden rule in this situation: Take your time before having sex again after a miscarriage – as much as you need.
You are not alone if you don’t feel like having sex at all after losing a pregnancy, especially in case you are faced with medical complications. Once your body recovers and sex would technically be safe again, you might still not be in the right mental state – and that’s okay.
Here are some medical considerations before having sex after a miscarriage:
Give your body time to heal
It is recommended to wait at least 1-2 weeks to put anything inside the vagina after pregnancy loss, the reason being a high chance of developing an infection. To let the foetal tissue out, the cervix opens up – depending on how many weeks the pregnancy lasted when you/your partner miscarried, the closing process can take up to a few months. Due to the body basically cleaning itself, noticeable bleeding might be experienced for around 7-10 days after miscarrying.
According to the definition of miscarriage, the pregnancy was lost before reaching 20 weeks – whether you miscarried early or later on within this time frame, the body requires some healing time.
Should you wish to try for another pregnancy right away, you can become pregnant again approximately 2 weeks after a pregnancy loss. Your doctor/gynaecologist can confirm via a blood test whether your hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin = pregnancy hormone) levels are high enough. The first menstruation post-miscarrying can be expected after around 4-6 weeks, however, it is not necessary to wait for the first period to try for another pregnancy.
A woman might feel tenderness or pain in the vagina after a miscarriage, sexual intercourse could cause further discomfort. A generalization when one can have sex again is not possible as this depends on the unique symptoms and circumstances.
Once you have overcome any physical obstacles the miscarriage may have caused, you might still not feel ready to have sex again.
Here are some emotional considerations before having sex after a miscarriage:
My body is okay, but…
Well, that doesn’t mean you are emotionally ready. A miscarriage is a mourning process during which you might not feel like having sex.
A woman who miscarried might feel as if her body has failed or even that it is her fault that she lost her pregnancy – some time to process and come to terms with it is required.
Make sure you are both ready
Both partners need to feel ready to be physically intimate with each other again after a miscarriage – there are different ways to approach building up a sex life again such as massage. In a partnership, open communication about expectations for intimacy and worries will be helpful to become comfortable again.
Keep in mind that most cases of miscarriage are one-offs and many women have healthy pregnancies afterward – in fact, only 1 percent of women experience recurrent pregnancy loss.
Speak to a Professional
Regardless at which point in your pregnancy you/your partner miscarried and how it happened, you might wish to check in with your doctor and a qualified mental health professional – there is no shame in reaching out for support in such a difficult situation.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Franziska Richter is a transcultural counsellor with the Willingness Team, offering counselling sessions to individuals and couples. She is particularly interested in sexuality, relationship issues, trauma and general mental health.