Masturbation During Pregnancy – Good or Bad?
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The urge to masturbate is natural. However, there are limited discussions about it, as the topic is deemed a taboo. This is why pregnant women may find it difficult to initiate a conversation about whether engaging in masturbation during pregnancy is safe. Left in the dark as they cannot find answers, they tend to forgo the idea.
To all the pregnant women wondering if they can masturbate during pregnancy, the answer is yes! It is natural and safe unless you have a high-risk pregnancy (in which case, some degree of caution should be exercised).
Is It Safe to Masturbate During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, some women find that their libido increases due to hormonal changes. An increase in the level of oestrogen and progesterone will likely boost your sexual appetite. Engaging in masturbation and even sex during this time is completely safe. You may experience mild cramps once you achieve an orgasm due to muscle contractions. This can further cause Braxton Hicks contractions, which decrease and eventually stop.
Nevertheless, healthcare professionals may advise abstaining from activities like masturbation, orgasm, or penetration in certain high-risk pregnancies (1). It is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider to determine the safety of engaging in masturbation during pregnancy.
Reasons to Masturbate When Pregnant
It is undeniable that the benefits of masturbating while pregnant are plenty. Some of them are:
- It relieves stress: When you orgasm after masturbating, your body releases oxytocin, which is a natural stress reliever.
- Orgasms can be even better during pregnancy: Orgasms experienced during pregnancy are a notch above regular orgasms, which means added pleasure.
- It’s a great alternative for sex: Your growing belly or a medical condition may prevent you from having sex or make it difficult for you, which is when masturbation can come to your rescue.
- It can provide relief from pregnancy symptoms: Some of the least enjoyable things about pregnancy are symptoms like morning sickness, swollen feet, back pain, etc. Having an orgasm can provide natural pain relief from these symptoms.
- It can help you sleep: When the growing belly makes sleeping difficult, you can rely on masturbation, as orgasms lower blood pressure and release endorphins that can help you sleep.
- It can make labour easier: A strong pelvic floor can be beneficial during labour and delivery. Masturbation and orgasms can strengthen your pelvic floor.
- It can make you love your body: You may feel a little disconnected from your pregnant body owing to all the changes that your body is going through. Masturbating and exploring yourself can help you feel connected to your body again and make you love it.
- Enhances intimacy with your partner: Masturbation can be a way to explore and understand your changing body, allowing you to communicate better with your partner about your desires and preferences during pregnancy.
- Improves mood and emotional well-being: Pregnancy hormones can lead to mood swings and emotional fluctuations. Masturbation and orgasms trigger the release of endorphins, which can help improve your mood and overall emotional well-being during this time.
Aside from these benefits, some doctors also believe that babies may be soothed or comforted by the rhythmic contractions that are caused by orgasms!
Risks of Masturbating While Pregnant
Engaging in sexual activities during pregnancy, including masturbation, is generally considered safe for most women. However, there are specific circumstances and risks that should be taken into account. It’s crucial to be aware of potential risks and consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice.
1. Risk of Uterine Contractions
Masturbation can sometimes lead to mild uterine contractions. While these are usually harmless, in certain high-risk pregnancies, such contractions may pose a concern. Consulting with your healthcare provider is essential to assess whether this risk applies to your individual situation.
2. Potential for Infection
Engaging in sexual activities, including masturbation, carries a slight risk of introducing bacteria into the vagina, especially if proper hygiene measures are not followed. In cases of uterine infections or conditions like bacterial vaginosis, the risk of complications may be higher.
3. Impact on Certain Pregnancy Conditions
In specific pregnancy conditions, such as placenta previa or a history of preterm labor, healthcare providers may advise against activities that could potentially stimulate the uterus. Masturbation-induced contractions might need to be avoided to prevent complications associated with these conditions.
Masturbation Hacks for Pregnant Women
With all these benefits, you will, no doubt, want to give yourself a much-deserved break and indulge in self-love. Here are a few hacks that can make the whole masturbation experience even better.
1. Keep Your Sex Toys Handy
Using your sex toys during pregnancy is not only safe but also more pleasurable. Pick up your vibrator for some mild thrusting that can leave you elated.
2. Use Lubricants
Before getting down to it and using your sex toys or fingers, you may want to use a lubricant. Vaginal dryness in common in many women during pregnancy and applying lubricant can make the entire experience better as it tends to make the genitals extra sensitive.
3. Take All the Time You Need
Due to the changes in your body, your masturbation experience may be different from before. For some, it may take more time to get in the mood, and for others, it may take no time at all! The added blood flow to the genital region during pregnancy can make it super sensitive, so take time with your body and explore it at your pace. Work with what suits your pregnancy body.
4. Explore Different Positions
Your body has changed a lot, and you now have a large belly that can make regular masturbation tough – you may need to go through a lot of trial and error to zero in on a comfortable position. It is said that lying on your back isn’t ideal during pregnancy; you may want to try lying on your side, standing on all fours, or even bending over the bed.
