Sex During Pregnancy
Almost every pregnant woman and their partners, especially first-timers, often wonder and ask questions such as "can I have sex during pregnancy?” “Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?” “Will intercourse during pregnancy harm the baby?” “What are the sex positions to try and which to avoid?"
Sex during pregnancy is not well discussed because many cultures detach pregnant women from sexuality. However, one thing for sure is that once you are pregnant, there will be changes in your body and sex life. The key to a happy and safe sexual relationship during pregnancy is communication between partners.
Pregnancy and sex drive
Due to changes in a woman's body during pregnancy, it is possible to have altered sex drives in this period. It can range from an increased sex drive to a decreased or almost no sex drive. Many expectant mothers have noted changes in their sex drive during the different stages of pregnancy. It is important to note that this varies from person to person as pregnancy affects women differently. It is also important to state that having no sex drive during pregnancy is normal.
Having sex during the first trimester may seem impossible as most women experience fatigue, nausea, tenderness in the breast, and constant need for sex which can all make sex less enjoyable. However, as these symptoms ease up during the second trimester, some women experience an increase in sex drive. As the uterus grows even more extensive, sex drive decreases in the third trimester.
The same can be said for the partners of pregnant women. While some will feel even closer to their partners, appreciate the changes in their body and experience an increased sex drive, others may experience a decreased sex drive due to anxiety and concerns over the health of the mother and unborn child.
Remember that the best way to navigate sexuality during pregnancy is by having honest communication with your partner.
Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?
Sex is a natural procession to pregnancy, and as long as you continue with regular sex during normal pregnancy, it remains safe. A 'normal' pregnancy has a low risk for complications such as miscarriage or preterm labor. To be sure that you fall into this category, you must talk to your doctor, midwife, or other pregnancy healthcare provider.
Many women have been known to have no desire for sex, especially during early pregnancy. Sex during the first trimester also seems like a task as most women lose motivation for sex either due to their growing size or anxiety over the future delivery. Your baby is well protected by your abdomen, uterus muscular walls, and the amniotic sac's fluid, so penetration and movements during sex won't harm the baby.
Can sex cause labor? The answer to this question depends on who you ask and their school of thought. Having orgasms during pregnancy will not put you at risk of miscarriage or preterm labor. The contractions of labor and orgasm are pretty different.
However, for a general safety measure, doctors recommend no sex during the final weeks of pregnancy as the hormone "prostaglandins" found in the semen is believed to trigger contraction. This is backed up by the fact that the gel used to open up the cervix and induce labor contains prostaglandins. The only exception to the rule is when the woman is overdue, and labor has to be encouraged.
This belief remains debatable as some other doctors believe that sex does not stimulate labor contraction, and the connection is merely a theory.
Although sex is generally safe during pregnancy, there may be pains experienced during pregnancy sex. This discomfort is pretty normal and can be caused by:
- Changes in the body.
- Dryness in the vagina.
- Increased blood flow to the pelvic region.
- Genital/pelvic infections, ectopic pregnancy, and other non-physiological conditions.
To be on the safe side, report any case of painful sex during pregnancy to your pregnancy health care provider.
When it's not safe to have sex?
A doctor's 'no sex' instruction usually includes any activity that triggers sexual arousal and orgasm, not just penetrative intercourse.
Your doctor or pregnancy health care provider can advise you not to have sex during pregnancy if you show any signs of having a high-risk pregnancy. These signs include:
- History of miscarriages or risk of miscarriage.
- Previous history or signs of preterm labor.
- Vaginal bleeding, cramping, or discharge with inexplicable causes.
- Placenta previa - when the placenta is too low in the uterus.
- Expecting multiple births, e.g., twins, triplets, and more.
- The cervix opens too early in pregnancy.
There are sexual acts that are not advisable or safe for expectant mothers.
- Sex with multiple partners during pregnancy, especially when you don't know their sexual history, can put you and the baby at risk of an STD.
- Anal sex should be avoided except when approved by a doctor.
If you are not sure pregnancy sex is safe for you, consult your pregnancy healthcare provider. If you notice odd symptoms such as pain, bleeding, or even contractions after sex, this should also be done.
Sex positions during pregnancy
“Siri, play positions by Ariana Grande.” It's time to switch up the positions.
Sex being safe for normal pregnancies doesn't make it easier. Regardless, this can serve as a time to explore and discover positions that will be good for you. Don't be afraid to develop postures that give you pleasure as you progress in your pregnancy.
Below are some amazing sex positions for pregnant women at different stages of pregnancy.
- Missionary: This most common sex position is still practical in the early stages of pregnancy. It is best to enjoy it before your protruding belly makes it impossible.
- Doggy: The behind-entry of the doggy style makes the vagina more accessible to deep penetration. As pregnancy progresses, the doggy style might become too intense and uncomfortable.
- Tight squeeze: Lie on your stomach, keep your legs straight and slightly spread while your partner gets on top and uses their elbows to keep their weight away from you. As with the other positions, your growing belly will make this possible impossible in a few months.
Note that aside from possibly having a decreased sex drive in the first trimester of your pregnancy, having your partner on top might be uncomfortable due to the tenderness of your breast and if your partner penetrates too deep.
- Bridge: This position gives easier access to the clitoris so that you can enjoy some intense pregnancy orgasm. All you have to do is lay on your back with your feet flat on the bed while your partner kneels between your thighs and penetrates you.
- Woman on top (Cowgirl style): This position can be done anywhere, e.g., chair, stairs, etc., for that extra fun factor. Spreading your legs and climbing on top of your partner keeps you in control of the spread, while the penetration depth stimulates your clitoris even more.
- Standing doggy: This position is perfect if you still feel comfortable standing. Face the wall, stick out your butt while your partner penetrates you from behind.
These positions are suitable to avoid the discomfort your baby bump can present during sex.
- Spooning: This is the best position for when you are feeling less mobile. Lie on your side while your partner stays behind you. It also presents an excellent way to be physically close to your partner without the baby bump getting in the way.
- Reverse cowgirl: This is almost the same as the cowgirl position, except you will be facing away from your partner this time. It is easy, comfortable, and puts you in control while still getting your baby bump out of the way.
- Eagle: In this position, you lie on your back with your legs up and slightly bent while your partner kneels between them and uses your thighs for support. You can also do it with your partner standing at the edge of the bed.
Most of these positions are more comfortable and practical when you prop yourself with a pillow.
The benefits of sex during pregnancy are numerous. Hence, it is encouraged. It can come with sweet rewards such as a bonding experience for you and your partner, improving your sleep, easing your postpartum recovery, as a mind booster, and even helping in labor.
There are no know consequences of not having sex during pregnancy. So if you don't want to have sex, it's perfectly okay. There's more to intimacy than sex. If sex becomes unappealing or difficult, try cuddling, kissing, massage, or whatever acts of intimacy work for you and your partner.
Sex during pregnancy is safe and should be fun for both parties. When sex isn't a feasible option for you and your partner, you can enjoy other forms of intimacy such as cuddles, kisses, massages and even a bubble bath.
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