A Pinch Of Thoughts

Should I Have Sex During Pregnancy?

Good News! Those little pink lines on the pregnancy test kit and your OB has confirmed that you are pregnant, and from two, you are now going to be three!

You are happy, elated, a bit nervous, anxious and your mind is filled with so many questions about your baby and the pregnancy. Amongst those, is this one lingering question- can I have sex during pregnancy?

Obviously, to get pregnant you and your partner must have had many bedroom sessions, but now that you are pregnant, it is normal that you might be slightly apprehensive about doing the deed.

The answer is- YES, unless you are advised otherwise by your OB.

For many couples, the idea of sex during pregnancy can be a slight tricky and your feelings towards sex might change. And it is quite natural.

The truth is that sex during pregnancy can be slightly different. You might find frequent fluctuations in your sex drive. If you tend to feel nauseated, especially during the first trimester then probably you might not be up for it.

 During pregnancy, the blood volume increases by 40 per cent approximately. And this increase in blood volume might not only cause your breasts to swell but also you might find an increased sensitivity in your amorous zones- and that again is a good thing as you can have multiple intense orgasms.

Since we are talking about the “Good News”, I would like to begin with the positive aspects and benefits of sex during pregnancy:

1. It helps in easing pain and discomfort.

During these days you tend to have those little aches and pains like headaches, backaches and cramps, a bit of bloating etc. Having sex during pregnancy is a great way to ease such kind of pains-thanks to the hormone called oxytocin that is released during orgasms. This hormone not only enables you to deal with pain but also helps in increasing your level of pain tolerance.

2. Helps in keeping you fit.

Now, this we all know. Sex burns calories and sex during pregnancy is going to do just the same. Obviously, you also need to maintain your physical health by doing other forms of exercises recommended by your physician.

3. Helps get better sleep.

Sex during pregnancy is known to help you relax and improve your quality of sleep.

4. Increased circulation in the body

As mentioned earlier, there is an increase in blood volume during pregnancy. Sex during pregnancy aids in better and improved blood circulation in the body, in turn providing enough oxygen and nutrition to the baby/foetus.

5. Helps in Strengthening the Pelvic Muscles

I consider this to be one of the greatest benefits of sex during pregnancy; especially during the third trimester. Regular sex helps in keeping the pelvic muscles toned and strong which in turn proves to be beneficial during labor.

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6. Helps in Lowering the Blood Pressure

Certain hormones that are released post orgasm, helps in lowering the blood pressure as the body goes into the relaxed state.

Caution: You need to consult your doctor in case of preeclampsia.

7. Helps in better Bladder control.

During pregnancy frequent visits to the bathroom or experiencing leaking while sneezing is very common. However, sex during pregnancy helps to contract these muscles and make them strong. This helps to regulate the flow of urine.

8. Helps Boost Immunity

It is known that pregnancy brings about a decrease in the immunity levels of expectant mothers. That is precisely the reason why the doctors prescribe certain supplements and advice to be moms to lead a healthy lifestyle to ensure that they are not prone to any illnesses that could be risky for both the mother and the child. Certain research state that sex during pregnancy helps in strengthening the immunity.

Researchers claim that sex during pregnancy increases the levels of IgA antibodies which improve the resistance to cold and flu. However, there is a dearth of evidence and this topic remains debatable.

9. Helps in improving the bond between the couple.

Pregnancy is nothing short of an emotional roller-coaster for the to-be parents. Being sexually intimate during these times strengthens the bond between the couple and helps them handle this phase with ease and makes it relatively complication free.

10. Helps improve self-esteem.

Once you are pregnant, your body is no more the same. There are a lot of physical changes and that could possibly make you feel less attractive or sexy. Frequent sex during pregnancy could make you feel more confident and help in uplifting your mood levels.

11. Makes labor easy.

As mentioned earlier, sex during pregnancy strengthens the pelvic muscles and helps in opening the cervix. This makes labor easier.

12. Helps in postpartum recovery.

Frequent sex during pregnancy and the orgasms conditions the pelvic floor for delivery. Not only that, but it also accelerates the postpartum recovery. Many a times, women find it difficult to perform Kegel exercises to strengthen their pelvic muscles. If you are one of them, then having frequent intercourse can do that for you.

These were some of the benefits of having sex during pregnancy. Here, I need to add that it must be consensual.

