Sex during Pregnancy – Is It Safe or Not?

SEX DURING PREGNANCY

Parents-to-be often wonder if it is safe to have sex during pregnancy and whether it will affect the baby in any way. Moms-to-be also grapple with hormonal changes, fatigue, and self-consciousness about their change in appearance that can have an effect on their libido. This article can help you figure out the optimal time to have sex during pregnancy, the benefits, when to avoid it, the safest positions, and other frequently asked questions.

Is It Safe to Have Sex while Pregnant?

If you have a healthy and normal pregnancy, it is absolutely safe to have sex right up until the last trimester. Having sex during pregnancy is good for both your body and your relationship. Studies have even shown that pregnant women who have sex regularly are less likely to have preterm deliveries.

However, if your doctor has mentioned that you have a high-risk pregnancy or suggested that sex should be avoided due to certain exceptional situations, it is better to abide by the doctor’s advice and abstain from sex.

When is Having Sex During Pregnancy not Safe?

If you are wondering when a pregnant woman should stop having sex, here are some situations when your doctor may advise you to avoid sex during pregnancy:

  • History of Miscarriage: If you have a history of miscarriages before this pregnancy, it is safer to abstain from sex.
  • Vaginal Bleeding: Vaginal bleeding or spotting could be signs of a threatened early miscarriage, and during pregnancy, it is better to avoid sex if you have any vaginal bleeding.
  • Pelvic Pain: If you have pelvic pain or abdominal cramps after intercourse, you should contact your doctor immediately and avoid sex during pregnancy.
  • Placenta Previa: If you have a low-lying placenta or placenta previa, sex should be avoided during pregnancy.
  • Incompetent Cervix: If you have a weak or incompetent cervix, sex during pregnancy is unsafe. The cervix is the opening to the uterus and is located above the vagina. A weak cervix can open too soon and cause you to go into labour prematurely.
  • STDs: If you or your partner have a sexually transmitted disease, you should abstain from sex during pregnancy as you may contract that disease and it could affect the pregnancy.
  • History of Preterm Labour: If you have given birth to a premature baby in the past or show signs of preterm labour in this pregnancy, it is safer to avoid sex.
  • If You Are Pregnant With Multiples: If you are carrying twins or triplets, you should avoid sex as this may cause cramps, bleeding or contractions. Multiple pregnancies are at a higher risk of going into preterm labour and having sex could trigger this.
  • If Your Water Has Broken: When your water breaks, the amniotic sac full of fluid that protects the baby in the uterus tears. This fluid then leaks from the vagina. It is unsafe to have sex if your water has broken as it can cause infections in the baby.

How Can Your Sex Life Be Affected by Pregnancy?

Pregnancy can drastically affect your sex life. Sex drive can increase or decrease throughout the pregnancy due to various changes in the body. Many women may experience a lower sex drive due to hormonal fluctuations, and self-consciousness about their appearance. However, there are pregnant women who also report an increase in libido.

First Trimester: 

During the first trimester, women are affected by morning sickness, mood swings, fatigue, tender breasts, and the urge to urinate frequently. All these along with hormonal changes can cause a decrease in libido.

Second Trimester: 

Many women report an increased libido when they have sex during pregnancy’s 2nd trimester. The morning sickness and other discomforts of the first trimester usually disappear in the second trimester. The pregnant belly is still small enough so that you can have sex comfortably. Women have an increased blood volume during pregnancy, and this causes increased blood circulation in the pelvic region and engorgement of the vagina. This may heighten sensation in that region and help women orgasm more easily.

Third Trimester:

A lot of women report a decrease in libido when they have sex during pregnancy’s 3rd trimester. This is because many sex positions may feel uncomfortable as the belly gets bigger. You may also feel less interested in sex as you are anxious about the childbirth and motherhood as the due date nears. These feelings are completely normal, and it is not uncommon for women to abstain from sex in the last trimester.

Benefits of Pregnancy Sex

Sex during a normal and healthy pregnancy can be beneficial for both the mother-to-be and the baby. Here are some benefits of having sex during pregnancy:

  • Better Orgasms: Increased blood flow to the pelvic areas heightens sensation in the genitals, and this helps women orgasm more easily, even multiple times.
  • Better Sleep: Sex during pregnancy relaxes the mother and helps you sleep better. Also, the rocking movement of sex can lull the baby to sleep.
  • Increases Immunity: Studies have found that sex increases levels of a specific antibody that fights colds and infections.
  • Decreases Pain: Having an orgasm releases a hormone called oxytocin that has been found to increase tolerance for pain by over 70%.
  • Reduces Blood Pressure: Having sex lowers blood pressure. This is beneficial for pregnant women as high blood pressure can cause a dangerous condition called preeclampsia.
  • Improves Intimacy: The hormone oxytocin released during orgasm is also called the ‘love hormone’, and it increases feelings of intimacy and attachment to your partner.