5. Draw Yourself a Bath
Water can have a soothing effect on the body during pregnancy. You can also take a warm shower for your back, provided the water is not too hot. It can also prevent discomfort and help you achieve orgasm faster.
6. Do It Before Bedtime
Masturbating right before bedtime can help you sleep better, as orgasms boost endorphins and relax the body.
7. Clitoral Stimulation for People on Pelvic Rest
If your doctor has put you on pelvic rest for any reason, it most likely means that you are off sex. However, you can still engage in masturbation by stimulating your clitoris and achieve an orgasm! However, confirm the feasibility of this with your doctor beforehand.
8. Set the Mood
Many women may not particularly experience an increase in libido due to stress caused by symptoms. If you are one of them, you can try setting the mood with some scented candles, erotic books, slipping into your favourite lingerie, etc. Make masturbation a pleasurable experience from start to finish, and make it worth your while.
Precautions to Take While Masturbating
Although masturbation during pregnancy is largely safe, a few precautions can help you enjoy it without any complications.
- Ensure that the sex toys that are being used are properly cleaned and sanitised to prevent infections. Clean it after every use and store it in a cool, dry place.
- Do not use any foreign objects to masturbate, as the chances of them carrying bacteria and viruses are higher. Also, small objects tend to get lost in the vagina and sharp objects can injure the walls of the vagina, so stay away from them.
- Keep your nails short. Long nails can cause tears in external or internal genitalia, which can invite bacteria.
- Stop when you experience any kind of discomfort of pain. If the pain persists, consult a doctor for assistance.
When Should You Avoid Masturbation?
Although there aren’t many side effects of masturbation during pregnancy, and while masturbation is generally considered safe during pregnancy, there are certain situations where it might be advisable to avoid or be cautious about it. It’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice, but here are some general situations when you might consider avoiding masturbation during pregnancy:
1. History of Miscarriage
If you have a high-risk pregnancy due to conditions like a history of miscarriage, it’s crucial to follow your healthcare provider’s advice. They may recommend abstaining from activities that could potentially stimulate the uterus.
2. Vaginal Bleeding
If you experience unexplained vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, it’s essential to consult your healthcare provider. In some cases, they may advise against activities that could further irritate or cause trauma to the cervix.
3. History of Premature Birth
If you have a history of preterm labor or premature birth, your healthcare provider may suggest avoiding activities that could potentially stimulate contractions. Masturbation-induced contractions are generally mild, but individual circumstances vary.
4. Ruptured Membranes
If your amniotic sac has ruptured, engaging in sexual activities, including masturbation, may pose an increased risk of infection. In such cases, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention.
5. Cervical Incompetence
Some women may have a condition called cervical incompetence, where the cervix begins to dilate too early in pregnancy. In such cases, healthcare providers may recommend avoiding activities that could put additional pressure on the cervix.
6. Severe Abdominal Pain or Cramping
If you experience severe abdominal pain or cramping after masturbation, it’s essential to consult your healthcare provider. While mild contractions are normal, persistent or intense pain should be addressed promptly.
7. Placenta Previa
If you have been diagnosed with placenta previa, a condition where the placenta partially or completely covers the cervix, your healthcare provider may advise against activities that could lead to uterine contractions. Masturbation, in some cases, may stimulate the uterus, potentially causing bleeding or other complications.
8. Uterine Infections
In the presence of uterine infections, such as bacterial vaginosis or other sexually transmitted infections, your healthcare provider may recommend abstaining from sexual activities, including masturbation, to prevent the risk of introducing bacteria into the uterus.
9. Intrauterine Growth Restrictions (IUGR)
In cases where there are concerns about the baby’s growth and development (IUGR), your healthcare provider may advise caution with activities that could potentially affect blood flow to the uterus. Masturbation-induced contractions, although usually mild, might be a consideration in such situations.
1. Can Masturbation During Pregnancy Harm Your Baby?
Generally, masturbation is considered safe during pregnancy. It does not pose harm to the baby in a healthy pregnancy. However, if there are specific complications like a high-risk pregnancy or placenta previa, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice.
2. Is Masturbation an Effective Method for Managing Pregnancy-related Urinary Incontinence?
Masturbation itself may not be a direct method for managing urinary incontinence during pregnancy. Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, are often recommended to strengthen the pelvic muscles and help with incontinence. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate approach for managing urinary incontinence in your specific case.
Masturbation in pregnancy is natural, safe, and a great stress reliever, especially in a low-risk pregnancy. However, in case you have a high-risk pregnancy or have been asked by your doctor to refrain from sexual activity, you must abide by it. It is important that you discuss the feasibility of masturbating with your doctor to understand what is permitted and what is not.
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4. Braxton Hicks Contractions – Causes, Symptoms & Pain Relief; American Pregnancy Association; https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/labor-and-birth/braxton-hicks/
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6. Masturbation; Cleveland Clinic; https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/24332-masturbation
7. Sexual Activity and Your Heart; Cardiac Rehabilitation and Wellness Center; https://cardiacrehab.ucsf.edu/sexual-activity-and-your-heart