Cheryl L., a new mom from Minneapolis, says the magic number was six weeks.
For Erin M., a first-time mom from New York, it was three months.
But Janelle S., a Tennessee mom of twins, waited five months before resuming her sex life.
Which mom is typical of when most women decide to have sexual intercourse again after giving birth? Turns out, all three, according to a new survey of 1,507 first-time mothers living in Australia that found 94 percent of new moms—in other words, almost all—resumed having sex within six months of giving birth. Is this finally good proof that our partners love those new mama curves?
Of course, some moms got busier in the bedroom long before others did. (See Tori Spelling). Among the survey's findings, 41 percent of women said they resumed sexual intercourse within six weeks after delivering their babies, 65 percent by eight weeks, 78 percent by three months, and 94 percent by six months.
What caused some moms to wait? Common reasons given cited underlying physical issues. For example, at six weeks, only 32 percent of women who'd had a forceps-assisted birth said they had resumed vaginal sex. Likewise, approximately 33 percent of women who had experienced a tear or required an incision during birth indicated they had started having sex again by the six-week mark.
But even when moms waited to have sex, it still didn't mean sexual intimacy was out of the question. In fact most moms (53 percent) said they had engaged in some sexual contact by six weeks after childbirth, even if they ended up postponing actual intercourse for much longer.
"Not to be TMI, but we were definitely having fun before my doctor gave me the all-clear for sex," says Erin M. about her wait.
Women are typically advised to hold off on sex for approximately six weeks after giving birth in order to give their bodies a chance to bounce back from the ordeal, and to line up their choice of birth control. But as researchers hope these survey results convey, just because women are told at their six-week postpartum checkups that it's okay to resume sexual relations, it doesn't mean they have to.
"This is useful information for couples to know before their baby is born, and may help reduce feelings of anxiety and guilt about not resuming sexual activity sooner," researcher Ellie McDonald, a researcher from Melbourne's Murdoch Children's Research Institute, says in a statement.
As Janelle S. remembers, "I had zero sex drive for months after having my babies... and it bothered me, but what were we going to do? Never-ending sleepless nights didn't do much to put either of us in the mood," she admits.
"I know it seems like we waited a long time to have sex again, but let me tell you, it was completely worth the wait!"