IMPROVED INTIMACY

  • Accelerates Recovery Post Childbirth: Having an orgasm during pregnancy helps in preparing the pelvic floor for childbirth. This, in turn, accelerates recovery post childbirth.
  • Increases Happiness: Having an orgasm causes the release of chemicals called endorphins, which are linked to feelings of pleasure, sensuality, pain relief, and elation. This makes both the mother and the baby happy and relaxed.
  • Burns Calories: Sex is a good way to burn calories. 30 minutes of sex can burn over 50 calories. So, sex during pregnancy is a great way to remain fit.

Signs of Problems During and After Sex when Pregnant

If there are any signs of problems during sex when you are pregnant, you should stop immediately and contact your doctor. Similarly, you should contact your doctor right away for any problems you may have after intercourse. Some side effects of sex during pregnancy that women may experience include bleeding or spotting, increased foetal activity, and uterine contractions. Light bleeding or spotting and mild cramps after sex are quite common. However, You may want to approach a sex therapist if you have any of these problems during and after sex when pregnant:

How Can You Have Sex Safely during Pregnancy?

Here are a few pregnancy sex tips to ensure you and your baby are safe from infections:

  • Protect Yourself From STDs: Sexually transmitted diseases are dangerous for the mom-to-be and the baby. STDs can be contracted through oral, anal or vaginal sex. During pregnancy, have sex with only one person and make sure he does not have multiple sex partners. Avoid sex with a partner who has an STD.
  • Avoid Anal Sex: Anal sex involves anal penetration by the penis. This is unsafe during pregnancy as the anus is full of bacteria that can cause infections. It is best to avoid anal sex during pregnancy.
  • Avoid Blowing Air Into The Vagina: If you have oral sex, make sure your partner avoids blowing air into your vagina. This can cause an air embolism, which is an air bubble that can block blood vessels.

Sex Positions to Try during Pregnancy

Here are some safe and comfortable sex positions that you can try during pregnancy:

  • Sitting Down: Sit on your partner’s lap while he sits on a stable chair. You can control the depth of penetration by standing or squatting.
  • Side By Side: This position, also called spooning, reduces the pressure on your belly during sex. Lay sideways with your partner lying behind you. This allows only shallow penetration.

SPOONING

  • Woman on Top: This position reduces pressure on your abdomen and lets you control the speed and depth of penetration. This position is linked to higher sexual satisfaction in pregnant women. The man lays back or sits, and the woman straddles him while facing either forward or back.

Can You Have Oral Sex while Pregnant?

Oral sex is absolutely safe to have during pregnancy. However, ensure that your partner does not blow air into the vagina. This may cause a dangerous condition called an air embolism. Also, avoid oral sex with a partner who has an STD.

Other Way You Can Get Closer to Your Partner

If you are not interested in having sex, it is perfectly all right. There are other ways to get closer to your partner:

  • Cuddling and caressing
  • Massages – Giving each other massages can heighten the intimacy between couples.
  • Kissing
  • Mutual Masturbation- Touching each other to bring yourselves to orgasm is another way of being intimate with your partner without having sex.
  • Oral Sex- If vaginal sex makes you uncomfortable, try oral sex. This way, you can be intimate without the discomfort of vaginal sex during pregnancy.

KISSING

FAQs

Here is all you need to know about some frequently asked questions about sex during pregnancy:

1. Can Having Sex Trigger My Labour?

Having sex has not been conclusively linked to triggering labour in any scientific study. However, there is a reason it may trigger labour in the last trimester. Semen contains prostaglandins that soften the cervix. Also, an orgasm can cause the release of the hormone oxytocin, which induces labour.

2. Will Pregnancy Affect The Sex Drive Of My Partner?

Your pregnancy may affect your partner’s sex drive for various reasons. These include anxiety about having sex in the presence of the unborn child, concerns about the health of you and your baby, your health and your baby’s well-being, and worry that sex might hurt the unborn baby. It is best to communicate openly with each other and consult your doctor about any concerns you both may have about sex during pregnancy.

3. Can Sex During First Trimester Cause Miscarriage?

There is no evidence that sex during the first trimester causes miscarriage. Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester, but are caused due to chromosomal abnormalities in the foetus and not because of sex.

Sex is completely safe during pregnancy and can be beneficial for the mother and the baby. In a healthy pregnancy, it is absolutely fine to have regular sex. However, it is best to consult a doctor about this if you have a difficult or high-risk pregnancy. You can have a satisfying sex life when you are pregnant if you communicate honestly with your partner about your likes and dislikes. Use the tips in this article to make your sex life more fulfilling during pregnancy.

Also Read: Sex after Delivery