Everything you wanted to know about having sex during pregnancy
Congratulations on your pregnancy! When you were trying to get pregnant, you and your partner probably read up on everything you could to optimise your fertility, even sex positions that will lead to impregnation faster. Now that you have achieved that goal, what about sex during pregnancy?
You might assume that it’s not safe to have sex during the three trimesters of your pregnancy, but your body is going through a lot of changes – hormonal and physical – and the need for intimacy with your partner is greater than ever. Sex isn’t just about pleasure, after all: it is about comfort and sustained intimacy with your partner, a way to connect better and communicate.
Indeed some women find sex more pleasurable during pregnancy. The reasons: increased blood flow to the genitals can make the clitoris super-sensitive, and greater vaginal lubrication can make sex more enjoyable for obvious reasons. The breasts also tend to be more sensitive during pregnancy. Add to that the increased sex drive during pregnancy, and you have a heady mix.
So stop worrying, and read on for the things you need to know to have a thriving sexual life while you are expecting.
Will sex during pregnancy harm my baby?
Contrary to what you might fear, having sex during all stages of pregnancy is generally safe and does not harm the baby in any way. You might worry that having sex will lead to a miscarriage or induce preterm labour, but unless you have complications in your pregnancy, this will not happen. It’s important to consult your obstetrician about these fears, because if he or she does think you are at risk - of miscarriage, placental abruption (a condition in which the placenta detaches, either partly or completely, from the womb before delivery), vaginal bleeding, weak cervix, preterm labour, etc. - you can be informed early on.
In general, though, sex during pregnancy will not affect the foetus at all because the organs involved in sex are not the ones which directly relate to the foetus. Your baby is safely nestled in amniotic fluid, surrounded by the amniotic sac in your uterus. Penetration during sex happens in the vagina, and this will not disturb your uterus at all. The most that can happen is a few contractions called Braxton Hicks contractions, which are most likely to come up after the sixth week of pregnancy and are comparatively easy to deal with.
Will I want to have sex while pregnant?
But just because it’s safe to have sex doesn’t mean that you have to or will want to. Your hormone levels, the volume of blood in your body and your body shape start changing within weeks after you get pregnant. Just like you might develop an aversion to certain foods and smells, and crave others more deeply, your sexual desires may change too.
Your libido might increase or decrease, and neither is alarming during pregnancy. A lot of expectant mothers also feel uncomfortable while having sex during pregnancy because their bodies are getting larger, and they might have some discomfort due to bloating or indigestion. The decision to have sex when you are pregnant is yours, and if you are uncomfortable, then the best thing to do is to communicate with your partner.
There are many other ways of being intimate without having sex. You could kiss, caress, cuddle and hold each other to keep the intimacy alive. Your sexual relationship will change during your pregnancy, and it is important to be open about it and have discussions around it with your partner.
What you should know about having sex during pregnancy
If you do decide to have sex during pregnancy, then there are a few things you must keep in mind.
- Safe sex is even more important during pregnancy because if you contract any sexually transmitted disease (STD), it can lead to serious complications. So, use a condom and maintain sexual hygiene.
- Sex with your partner on top, while you lie on your back, might be more uncomfortable during pregnancy, so make sure you experiment with positions and find the one that you’re most comfortable with.
- Lying on your side while facing towards or away from your partner is a more comfortable sex position during pregnancy.
- Oral sex is safe during pregnancy, but if you do engage in it, make sure that your partner does not blow into your vagina. This can cause an air embolism - a blockage of a blood vessel due to an air bubble. An embolism can be potentially fatal for you and your baby.
- If you are having sex with someone whose sexual history you're unsure/unaware of, make it a point to use protection. While this should be a general rule of thumb, it’s even more important when you’re pregnant because it can expose both you and your baby to STDs like herpes, chlamydia, genital warts and HIV infection.
When should I avoid sex during pregnancy?
While having sex during pregnancy is generally safe, there are a few conditions which will require more care and your doctor might suggest that you avoid sex if you are diagnosed with them. Here are a few instances when having sex will not be safe during pregnancy:
- If you have unexplained vaginal bleeding, the situation can get worse due to sex.
- In case you are leaking amniotic fluid, your baby is not safe, and neither is having sex.
- If you have a weak cervix, your pelvic floor may not be able to support both the baby and sex. It’s best to consult your doctor in this case for procedures that can strengthen the cervix so that you can carry your baby to term safely.
- If you have placenta previa (the placenta covers the cervical opening) or are at risk of placental abruption, then sex is off the table.
- If you have had a prior miscarriage or preterm labour, then your doctor may ask you to avoid sex during pregnancy.
- If you are carrying multiple foetuses (twins, triplets or more), then having sex during pregnancy can lead to complications.
Instead of being afraid of having sex during pregnancy, it is important to have conversations around it because, as mentioned, sex during pregnancy is safe. While you’re waiting to welcome a baby into your family, it is important to focus on every aspect of the relationship you have with your partner, especially the sexual one. So even if you do decide not to have sex, or are not in the mood during your pregnancy, maintain a level of intimacy and care with your partner to ensure your mutual happiness.
For more on this topic, please read our article on the Benefits and Risks of Having Sex During Pregnancy.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
Updated Date: Jan 03, 2020 15:46:05 IST
Everything you wanted to know about having sex during pregnancy
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