Most mothers-to-be will abstain from sex during pregnancy due to the misconception that they can harm the baby or themselves. Most fathers-to-be also worry about sex during pregnancy as they feel that they will harm the baby in some way. It is natural to be concerned and to have doubts when you are pregnant.
Unfortunately though, this is not something even your doctor will openly talk to you about unless you directly ask for information about sex during pregnancy. The reason for this could be that most cultures in the world do not associate pregnancy with sexuality in general (even though it is sex that led to the pregnancy in the first place), and thus the need to clarify or discuss it is out of the question. Many people will not see pregnant women as sexual beings at all. The idea seems to almost unacceptable to most folks.
However, sex during pregnancy is not so taboo today and many couples are more amenable to the idea. Here’s everything you wanted to know about sex during pregnancy, and a few tips about what you can do to keep your sex life going even during your pregnancy.
Is Sex During Pregnancy Safe?
In a word, yes. But the answer is a little more complicated than a simple yes or no.
Sex during pregnancy is safe if yours is a normal pregnancy. As for the baby, it cannot be harmed by sex during pregnancy as it is safely nestled in your womb, surrounded by amniotic fluid. Also, there is a mucous plug in your cervix during pregnancy that stays there until just a few days or hours before you actually give birth. So nothing can enter the womb. You can rest assured that sex during pregnancy will not cause your baby any harm.
There is a misonception that sex during pregnancy can bring on labor and perhaps cause premature birth. This is commonly thought to be true because orgasm triggers uterine contractions. However, these are not the same as labor contractions so you really have nothing to worry about.
The thing about sex during pregnancy is that you may not be interested in it. If you had a thriving sex life before you were pregnant, you may think this a ludicrous statement. However, the ravages of pregnancy have a way of putting you off sex.
During the pregnancy first trimester, the nausea can be so bad that you may not even be able to eat sometimes, let alone have sex. The constant fatigue doesn’t help either. In the pregnancy second trimester, you may find that your sex drive has picked up a bit as your genitals and breasts are engorged with the extra blood that is being produced by the placenta and your body. And the pregnancy third trimester spells trouble for your sex life again as you put on oodles of weight and experience some of the most uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms.
So although sex during pregnancy is safe, the more apt question here is whether or not you actually want to have sex in the first place. If your pregnancy is normal, you can safely have sex without worrying about harming yourself or the baby.
When is Sex During Pregnancy Not Safe?
Sex during pregnancy is considered unsafe under the following conditions:
- You have suffered a miscarriage in a prior pregnancy
- Any of your earlier babies were born prematurely
- There is inexplicable vaginal bleeding
- The placenta is partially or fully covering the opening of your cervix
- Your partner or you have contracted a sexually transmitted disease
- Your doctor has advised you not to have sex during pregnancy because of other health problems
- You are experiencing leakage of amniotic fluid
- You suffer from a condition known as incompetent cervix wherein the cervix starts opening prematurely
- You are carrying more than one baby
These are just general guidelines. The best way to determine if sex during pregnancy is safe for you is to speak with your doctor as she knows your medical history and current physical condition and is thus better equipped to advise you accurately.
The Benefits of Sex During Pregnancy
- One of the most wonderful benefits of sex during pregnancy is that it naturally puts you in a good mood. Orgasm releases a host of happy hormones that improve your mood immediately.
- Orgasm increases the supply of blood to the vagina and the uterus, creating instant and lasting relaxation in those areas.
- Sex during pregnancy is a potent bonding mechanism for the parents-to-be. This is very important as bringing up the baby will require loads of teamwork. It is hardly surprising that sex increases intimacy and creates a powerful bond between the people involved in the act.
- Orgasm keeps the uterine muscles toned, which helps to prepare them for actual labor.
Points to Keep in Mind about Sex During Pregnancy
Assuming that your pregnancy is a normal one, sex during pregnancy is more of a personal preference. This means that it is really up to you whether or not you want to have sex when you are pregnant.
For one thing, you may not feel like it. The symptoms of pregnancy like nausea or constipation are enough to put anyone off sex. And in the later stages of pregnancy, your burgeoning weight may make you feel unattractive and you may not want to have sex because of body image issues at the time. Then there is the emotional roller coaster ride you will be on because of the massive hormonal changes that your body undergoes during pregnancy.
So if you want to have sex during pregnancy, you’re going to have to work harder at it than at any other time. Here are a few things both partners should keep in mind when contemplating sex during pregnancy.
- Remember to always keep the lines of communication open. This is more important than anything else because sex begins long before you hit the sheets. It is important to talk about your expectations and feelings, especially because a lack of sex can cause a certain amount of estrangement in both partners.
- Men, keep in mind that your partner feels vulnerable, highly emotional, and unattractive because of the weight gain. Assure her that she is still very sexy and that you find her beautiful and want to have sex with her even during pregnancy. While having sex, be slightly more gentle than you normally would. But this does not mean you should be overly concerned and sacrifice the mood either. Try finding a balance and interpret the cues your partner sends out.
- Again for the men – if performing oral sex on your partner avoid blowing air into her vagina. Although it is rare, there have been cases when this has caused a blood vessel to block, which in turn is a fatal condition for both mother and child. There is a small chance that this will happen, but why take the risk?
- Women, keep in mind that you truly are beautiful even during pregnancy and that many men are actually quite aroused by their pregnant partners. There is thus no reason that your sex life should come to a screeching halt just because you are pregnant. Here’s something that should help put you in the mood. Generally, women enjoy sex during pregnancy more than at any other time. Quite a number of women orgasm much more easily during pregnancy, and several even begin to have multiple orgasms when they have sex during pregnancy.
- You should use condoms when having sex during pregnancy as there is still a chance that you may contract a sexually transmitted disease. However, you can give the condom a miss if you and your partner are in a monogamous relationship and are both in good health.
- If you experience any pain, burning or bleeding during or after sex, call your doctor immediately.
Positions for Sex During Pregnancy
Are there certain positions that are safer for sex during pregnancy? Not really. As we have seen, sex cannot harm your baby. And the real issue about sex during pregnancy is individual preference and comfort. As you grow throughout your pregnancy, you may not be able to carry off the same positions that you could before. For example, the missionary position (commonly known as man on top) will not be possible or comfortable during the third trimester of pregnancy. Rather than get frustrated and give up at such a time, a better option would be to explore new sexual positions – a great opportunity to expand your knowledge about sex and also to add a little spice to your sex life.
Generally though, the woman on top position is popular during the first and second trimester, but not the third as the mother sometimes gets too big to find this comfortable. Spooning is a better option then (both partners lying on their sides, man behind women). Another great position for sex during pregnancy is having the woman on her hands and knees and the man penetrating from behind; this position will work through all the trimesters. Usually, experimenting for a while can help you find what position works best for you, and it can be a lot of fun too.
Lastly, try to keep in mind that sex is not always about intercourse. There are plenty of other ways to create intimacy like kissing, cuddling, massage, having a soak in a hot tub, planning a romantic evening, masturbation, and oral sex.