So, after you and your partner have been trying for some time, those 2 tiny pink lines have finally shown up on your pregnancy test. You call your obstetrician, and she assures you that your pregnancy is developing normally, but you probably have one more question lingering in your mind: Is it okay to have sex during pregnancy?
Well, the simple answer is – yes. Provided you are in the mood, and have an uncomplicated or low-risk pregnancy of course. Of course, there are a number of things you should be aware of when it comes to having sex during pregnancy. Read on for a comprehensive guide, that’ll cover many of the issues that crop up with regards to intimacy during this sensitive period of time.
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Perceived Risks about Sex During Pregnancy
Most people believe that sex during pregnancy can cause a miscarriage. But there is no evidence to support the belief. Most miscarriages, in fact, occur because of complications in foetal development. In fact, sexual intercourse cannot affect the baby in anyway, as the developing child is well-protected by the strong muscles of your uterus and the amniotic fluid.Studies have shown that having sex during pregnancy is not related to increased risk of premature birth or preterm labor. But if you are at specific risk of preterm labor, having sex is not recommended. If you have a normal risk pregnancy though, sex is not likely to initiate labor, even close to the due date. This is because, although prostaglandins in the man’s semen, nipple stimulation and orgasm can trigger mild uterus contractions, they are normally temporary and harmless.
Sex Positions During Pregnancy
You should never be flat on your back, since the growing weight of the baby and uterus can compress blood vessels, triggering pelvic pain and/or pressure. This condition is more likely to occur during the 3rd trimester. Lying flat on the back can also result in supine hypotensive syndrome – a condition that causes changes in blood pressure and heart rate, resulting in dizziness and other undesirable symptoms.
Besides these two caveats, most sex positions are OK during pregnancy, provided you are comfortable. The trick here is to experiment and find sex positions that work best.
When Sex During Pregnancy Should Be Avoided
Your doctor will recommend avoiding sex if:
- You are leaking amniotic fluid.
- You have abnormal vaginal bleeding.
- You have cervical incompetence (your cervix starts to open prematurely).
- Your placenta partially or completely seals your cervical opening.
- You have a history of premature birth or preterm labor.
- You are carrying multiples.
If you are not facing any of the aforementioned problems, and proceed to have sex, be on the lookout for the following warning signs:
- Foul smelling discharge after intercourse.
- Abnormal discharge during pregnancy (a sign of infection, which can spread upward into the uterus if unchecked).
Sex During Pregnancy: Trimester by Trimester
During the first trimester, the woman experiences nausea and feels tired most of the time – which results in a reduction in sexual desire. However, during the second trimester, you will start feeling more energetic and develop engorgement in their genital area. You may also experience an increase in lubrication. This makes sexual intercourse possibly more satisfying. Sex during pregnancy is still comfortable during the second trimester because the stomach is not yet fully rounded. However, during the third trimester, the fatigue hits back with a vengeance, and sexual intercourse becomes less desirable – not to mention difficult during the final weeks.
Recommended Read: Common Mistakes Made By Pregnant Women
How Sex During Pregnancy Feels Different
Most women agree that sexual intercourse feels different when they are carrying. Some say they find it more enjoyable, at least most of the time, but others say they find it less exciting for – either for part of the pregnancy, or for the whole period of time. The change can be explained by several factors. First, increased blood supply to the pelvic region, as is the case during pregnancy, results in engorgement of the woman’s genitals. The engorgement gives more stimulation and may add to the pregnant woman’s pleasure. The woman may also experience increased moistness and vaginal discharge, and this can be a great plus.
However, some women may find that genital engorgement results in an unsettling feeling of fullness. In addition, sex during pregnancy may cause slight contractions or cramps during or immediately after the sexual activity or orgasm.The woman may feel tender, tingly, and abnormally sensitive to touch, especially during the first trimester. In many women, the tenderness decreases with time, but in some the breasts remain sensitive. Some pregnant women find the tenderness to be appealing, but others don’t, and in fact, may prefer that their partner not touch their breast at all.
Cramping After Sex
If you experience cramping after sex during pregnancy, don’t panic. 30-60 minutes of cramping is not a cause for concern, and is to be expected, as prostaglandins in semen and the orgasm can cause mild uterine contractions. Just lift your feet up, and drown about 3 glasses of water. However, if the cramping becomes serious or you experience spotting, consult your OB.
Resuming Sex After Childbirth
Whether you gave birth by C-section or vaginally, you will need time to recuperate. Hold off on having sex until your doctor gives you the go ahead – normally 4 to 6 weeks after childbirth. This gives time for any repaired lacerations or tears to heal, for the cervix to close, and for postpartum bleeding to cease.
Once you are all set to have sex, go slow – and make sure to use contraception until you are ready for another pregnancy.
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