Can we have sex during pregnancy? Will it harm my baby? Can having sex during pregnancy trigger labor? This and a plethora of other questions pop up in an expecting couple’s mind while thinking about having sex during pregnancy. While there is enough information about sex before pregnancy, hardly anyone delves into the murky world of sex during pregnancy.
Read on as we tell you everything you need to know about sex during pregnancy.
Is Sex Safe During Pregnancy?
Sex during pregnancy is considered safe as long as your pregnancy is proceeding normally. In a normal pregnancy, you can have sex as often as you want, right up until your water breaks. However, there are certain circumstances under which you might need to abstain from sex. Talk to your doctor before you hit the sheets if you are having a complicated pregnancy.
When Should Sex Be Avoided During Pregnancy?
As mentioned above, there are certain conditions under which sex should be avoided at all cost. Your doctor might advise you to abstain from sex under any one of these circumstances:
- If you have a history or threat of miscarriage
- If you show signs of premature labor like premature uterine contractions or have a history of preterm labor.
- If you are suffering from unexplained vaginal bleeding, abnormal discharge or cramping.
- If you are suffering from a leakage of amniotic fluid
- If you have placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta’s position is so low that it covers your cervix
- If you are suffering from a dilated cervix, which raises the risk of miscarriage or premature labor
- If you or your partner are suffering from an outbreak of genital herpes or feel one coming.
- If either one of you is suffering from sexually transmitted infections
Also be sure to talk to your doctor if you notice any unusual symptom during or after your intercourse.
Does Having Sex During Pregnancy Lead To Miscarriage?
Not really. If you are going through a normal pregnancy, having sex while pregnant will not cause any risk of miscarriage. During pregnancy, it is normal for women to experience uterine contractions during orgasm. Pregnancy heightens the sensation of these contractions, as your uterus is now swollen and your blood flow has increased. However, these contractions won’t lead you to lose your baby. The fluid-filled amniotic sac and strong uterine muscles keep your baby protected against sexual activity induced movements. The thick mucus plug that seals the cervix, on the other hand, keeps the baby guarded against infections.
Can Have Sex During Pregnancy Trigger Premature Labour?
Many believe that having sex during pregnancy might lead to premature labor. However, this idea is nothing more than an old-time folklore. While orgasms and prostaglandins present in semen cause uterine contractions, there is no scientific proof to suggest that they lead to premature birth. Most doctors, however, would recommend avoiding sex if you are at a risk of preterm labor.
Is It Safe To Have Oral Sex When Expecting?
Oral sex is safe to indulge in during pregnancy, though with caution. If you are receiving oral sex, make sure that your partner is not blowing air into your vagina. A wayward burst of air might block a blood vessel, creating a life-threatening situation for you and your baby. Though these cases are rare, one must be cautious about it. Expecting mothers should not fear from performing oral sex on their partner, as it does not cause any harm. Swallowing sperm will also do you no harm.
Is It Safe To Have Anal Sex During Pregnancy?
In case you are having a normal and healthy pregnancy, anal sex during pregnancy should not be a problem. However, there are certain exceptions to it:
- Anal sex should be avoided if you are suffering from hemorrhoids (piles). Hemorrhoids are common for pregnant women, and it only becomes worse as the pregnancy progresses. If you are suffering from hemorrhoids and they are bleeding, it is best to avoid anal sex. Anal sex tends to aggravate the situation and leads to blood loss, which might endanger you and your baby.
- It is best to stay away from anal sex if you are suffering from anal fissures. Constipation is quite normal in pregnancy and straining to relieve yourself leads to the formation of fissures in your anal area. These fissures might bleed or hurt while having anal sex.
- In case you are suffering from placenta previa, it is best to avoid anal sex. Anal sex causes trauma to your placenta if it is partially or fully covering your cervix. The trauma is severe enough to cause significant bleeding that might put your pregnancy in danger.
Hygiene is of utmost importance while having anal sex. Remember to have your partner wash his genitalia thoroughly or change his condom before switching to vaginal sex.
When Is The Best Time To Have Sex During Pregnancy?
While it is possible to have sex throughout your pregnancy, most couples experience ups and downs in their sexual desire as the pregnancy progresses.
- First Trimester: The first cycle of pregnancy is when most women suffer from diminished sex drive. This decrease is attributed mostly to exhaustion or feeling nauseous while thinking about sex. Physical changes like sore breasts may also make you averse to the idea of sex.
- Second Trimester: When it comes to sex, the second trimester is the best time of pregnancy. Now that your fatigue and nausea have lifted, you find your libido coming back. Certain physical changes like engorgement of clitoris or vagina might also lead to an increase in pleasure.
