Sex During Pregnancy
Most research suggests that, during pregnancy, sexual desire and frequency of sexual relations decrease. In context of this overall decrease in desire, some studies indicate a second-trimester increase, preceding a decrease. However, these decreases are not universal: a significant number of women report greater sexual satisfaction throughout their pregnancies.
According to some couples, pregnancy is a time for great sex. For others it may be a time of concern and fears. Your husband might find your pregnant body more desirable, but you may feel anxious about your baby’s wellbeing. For some women, the hormonal changes bring about an increased sex drive. Others may be completely averse to the idea of making love.
The best way to overcome your fears is to discuss your feelings with your husband. In case of any doubt or fears about sex during pregnancy, you should also consult your doctor. Every woman wants to have a safe and healthy pregnancy. In fact, many women go to great lengths to ensure their baby’s well being by tailoring their stress levels, sleeping patterns, diets and even leaving bad habits (like smoking and alcohol consumption) to accommodate the new life inside them. But there is always a cloud of uncertainty around how safe it is to have sex during pregnancy.
Although, we often think of women as being the most sensitive about the health and well- being of their baby during pregnancy, in fact many men report feeling awkward about initiating sexual activity due to fear of causing pain or problems for either their partner or their baby. On the other hand, many women actually say they experience a heightened sense of sexual desire during pregnancy, which is likely to be caused by hormonal changes that cause the vulva (the area around the opening of the vagina) to enlarge and the breasts to be extra sensitive.
However, this feeling will likely vary in intensity throughout the pregnancy. For example, women who experience morning sickness and general fatigue during their first trimester are not likely to feel particularly desirous. And once a woman reaches her third trimester she may be feeling uncomfortable due to weight gain, and therefore may feel discomfort or a lack of desire for sex during this time.
In any case, talking with your partner in an open and honest way about your feelings regularly is the best way to ensure you both feel connected and fulfilled. If you are experiencing a normal pregnancy (or one that is considered as low-risk for miscarriage or premature birth) then it is perfectly normal to have sex while pregnant.
SAFE SEX POSITIONS
Once a woman has reached the second trimester it is generally not encouraged that she lie on her back due to the added pressure her growing uterus would place on major blood vessels; thus making sex in the missionary position is increasingly risky – not to mention uncomfortable. Here are several other positions that you can try,
- Spooning (while lying down man enters woman from behind)
- Woman on top
- Woman on hands and knees, rear entry
- Side lying, woman’s knee pulled up
- Doggy style
Also, be aware that oral sex can be harmful if the man blows air into your vagina, as this could potentially block a blood vessel.
WHEN CAN SEX BE HARMFUL TO A PREGNANCY?
For women experiencing normal pregnancies, sexual intercourse should have no bearing on the overall health and safety of your baby. The baby is safely stowed in the uterus, where the amniotic sac and strong muscles protect the baby from coming into contact with the penis. Neither intercourse nor orgasm will cause you to have a miscarriage.
Many women also worry about orgasms inducing labor. In fact, semen does contain a chemical that could encourage contractions, which is why many health experts do not recommend having sex during the final weeks of pregnancy. Of course you should first visit your health care provider early to determine what risks (if any) intercourse could pose to your baby.
REASONS TO AVOID SEX DURING PREGNANCY
- Your doctor has advised against it.
- You have a history of premature birth or labor.
- If your placenta partially or completely covers your cervix (placenta previa).
- Your water has broken.
- Your are currently experiencing unexplained bleeding/Spotting.
- Either yourself or your partner have an active, sexually transmitted disease (STD).
- During the first trimester if a woman has a history of miscarriages or threatened miscarriage, or shows signs of a threatened miscarriage.
- During the last trimester if a woman has a history of premature or threatened premature labor, or is experiencing signs of early labor In the last trimester, if twins are being carried.
- You may also be advised to avoid sex during pregnancy if your husband has genital herpes. If you catch genital herpes for the first time during pregnancy there is a small risk that it could affect your developing baby.
But remember that even in the absence of these symptoms your body will tell you what is right for you. If for any reason you are feeling uncomfortable about the prospect of intercourse during pregnancy, then speak with your partner and your doctor so you can make your pregnancy the best time for you.