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Essential Guide To Pregnancy Sex: All That You Need To Know

Posted on June 22 2021

Pregnancy sex can be thrilling for some, while others shy away from it as they are filled with concerns on whether it will affect their baby.


Can I have sex when I’m pregnant? Will it hurt my baby? Yes and No! Once we’re over the moon about having a bun in the oven, these might be questions that start to form in our head and especially with raging hormones all over the place, feeling sexy might be the last thing on our minds. But the general rule is, as long as you feel comfortable, go for it! Read on as we discuss some of these questions about sex during pregnancy.


Is pregnancy sex safe?


This is always the first question you would ask the minute you know you’ve a baby growing inside of you. Is sex during pregnancy safe? How safe is safe? When is it safe? Research has shown that pregnancy sex is not only safe, it is encouraged! Yes you heard us! According to Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics, gynaecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical School, "Sex [during pregnancy] in general is absolutely fine”.[1] Sex does not cause miscarriage and your baby is very well-protected in their little impenetrable fortress, within the sturdy walls of the uterus, behind the cervix and further cushioned by amniotic fluid.


For all you know, the rocking motion might lull them to sleep! That being said, think sensible – no ambitious positions or rigorous acts should be attempted at this time because if anything, you wouldn’t want a case of trauma to your vagina or cervix.


Will pregnancy sex be different?


For sure, you’ll notice some difference before and after pregnancy and for some it might be subtle, while others not so. Your libido fluctuates throughout pregnancy and for most, the first trimester when you’re nauseated and third trimester when you’ve just about had it with being all heavy, are when sex is the last thing on your mind. Your blood volume increases by about 40% during pregnancy meaning you’ll be faced with swollen tender breasts and sensitivity is heightened throughout all your erogenous zones. What does that mean? More intense and perhaps even multiple orgasms that you never thought were possible! With that plus the release of "love" hormones oxytocin and endorphins, pregnancy sex will feel different alright, if not even better than before. Due to higher oestrogen levels when you’re pregnant, you might experience more vaginal lubrication, which you’d either find pleasurable or may not.


Is it normal if my sex drive is affected during pregnancy?


Don’t be alarmed if you’re not in the mood for any lovin’ when you’re all preggie. This is perfectly normal especially as there's the release of the prolactin hormone throughout pregnancy that may reduce libido. Mood swings, morning sickness and an overall worry about how your body is suddenly doubling in size also may contribute to your sex drive taking a nose dive. Even your partner’s sex drive may fluctuate due to anxieties about parenthood, caring for baby or how one’s lifestyle will change once your baby is born. Sexual relationships may stagnate, improve or for some, suffer, during pregnancy. The best way to approach this is to openly communicate your feelings, needs as well as expectations.

Whichever sexual positions you choose, as long as both you and your partner are comfortable, that’s all that matters.


When should sex be avoided?


If sex during pregnancy causes you pain, then that’s a clear signal to stop and check with your gynaecologist. You should also restrict sex if you’ve had preterm labour or birth in a previous pregnancy, or are currently at risk for pre-term labour. Reason being, any activity like orgasm and nipple stimulation that leads to uterine contractions accelerates the risk for premature labour. If you’ve been diagnosed with placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta is covering your cervix, pregnancy sex should also be abstained else you risk causing your placenta to bleed, endangering you and your baby. Bleeding after intercourse too is never a good sign so the minute you encounter that, halt until the bleeding has been evaluated.


What about oral sex during pregnancy?


According to Associate Professor Tan Thiam Chye, Head and Senior Consultant, Inpatient Service, Department of General Obstetrics & Gynaecology, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), oral sex is perfectly safe. However, he says to avoid having air blown forcefully into you due to the rare possibility of an air bubble developing in a blood vessel in the area.[2]


Which sex positions are the most comfortable during pregnancy?


Missionary positions might be slightly different due to your growing bump and any position with deep penetration might be uncomfy too especially during your third trimester. Opt for sideways or being on top so that you have more control and keeps the weight off your abdomen. Rear entry positions are also a good choice. This might be an ideal time to experiment on various positions and find one or two that works for both of you!

Most research show that where low-risk pregnancies are concerned, there is no correlation between sex during pregnancy and the induction of labour.


Should cramping or spotting after sex be a concern?


If either of these happens to you, take a deep breath, pause, and don’t panic. Uterine contraction may have resulted because of orgasms so slight cramping after sex isn’t usual. This is the same for spotting as increased blood flow during pregnancy makes blood vessels more fragile on the cervix surface and susceptible to bleeding. However, if the cramping or bleeding persists, call your gynae right away.


Can pregnancy sex induce labour?


Likely this is a fuddy-duddy tale that has never been accurately validated by scientific studies. The results of a 2019 research conducted on low-risk pregnancies indicate that “there is neither association with preterm birth, premature rupture of membranes, or low birth weight, nor with spontaneous onset of labour at term.”[3] There are also Canadian studies[4] that have concluded this. If you do feel mild contractions after sex during your third trimester, it might be that an orgasm or sexual penetration could have induced Braxton Hicks. These contractions do not indicate or induce labour so don’t worry.


Are there any benefits of having sex during pregnancy?


Of course! Medical News Today[5] states that some possible benefits include stronger orgasms and a boost to your immune system. Orgasms also release endorphins that can help you and your little bub feel calm and relaxed. Sex during pregnancy has also been said to bring a couple even closer than before.


In most cases, if you’re experiencing a normal low-risk pregnancy, having regular sex poses no risk to you or your baby. Your sexual desires may have taken a turn for the better or worse and some positions might become more or less comfortable throughout your pregnancy journey. The best way to overcome this is to share intimately and openly with your partner. You’ll find that such communication will enable both of you to enjoy your pregnancy journey and have a healthy sex life throughout.


Relevant Reads: Motherhood and Sexual Wellness: Changing the Conversation One Category at a Time

Credits: Georgia Maciel, We-Vibe WOW Tech, cottonbro


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