- Third Trimester: It is quite common for women to notice a drop in sexual desire during this time. The sheer size of a woman’s belly in the third trimester makes having sex an impossible task. The exhaustion from the first trimester also comes during this stage. The increase in size also leads to many women feeling conscious about their body, which decreases their desire to have sex. Some, on the other hand, are too preoccupied with childbirth and labor to engaging in sex.
What Are The Best Sex Positions For A Pregnant Women?
Since your body does not undergo many changes in the first trimester, it is possible to have sex like usual. However, as your belly starts getting bigger it is time to get creative with your positions. Some of the best positions to have sex during your pregnancy are:
- Spooning: A cozy and intimate position, spooning allows for shallow penetration. In this position, you lie with your back facing towards your partner, as he enters you from behind. Many couples try this during the advanced stages of their pregnancy, as deep penetration could become uncomfortable in the later months.
- Side-By-Side: This is another great position to try while having sex during late pregnancy. In this position, both you and your partner lie on your side while facing each other. For extra support, you could wedge a pillow under your back and rest both legs on your partner’s hips. This position helps your partner to control his thrusts and keep his weight off your abdomen.
- Woman On Top: For pregnant women, this position has been associated with higher levels of satisfaction. As you are straddling your partner while he is lying back, no weight is put on your belly. It also allows you to control the depth of the penetration.
- Edge Of The Bed: In this position, you lie on your back at the edge of the bed with your knees bent. Your partner could either stand or kneel in front of you, depending on the height of the bed. However, you should be cautious while having sex in this position as it allows for deeper thrusts. In such a case, you should let your partner know when you want him to slow down.
How Does Pregnancy Affect A Woman’s Libido?
The fact that one’s sexual life changes during pregnancy is nothing but the mere truth. While some might find it pleasurable, others might find it less so. Fluctuations in sex drive are normal during pregnancy and depend mostly on your physical and emotional state of mind.
During pregnancy, women witness an engorgement of genitals due to increased blood flow to the pelvic area. This heightens your sensitivity, adding to your pleasure during sex. Vaginal discharge or moistness also increases during this time, which could be an added plus. However, not everyone enjoys how these changes feel. Genital engorgement gives many women an uncomfortable feeling of fullness during pregnancy. Mild contractions or abdominal cramps are also felt by many women during or immediately after intercourse or orgasm. While it can be off-putting, the tightening of the uterus eases after a few minutes. You might also feel your breasts becoming tender and more sensitive to touch during pregnancy. As your pregnancy progresses, the tenderness will subside but your breasts may remain sensitive. While some might like the heightened sensitivity, there are others who might not.
The best way to deal with these changes is to keep the lines of communication open with your partner. Keep your partner in the loop about anything that feels uncomfortable and experiments ways to make sex more relaxing and pleasurable.
Does Pregnancy Affect Your Partner’s Sex Drive?
Just like you, your partner’s sex drive might increase or decrease during pregnancy. Most men find their pregnant partner as attractive as ever or even more so from earlier. Getting their partner pregnant is the ultimate boost to their ego, which gives a rise to their sex drive. However, it is also normal to see a decrease in your partner’s libido during pregnancy. While your partner might feel attracted to you in the first two trimesters, they will defer from sex in the third. Some of the common reasons behind it are:
- Fear that sex could hurt the unborn baby
- Worrying about you and your unborn baby’s health
- Apprehensions about the burdens of parenthood
- Might feel self-conscious about having sex in the presence of the baby
If your partner has apprehensions about having sex during pregnancy, bring him to your next prenatal appointment. Remember to keep the lines of communication open to talking about your needs and desires. Reassure each other about your fears and anxieties, in order to relax and enjoy yourselves.
How Soon Could You Have Sex After The Baby Is Born?
Labour is a huge ordeal for any woman. Your body is tired after childbirth and needs proper care and rest to heal. If you are planning to have sex after childbirth, wait till your doctor gives the green light. Usually, your doctor would tell you to wait for four to six weeks after childbirth. This allows your uterus to shrink back to normal, your postpartum bleeding to stop, and any laceration to heal.
You might find your libido lagging in the months after the baby is born. Fear that sex will hurt keeps many women away from sex. Reduction in estrogen because of breastfeeding dries out your vagina, making sex uncomfortable. Exhaustion from lack of sleep is another factor. Contact your doctor if your libido is not picking up as it could be a sign of postpartum depression. However, if you are generally happy, don’t fret. Your libido will kick-start again after a while.
Pregnancy is a special moment in every couple’s life. While there will always be certain apprehensions and doubts, the magical moment never ceases to amaze. It is the time when you feel closest to your partner and creates bonds that last a lifetime. In an era where every kind of information is at hands reach, parents should not feel uncomfortable about asking questions about sex. After all, parenthood and pregnancy should not take away from your sexual life.
What is your take on sex during pregnancy? Do let us know along with your feedback in the comments section.