When a woman's partner comes to her prenatal appointments with her, the man often asks if it is safe for him and his partner to have sex during pregnancy. I'm always glad to be asked this question because it gives me an opportunity to discuss something very important to this couple. As we all know, sexual intimacy is a wonderful way to express love for each other. Just because pregnancy has occurred doesn't mean this form of closeness has to stop.
In most instances, my response is, "Yes, it's OK to have sex." In all but a few instances, sexual intercourse or other forms of lovemaking present few problems for the woman or the baby. Occasionally caution must be used, however. Your own doctor, who knows your pregnancy so well, will be able to advise what is best in your case.
If you and your husband are concerned about sexual activity during pregnancy, discuss it with your doctor. You need to rule out any complications and ask for individual advice. Most doctors agree sex can be a part of a normal pregnancy.
Frequent sexual activity should not be harmful to a healthy pregnancy. Usually a couple can continue the level of sexual activity they are used to. If you are concerned, discuss it with your healthcare provider.
Fear for the Baby
It's common for a couple to worry about having sex because "it might hurt the baby." However, sexual activity doesn't usually harm a growing baby. Neither intercourse nor orgasm should be a problem if you have a healthy pregnancy. The baby is well protected by the amniotic sac and amniotic fluid. Uterine muscles are strong and protect the baby, and a thick mucus plug seals the cervix, which helps protect against infection. Often it's the man who asks about sex during pregnancy. You might want to discuss this with your doctor if your partner goes with you to your appointments. If he doesn't, assure him there should be no problems if the pregnancy is normal.
If you feel the baby move more after sexual intercourse, it doesn't mean it was disturbed, uncomfortable or in danger. Your baby moves a lot, no matter what you're doing.
Desire for Sex
Stronger sex drive.
Researchers have reported that pregnancy enhances the sex drive for some women. Some women may experience orgasms or multiple orgasms for the first time during pregnancy. This is due to heightened hormonal activity and increased blood flow to the pelvic area.
During the first trimester, you may experience fatigue and nausea. During the third trimester, weight gain, an enlarging abdomen, tender breasts and other problems may make you feel less desirous of sex. Any of these may cause you to feel a decreased desire to have sex. This is normal. Tell your partner how you're feeling, and try to work out a solution that is good for both of you.
Feel "less sexy." You may feel less attractive during pregnancy, but many men find a pregnant woman very attractive. If you experience these feelings, discuss them with your partner.
Sex is individual; you won't fit any pattern perfectly. Tenderness and understanding can help you both.
Physical Discomfort during Lovemaking
You may find new positions for lovemaking are necessary. Your larger abdomen may make some positions uncomfortable. In addition, physicians advise a woman not to lie flat on her back from the beginning of the third trimester until the birth. The weight of the uterus restricts circulation. Lie on your side or with you on top.
As I've mentioned, discuss any complications and concerns with your doctor throughout your pregnancy. If you have unusual symptoms during or following sexual activity, discuss them before resuming sex.
Miscarriage and Early Labor
If you have a history of miscarriage, your doctor may caution you against sex and orgasm. However, no data actually links sexual intercourse and miscarriage.
What to Avoid
Don't insert any object into the vagina that could cause injury or infection. Blowing air into the vagina is also dangerous because it can force a potentially fatal air bubble into the woman's bloodstream. Nipple stimulation releases oxytocin, which causes uterine contractions. You might want to discuss this with your doctor.