When you’re pregnant, your desire for sex could diminish, given the myths and misconceptions that permeate. Openly talking about sex with your spouse/partner can help you to enjoy intimacy safely during pregnancy. So, do understand that sex during pregnancy, if done correctly, is not harmful. If you take the right precautions, there’s absolutely no reason why you cannot have sex during pregnancy.
Is Sex During Pregnancy Safe?
Sex during pregnancy does not harm the fetus or the unborn baby. Remember that pregnant women have strong uterus muscles, cervical mucus, and the amniotic fluid which protects babies. Some people believe orgasms or sex during pregnancy could injure your unborn child, increasing the chances of a premature infant or even a miscarriage.
Sexual intercourse at the time of pregnancy does not harm women or fetus (1).
But do check with your doctor, because if your medical practitioner believes it can risk your pregnancy, he will recommend you avoid sex during this period.
Also, note that Braxton Hicks is a mild contraction felt at the close of pregnancy. However, as such contractions do not indicate or initiate labor, one need not worry about them.
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Tips for Safe Sex
When a pregnant woman is lying on the back, the baby’s additional weight puts pressure on her arteries and inner organs. For comfortable positions, it is recommended by doctors for women to take a sexual position on top of the partner or lie down side by side. Below listed are a few healthy practices for sex during:
1. Opt for Safe Sex
Sex is a healthy and critical part of a loving and trusting relationship with your spouse/partner. For women, safe sex during pregnancy can be ensured if you take the right precautions. Consult and talk to your healthcare practitioner about this.
2. Take All the Precautions If you Have Complications
Sex is not safe at the time of pregnancy if you have had or are having complications. Check with your doctor about sex during pregnancy if you have complications such as multiple pregnancies, you had a past miscarriage or a risk of miscarriage, (this is when the baby dies in the womb before pregnancy of fewer than 20 weeks) or preterm labor/premature baby.
In situations like these, you have to be extra careful and avoid any complications.
3. Protect Your Unborn Baby
Sex does not hurt the growing fetus. The muscles of the amniotic fluid, and the uterus surrounding the baby offer protection.
Another essential fact to know is about the mucous plug. The plug is a mass of mucus(2) that blocks the cervical opening.
While sex is safe for women, you do want to protect your baby from infections during pregnancy intercourse.
The first and most crucial step you need to take is to protect yourself from STIs (sexually transmitted infections/diseases). STIs are infections from intimate physical contact or unprotected sex with infected partners. It can be a problem for the fetus during pregnancy and the infant during childbirth. STI from the vaginal, oral, or anal sex can harm your child. So make sure to check for any STIs before having sex during pregnancy. Also, make sure to use protection as a precautionary measure.
If you have oral sex, do not let air bubbles into the vagina through any action that triggers an air embolism. It can harm your unborn child.
Ask your doctor about anal sex, if you are unsure about this form of sexual contact. Anal sex could be unsafe during pregnancy because the anus has bacteria. Besides, it can also increase the risk of STI, which may harm the baby during delivery and rarely through the placenta.
If you have pain, heavy bleeding, amniotic sac leakage, or painful cramps during sex, contact your doctor immediately.
[Read: STDs in Women]
4. Be Aware of Your Sex Drive
Your interest in sex or sex drives transitions during pregnancy. Falling and rising hormonal levels and other bodily changes can affect the sex drive.
During the first trimester, fluctuating hormone levels and changes in the body’s shape could put you in the mood for sex. But changes during pregnancy that cause discomfort can dampen the sex drive. This ranges from morning sickness to sore breasts, frequent urges to urinate, or tiredness.
At the time of the second trimester, the discomfort experienced during the first three months may be over. Or you may get better at managing it. Yet do remember to be comfortable physically, while having sex.
Women gain a total of three pounds of blood at the time of pregnancy — most of the blood flow below the waist. Extra blood flow helps the orgasm more easily. Orgasm can, however, cause vaginal contractions.
Towards the third trimester or the end of pregnancy, you may feel a waning interest in sex. As the belly increases in size, some sexual positions may be uncomfortable. You may even lack interest in sex. It’s okay to have such feelings. Always be alert about psychological factors while engaging in sex during pregnancy.
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5. Check Which Sex Position Works Best for You
Positions that work before pregnancy and early on could be uncomfortable or unsafe during later pregnancy stages. For example, the missionary position or lying flat on the back after the fourth month can place pressure on blood vessels and harm your fetus. So, try other postures like a woman on top, spooning, or on knees.
Remember that you need not have sex to feel intimacy. You can also express affection through kissing, cuddling, massage, mutual orgasms, or even oral sex.
6. Be Open About Communication
Stay connected with your partner and talk about your needs in an open, loving manner. Let comfort and ease of being private remain firm. If something does not feel right, talk to your partner, or opt for couples counseling.
When to Avoid Sex During Pregnancy?
The doctor may recommend avoidance of sexual intercourse for women who are giving birth to twins, triplets, or multiple births. They can also advise against sex during pregnancy if the woman suffers from cervical problems, probable miscarriage, and premature birth/preterm labor.
Other conditions that trigger complications include placenta previa, preterm or miscarriage history or risk, cervical dysfunction, excessive bleeding/blood loss from the vagina.
Also, amniotic fluid leak or breaking water increase the risk of infection and so, sex should be avoided in such cases. Women should also have partners use condoms or dental dams during pregnancy to protect the developing fetus from infection.
[ Read: Cure Pregnancy Insomnia Naturally ]
There may be many physical or psychological issues that can affect sex drive during pregnancy. Reduced energy levels, hormonal fluctuations, and flagging energy levels can also lower sex drive. Sexual desire during pregnancy can be impacted by changing bodily shape, too.
Sex is a big question mark for women with pregnancy complications. It is always advised to check with the doctor before having sex during pregnancy.
[ Read: Pregnancy Diet ]
1. Should I use a condom during pregnancy?
Pregnant women can’t get pregnant after having sexual intercourse. However, you may use a condom to prevent any sexually transmitted infections or diseases.
2. Can I have sex after delivery?
A woman needs time to recover after vaginal or a cesarean section delivery. Although there is no waiting period, it is generally advised to wait for four to six weeks after delivery.
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