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Questions and Answers about Sex During Pregnancy

So you’ve just found out you’re pregnant and this is the greatest news ever!  Maybe it’s a surprise; maybe you’ve been trying for ages; or maybe it all happened “according to plan”.  Whatever the case may be, sooner or later you will probably find yourself sitting down and thinking, “Well, I know sex got me pregnant, but what about now? Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?” This is an important question and one that every responsible parent-to-be should be asking. This article will discuss some of the most frequently asked questions on this topic as follows:

Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?

If your pregnancy is progressing normally you can have sex as often as you like. Your growing baby will not be affected by any sexual activity as it is protected by the amniotic fluid in your uterus.  The strong muscles of the uterus wall also form a protective shield around the baby. Then there is a thick mucus plug at the entrance to the cervix, effectively sealing off the uterus so that no infections can enter. And if you are worried about the effect of having an orgasm, this does indeed cause mild contractions to the uterus, but it is in no way harmful to the baby in a normal or low risk pregnancy. So generally speaking, it is perfectly safe to have sex during pregnancy. However, in certain situations, caution or abstinence is advised.

When is it NOT safe to have sex during pregnancy?

At all times during pregnancy, it is important to be in close contact with your doctor or healthcare provider who will advise you accordingly. In certain cases you may be advised to avoid sex, for example if you are experiencing vaginal bleeding or if your amniotic fluid is leaking.  If the cervix opens prematurely it is not safe to have sex as infection may occur. Another red light would be if you have placenta previa which means that the placenta is partly or completely covering the cervical opening. If you have a history of premature birth or preterm labor, then caution is advised, as well as if you are carrying more than one baby.

Can sex during pregnancy cause a miscarriage or premature labor?

This is often a concern for expectant parents, but generally in a normal pregnancy sex does not cause either a miscarriage or premature labor.  Most miscarriages are caused because the foetus is not developing normally for whatever reason.  With regard to the uterine contractions caused by orgasms and the prostaglandins in semen, these do not result in preterm labour or premature birth in a normal or low risk pregnancy. If you have a high risk pregnancy, your healthcare provider would probably recommend that you avoid sex.

Are some sexual positions better than others during pregnancy?

This would depend on your personal preferences and what you feel comfortable with.  Most positions are fine as long as you do not feel discomfort. The further along you go in your pregnancy, you may find you need to adjust and experiment to find what works best for you and your partner. You may find that lying sideways, or on top or in front of your partner works better than being flat on your back. Be creative and use your sense of humor to bring pleasure to one another during this very special time of your lives when you are expecting the birth of your own special baby which will be a unique combination of the two of you.

Is oral and anal sex safe during pregnancy?

Oral sex is safe during pregnancy, provided that your partner does not blow air into your vagina. This is risky in the sense that it might cause a venous air embolism which happens when air gets into a blood vessel and blocks the flow of blood. This can occur if there is tear or an injury in the vagina, uterus or placenta. An air embolism can be life-threatening for you and your baby. When it comes to anal sex, this is best avoided due to the risk of bacteria spreading from the rectum to the vagina and causing infections.

What about sex drive during pregnancy?

You may just find that your sex drive diminishes during pregnancy, especially the further along you go. After the twenty-second week of pregnancy it is normal for a woman’s sex drive to decrease significantly. This can be due to a whole range of changes taking place in your body, from hormonal fluctuations to weight gain. Other physical side-effects of the pregnancy can be back pain, tenderness of the breasts, nausea, fatigue, indigestion and leg cramps. These may all contribute to making you feeling anything but ‘sexy’, in fact sex may be the last thing you want. Even if you do feel like it, you may experience pain and discomfort during intercourse. This is where it is important to be gentle and understanding with each other, sharing your needs and feelings openly with your partner.

What effect do psychological factors have on sex during pregnancy?

Mood swings can be a common occurrence during pregnancy due to the increase of hormones in your body as the baby grows bigger and bigger. Your emotions can be in turmoil, from extreme excitement and joy about the baby you are expecting, to fear and worry about giving birth and what happens after that. Some women have a special “glow” during pregnancy, while others feel awkward, overweight and unattractive – or some combination of both these views. All of these psychological factors can affect the frequency that a couple may have sex when they are expecting.

How can we stay intimate during pregnancy?

There is much more to intimacy than having sexual intercourse. Pregnancy is the time when you and your partner can draw closer to one another as you prepare for the privilege and responsibility of welcoming your little one into your home and family. It is a time to be extra gentle and understanding with one another. Things like massages, foot washing and back rubs can be a great way to connect and stay intimate. And of course, lots of hugs, kisses and cuddles!

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Sylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, [...]

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