Once you fall pregnant, chances are there will be a flood of questions you’ll want answered by your OBGYN. Is my baby healthy? What foods do I need to eat? How often do I need to exercise? What kind of vitamins should I be taking? Can I travelt? The list goes on and on. One question that crops up again and again is, can I still have sex?
The simple answer is yes, you can have sex during pregnancy! In fact, it is encouraged. It will help you and your partner feel close and can help you feel more relaxed and comfortable.
If for any reason you cannot have sex while pregnant, your doctor will tell you so. We’re sure you still have a thousand more questions, so let’s dive a little deeper into the topic.
Can Sex During Pregnancy Hurt Your Baby?
No, penetration and the movements involved during intercourse cannot harm your baby. First of all, during sex the penis does not pass beyond the vagina, meaning it won’t travel nearly far enough to come in contact with your uterus. Secondly, the fluid inside the amniotic sac and the muscles that surround the uterus protect the baby from any movements during the act. Thirdly, a thick layer of mucus guards the cervix helping ward off infection.
How Might Sex Be Different During Pregnancy?
Although sex is totally fine during pregnancy, it may be completely different to before for a number of reasons.
The hormones that flood your body during pregnancy may cause your erogenous zones to become more sensitive. This can be a good thing or a bad thing – it’s different for everyone. Your may find yourself sensitive to the point that sex no longer feels good, and this is totally normal. On the other hand you may find that sex is far more pleasurable, that it’s easier to orgasm, or that you’re having multiple orgasms. If this is the case, enjoy it! Sometimes, the increase in sensitivity can be so great as to be uncomfortable. If that is the case, be sure to discuss it with your partner. Nobody wants sex to be unpleasant!
You may find that throughout your pregnancy your libido fluctuates wildly. There are a number of reasons for this: nausea and exhaustion during your first trimester may wipe out your libido completely. You may find that as your breasts grow and hormone levels increase during your second trimester your sex drive increases. As your belly grows and the anxiety around your approaching due date mounts, you may find yourself less inclined to have sex. You may find that you have no sex drive at all over your three trimesters, and that’s completely fine too. It’s different for every woman. Just run with it.
As your hormones levels fluctuate during pregnancy, you may find yourself less or more lubricated down there than usual. In the first trimester, it is common to be a little dry, and during the second trimester it’s often the opposite. If you find yourself in the position of needing to use lubricant, it’s best to use a water-based variety. Avoid any lubricants that contain glycerin, parabens, fragrances or additives.
Sex during pregnancy doesn’t need to be any different from intercourse when you are not pregnant; as long as you are comfortable, any position is fine (you will find out soon enough what works for you and what simply does not). That being said, avoid the missionary position after the fourth month of pregnancy. Lying flat on your back can cause the uterus to press on major blood vessels, restricting blood flow to your baby and increasing blood pressure. In most cases, oral sex and other sexual acts during pregnancy are fine too.
Cramping is common after intercourse during pregnancy. Orgasms and the prostaglandins in semen can cause uterine contractions for an hour or two. If this happens to you, there’s no reason to be concerned. However, if they last any longer or are accompanied by bleeding or abnormal vaginal discharge, call your doctor.
In What Cases Should I Not Have Sex During Pregnancy?
That being said, there are some cases where sex during pregnancy may not be safe. If so, your doctor will tell you so and advise the best course of action (for example, this may mean no to all sexual acts, or it may mean no to just intercourse).
Some of the reason it may not be safe:
• You are at risk for miscarriage
• You are at risk of preterm labor
• You have unexplained vaginal bleeding, cramping or vaginal discharge
• You are leaking amniotic fluid (this may be due to a rupture)
• Your cervix has begun to open too early
• Your placenta is low in the uterus, partly or completely covers your cervical opening (placenta previa)
• You are having “multiples” (twins, triplets etc)
• The presence of a sexually transmitted infection
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
If there is a chance of you contracting a STI, such as if you are not in a monogamous relationship or if your partner has a known infection, it is recommended that you avoid having intercourse, or at the very least, use condoms or other contraceptives that reduce the risk of infection. STIs during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage or preterm delivery.
If you have any questions about sex during pregnancy or would like to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.