Are You More Fertile After Having a Baby?

25th April 2022

No matter how long you’ve been trying to fall pregnant when you finally have your baby, nothing will ever beat that feeling. It can be incredibly tempting to chase that feeling, and you may want to get pregnant again fairly quickly. 

The hormone oxytocin, which is produced during childbirth, has even been linked with studies that suggest mothers forget the pain of childbirth, making them more likely to want to fall pregnant again. But, are you more fertile after having a baby? Is the process of conception, pregnancy, and childbirth more likely to make it easier for you to fall pregnant again? In this article, we will provide you with the answer to this very question, as well as others you may be wondering such as how your body changes following childbirth, and whether or not you need contraception after giving birth.

What happens to the body after giving birth?

So what actually happens to your body after birthing a child? Obviously, the physical effects are prominent. The process of childbirth can have traumatic effects on your body, but you will recover. If you have given birth naturally via the vagina, the process of healing can be quicker than that of say a cesarean birth. 

A cesarean (c-section) is the process of delivering a child via the abdomen and the uterus. A c-section will often be performed if there could be possible complications with vaginal birth, or if you choose to have one ahead of time because you do not want to give birth vaginally. As the procedure cuts through the abdomen and uterus your body will need time to recover. A c-section birth will need to remain in the hospital for around three to four days, whereas a vaginal birth can, in some cases, go home the same day. The c-section will leave a scar below the bikini line, and this will fade after time.

Vaginal birth also provides trauma to the body. The vagina will need to dilate to around 10cm to birth the baby safely, imagine the size of a regular bagel. Once you have given birth, your vagina may be stretched for some time and can often feel ‘loose’ and the skin can feel very tender. The tightness of your vagina will return in time, and the tender skin will heel allowing you to have pleasurable sex again. Your pelvic muscles will also be tightened during childbirth, so you may experience some abdominal pain. Your stomach will also be different following childbirth. Your baby bump will reduce, but you may find your stomach will not return to its previous size. On average, a woman will put on between 1.5 to 2 stone during pregnancy, but it is completely possible to lose this weight once you have given birth. You may however need to avoid strenuous exercise after giving birth, especially if you had a c-section.

There are other changes you will experience following childbirth. Your breasts will begin to produce milk, and can be tender or swollen for some time. Your nipples may also feel tender too. Hormonally, your body will need time to rebalance, so you may experience mood swings or irritability, this is similar to what you would experience during your period.

How soon can you get pregnant after giving birth?

You are not actually more fertile after having a baby. After you have given birth you may find the last thing on your mind is having another child. But, for many couples, having one child may actually spur them on to have another. If you are wanting a quick turnaround with kids, you will need to know exactly how soon you can get pregnant after giving birth. In short, it is possible to get pregnant quite soon after giving birth, as long as you are ovulating again. 

The return of your period varies from person to person, so some people can actually get pregnant sooner than others. Typically, your period will return as normal around a month after giving birth, but for some people, it can be as long as three months. If you choose to breastfeed, however, this can prevent ovulation. Some women will use this as a form of contraception, and it is known in medical fields as the lactational amenorrhea method, or LAM for short. 

After you have given birth, you are not any more fertile than you were before you fell pregnant. Your body, whilst it has changed due to birth, will return to its normal state in terms of hormones. Just because you were able to conceive once does not mean that you will be able to conceive with more ease. Many people experience trouble conceiving naturally, however, there are many ways in which you can boost your fertility, including the use of fertility supplements and tests.

Do you need contraception after giving birth?

Following birth, you may be wondering whether or not you will need to use contraception when you feel comfortable returning to having sex. As childbirth produces a large amount of strain on the body, you should take your time before having sex again. This is especially true if you gave birth vaginally. The skin of the vagina, as mentioned, will be looser and will be sore. It can take up to three weeks for the damage to the vagina to heal, but it can be between six to ten weeks for the vagina to return to a similar shape and sensitivity as it was before having a child. 

Once you are ready to have sex again, you may need to use contraception as you would have before. As mentioned, one of the methods that mothers use is LAM, the lactational amenorrhea method. As always, practicing safe sex is about more than not falling pregnant, you or your partner could be carrying sexually transmitted diseases and infections that could be passed. Condoms are the only form of contraception that protect against these. If you know that you are both free of infections and you do not wish to conceive again, there are many other forms of contraception you can consider using.

Whether you have had a child or not, you may need some help with your fertility. Our range of Babystart fertility products has got you covered, no matter what part of the fertility journey you are at.