Nine Months: 'Does sex need to wait?' and other pregnancy dilemmas, solved

The nine-month journey before you’re finally holding your baby in your arms can be one bound by rules. ‘Eat this’, ‘Don’t eat that’, ‘Take these vitamins’ and some more well-intended advice. But there’s a slim chance that anyone will tell you whether or not it’s okay to have sex.

In a time when the right information is barely filtered through, it’s common to be influenced by myths. Fortunately for you, we’ve busted the myths on sex, pregnancy, and other facts with explanations that have the nod from medical experts. Follow Firstpost's show Nine Months — a visual how-to survival guide that brings experience, knowledge and perspective to mothers so they can follow a reliable and singular narrative on pregnancy and parenting.

To Do Or Not To Do

'Can our child in the womb hear us having sex?' was the question one pair of parents-to-be asked a doctor! (The answer, incidentally, is no.) But just like this one, there are other misconceptions too that make couples observe a period of abstinence when pregnant.

Pregnancy No More A Barrier

Sex during the first and second trimester is considered safe by doctors. However, it’s recommended that you listen to your body. Any unusual bleeding or feeling of discomfort should serve as a sign to stop and consult your doctor. Besides, if you experience symptoms like nausea and fatigue during your first trimester, you shouldn’t feel the pressure to engage in sexual activity. To put it simply – do it only if you feel like it.

Sex During Advanced Stages Of Pregnancy

What about the third trimester? You may ask. Evidence suggests that having sex in the final trimester may induce uterine contractions, although it doesn’t have substantial evidence backing it. However, interestingly, the substance used to bring on labour, prostaglandins, was discovered for the first time in human semen. What further intensifies the relation between sex and contractions is the practice from years ago. At the time when modern medicine wasn’t prevalent, doctors advised pregnant women who were past full term to have intercourse to induce contractions. However, these theories still remain to be tested.

The final verdict: you can have sex as long as you are comfortable. But again, be aware of any usual pain or bleeding. Avoid positions that may cause discomfort or prove to be dangerous.

Advice On Prenatal Nutrition

When you begin your pregnancy care routine, your diet will be a major highlight. Your doctor and nutritionist will recommend a balanced diet with additional supplements to make up for any deficiency. A good supply of iron, folic acid, calcium, and vitamin D through your diet and extra supplementation are aimed at aiding in the development of your baby. In fact, folic acid is considered to be the Holy Grail in pregnancy care. The vitamin plays an integral role in preventing neural tube defects, which are related to the skull and spine.

The Hype About Progesterone Supplementation

While these vitamins have been around for long, a growing number of women have taken to the belief that progesterone supplements are a must too. Although progesterone is essential in pregnancy, doctors suggest the body is capable of producing it on its own without the intervention of supplements. Only in cases like assisted reproduction, pregnancies prone to miscarriages, or a pre-term pregnancy do doctors take a call on progesterone supplementation.

Pregnancy Care For Mothers

It’s certain, you cannot put a finger on just one food or pregnancy tip, there’s a roster of dos and don’ts to keep in mind. To make it simpler, here’s what doctors feel you should and shouldn’t do —

  • Stay hydrated to prevent nausea; try lemon wedges in water or black tea. If you don’t mind the strong pungent flavour of ginger, trust the ingredient to work effectively at combating nausea.
  • Drink sufficient water to relieve constipation or dehydration caused by supplement intake. Alternatively, you could consult your doctor about a tool softener to ease constipation. However, laxatives are best avoided.
  • Eat papaya and pineapple. These humble fruits are nothing like the myths have made them to be. They’re nutritious, high-fibre, and the ideal sources of antioxidants and vitamins. Besides, they offer sure shot relief from constipation.
  • Consume figs and prunes which are also rich sources of dietary fibre

Thoughts On Breaking The Good News

Over the past few months, your colleagues have noticed you skipping those late night-outs and passing those pizza treats for fresh fruit. But you’re not sure whether you want to break the news of the pregnancy just yet. Your concerns are valid. Generally it’s best to put off the topic until you’ve reached the end of the first trimester. Once you’re assured, following a thorough examination, that the placenta has developed and your baby is healthy, it’s time to break that silence! However, this choice is open for discussion between you and your spouse.

While it’s perfectly acceptable to tell your dear ones almost immediately, it’s absolutely all right if you both wish to save the good news for others until later. This is a safer option for when things don’t go as planned; it saves you the effort of answering unnecessary questions.

A Note Of Advice

Keep in mind; nothing can signal your preparedness better than your own body. Whether you’re following the prescribed diet or engaging in sex, pay heed to your body’s every response — and occasionally the mischievous kick from your little one!

Watch this episode of 9 Months for a comprehensive guide on dealing with this stage of your pregnancy.

Updated Date: Oct 10, 2017 15:07 PM

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