Now, let’s get an idea as to when to avoid sex during pregnancy:

  1. If you have had a history of miscarriages, then your doctor would mostly advice you to refrain from sexual intercourse.
  2. If you are expecting twins or triplets etc.
  3. If you have a condition called ‘placenta pervia’. This is a condition where the baby’s placenta is partially or completely covers the mother’s cervix. In these cases, you might experience bleeding during the entire pregnancy.
  4. When the doctor tells you that you have an “incompetent cervix”. This is also known as cervical insufficiency. This doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with your cervix. This simple means that your cervix has opened too early during pregnancy. In normal cases, the cervix is closed and firm and it gradually dilates during pregnancy.
  5. If you experience early contractions; that is before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  6. If you have spotting, cramps, or any kind of vaginal discharge for no obvious reason.
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In case your doctor has told you “not to have sex” then it could also mean no orgasm or arousal of any sort. You might want to clarify this with your doctor.

It has been seen that for some women sexual desire fades during pregnancy while in some it is just the opposite. You need to have a frank discussion with you partner about how you feel.

And if your doctor has given you a clean chit to have sex, then you could check out some safe sexual positions for every trimester here.

Now let’s go through some common questions or doubts the new moms to-be tend to have in their minds.

·        Will having sex hurt my baby?

No. It won’t. Keep in mind that your baby is well protected by the ‘amniotic sac’ and thick uterine walls. These two protect and cushion your baby from any kind of motion. Also, you might find that your partner might not be too keen on having sex. This also could be because he too is worried about hurting his child. It is advisable that you have a talk with your partner about this or both of you can have an open discussion with your OB.

·        Will sex cause miscarriage?

No. Sex during pregnancy will never cause miscarriage. It is known that the chances of miscarriage are higher during the first trimester. However, if you do not have a history of miscarriages, then sex during pregnancy is absolutely safe.

·        Will the penis hurry my baby?

No. Truth be told, it won’t even reach the foetus; at any point during pregnancy. The baby is protected by many layers such as the cervix, uterus, and the amniotic sac.

·        Can orgasms cause early (pre-term) labor?

There are chances only if you have crossed 37 weeks or let’s say nearing your term or due. When you experience an orgasm, it is common to experience some amount of cramping. But keep an eye. If you feel that you are experiencing cramping every hour or two, then that is an indication of pre-term or early labor.

·        Is my baby watching? Does my baby know?

No way. Not at all. Yes, your baby might kick up a storm inside because of these sudden movements but no way does your baby know “what mommy and daddy are up to!”

I would like to mention here, that your baby’s movements may interrupt your flow or mess your groove. But that could be awkward for you and your partner, not the baby. Sex doesn’t bother them at all!

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·        Is oral sex safe? Or will the sperm affect my baby?

Yes, oral sex is perfectly safe. If your partner decides to pleasure you, then make sure that he doesn’t blow into the vagina. This could cause air to enter the bloodstream and cause a vessel block. This is known as ‘air embolism’. It is risky during pregnancy as blood vessels in the pelvis are more dilated.

And if it is your turn to pleasure your partner, then you can be rest assured that the semen will cause no harm to the baby. The only catch here is, your partner should be free of any form of STD (Sexually Transmitted Diseases). This is something you and your partner should talk about and probably get tested for the same. This could be awkward for the both of you, but this is very important for both the mother and the baby’s health.

·        Is it normal to have high sex drive during pregnancy?

Now that depends. Sex drive may vary from woman to woman. Some women find it difficult to deal with the fatigue, nausea etc and just don’t feel like having sex while some tend to have a heightened desire for sex during pregnancy due to an increased level of oxytocin, commonly known as the love hormone.

To sum it up:

By the time you get pregnant, you know what your preferences are. But sex during pregnancy is a different ball game altogether. It can be challenging for you and your partner in many ways, but you need not get frustrated. At times, the sex might be amazing with powerful multiple orgasms but sometimes the morning sickness and the fatigue and all the changes happening in your body might make you hate the idea of having sex during pregnancy. Also, if you think that period sex is messy, then sex during pregnancy is definitely messier; especially towards the end of the pregnancy, where there is frequent vaginal discharge and leaky breasts.

But having said that, if you and your partner can openly discuss and communicate, then be rest assured that sex during pregnancy will be some of the best sex you could ever have. It is way better than your regular, normal sex. Once both, you and your partner get past the discomfort, it is way more enjoyable than regular sex. The orgasms are powerful, the bond between you and your partner becomes stronger, your partner has a better understanding of your needs and obviously, do not forget the benefits I mentioned in the beginning of the article.