Sex and pregnancy: what you need to know about the dangers and benefits
Pregnancy lasts as much as nine months, and it is logical that a woman wants to live plus or minus her normal life during this period. Including making love, because the fact that she will soon become a mother does not mean that she has ceased to be a woman.
However, quite naturally, many questions arise: is it possible to do this at all, will it harm the child in any way, will it disrupt the healthy course of pregnancy?
All these questions for WebMD are answered by Tracey S. Johnson, MD, OB/GYN and mother of three.
Is sex during pregnancy safe?
In the vast majority of cases, yes. Sex may not be safe if you have a high-risk pregnancy, such as a multiple pregnancy. In other cases, sex during pregnancy is absolutely allowed and even useful, because it provokes the release of oxytocin and endorphin.
Simply put, you will feel better, your mood will improve. Plus, pregnant women who have sex noted that they often have increased libido and sensitivity, so the sensations of sex are more pleasant, and orgasm is brighter and easier to achieve, because the genitals are actively supplied with blood during pregnancy.
There is also a theory that sex helps to stimulate labor when the period has already come or even passed, but there is still no childbirth. This is due to the fact that semen contains certain hormones that stimulate labor. However, this theory has not been confirmed.
As for safety: if the pregnancy is healthy and low risk, then sex is safe. What is worth knowing:
When having sex, it is advisable to wear a condom. It is almost impossible to have another fetus while already pregnant (for this, a lot of factors in your hormonal background must coincide, this has happened less than ten times in the entire history of medicine), but a man can bring sexual infections inside.
Getting a sexually transmitted infection or getting any inflammation of the genital organs during pregnancy is really dangerous and can lead to miscarriage or premature birth. The same applies to any damage to the genital organs, because mechanical damage to the tissues of the vagina is a fertile environment for bacteria, because it is warm, humid and there is something to “eat”.
Therefore, it is advisable to use a condom. It is also advisable to wear a condom on sex toys, if you use them. It is advisable to cut the nails on the hands of both you and your partner so as not to be scratched.
After or during an orgasm, you may experience uterine contractions. These are not fights. Everything is fine. These are the usual contractions that the uterus experiences every time you have an orgasm, just when you are pregnant - you feel it more clearly.
As for the manner of making love, everything is individual here. Someone becomes more sensitive and more easily excited, while someone does not care about sex at all - the brain is completely occupied with future changes in life and current physical discomfort.
Any options have the right to exist and must be respected by your partner. A woman is not obliged to provide a man with sex while pregnant, because "he needs it" if she herself does not want it.
However, in terms of physiology alone, as a rule, significant changes in sexual life are required only in the last trimester, when the stomach is already so large that it interferes with taking the usual positions, and you have to look for new options for how to please each other.
However, in some cases, your doctor may actually ask you to refrain from penetrative vaginal sex.
When exactly is it not possible?
You've had a miscarriage in the past, or your doctor thought your body was at risk;
Or the risk of preterm birth (before the thirty-seventh week of pregnancy);
For vaginal bleeding, unusual discharge, or cramping without a known cause;
Fluid leaks from the amniotic sac or there is a rupture of the membranes;
The cervix has opened too early;
Placenta previa, when it overlaps the cervix;
Or vasa previa, when the vessels of the placenta lie close to the cervix;
And also if the cervix is weakened (for example, due to previous births) or too short (up to twenty-two millimeters);
You are carrying twins.
At the same time, when saying that you cannot make love, the doctor may mean only penetrating vaginal contact, but not masturbation (single or with a partner). This issue needs to be clarified separately: it happens that only vaginal penetration is impossible, and it happens that even an orgasm from external, clitoral masturbation is a risk.
When to see a doctor?
Be sure to tell your doctor about the following symptoms after or during sex:
Contractions (or what felt like contractions).
Pregnancy and sexuality
As already mentioned, this question is very individual, but in general, you can expect the following:
In the first trimester, libido rises due to hormones, but usually the first trimester is accompanied by toxicosis, plus a woman gets used to a new status, to the idea that she will be a mother, there is a lot of trouble associated with organizing her “pregnant life”, so it is often psychologically not up to sex, even with a high libido.
In the second trimester, these symptoms recede, but the libido continues to grow, so many women noted excellent sex during this period.
But in the third trimester, sex is already physically uncomfortable due to changes in the woman's body, plus usually women are worried before childbirth, preparing for the birth of a child, so again, there is no time for sex.
How to have sex while pregnant?
The basic rules are simple:
Everything that penetrates you must be pure. This is a general rule for any sexual activity, regardless of your status, but during pregnancy it is especially important.
Communicate with your partner, tell him about your feelings. Ask him to compliment you, if you feel not attractive enough due to changes in the body, ask him to change the position, pace, manner of touching, so that you feel more comfortable. Changes in sexual preferences during pregnancy are normal, so don't be shy.
Feel free to discuss your sex life with a gynecologist. Sex directly affects the genitals, so he must know everything that bothers you.
The missionary position after the fourth month of pregnancy is undesirable because it constricts the blood vessels under the weight of the growing baby.
The “spoon”, “rider” pose (in the early stages, after it can be difficult) or “dog-like” is suitable, because these poses remove pressure on the stomach and allow you to relax the muscles.
Some women experience vaginal dryness during pregnancy. In this case, you can use a lubricant.
Don't forget that sex is more than just penetration. You can show intimacy and sensual attention to each other with the help of hugs, caresses, kisses, mutual masturbation, erotic massage and any other ways, words and touches.