Sex During Pregnancy – Is it Safe? Risks and Benefits

Sex during pregnancy

The news of pregnancy is indeed exciting for the parents to be, especially for the new mother. It is the beginning of a new chapter of their lives, of new changes and new memories waiting to be made. The mother often finds herself having to make several adjustments in her life, and she may be required to give up many things during the course of pregnancy. However, sexual intercourse does not have to be one of those. With proper knowledge and caution, safe sexual intercourse is possible, even during the course of pregnancy.

In this article we shall discuss in detail about sexual intercourse during pregnancy.

CONTENTS

  1. Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?
  2. What are the benefits of having sex during pregnancy?
  3. What are the risks of having sex during pregnancy?
  4. What are the changes in libido during pregnancy?
  5. Can sex during pregnancy cause premature labour?
  6. What are the safe positions to have sex during pregnancy?
  7. What are some signs of problems that may arise during and after sex, while pregnant?

Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?

For a normal pregnancy without any possible complications, sexual intercourse is perfectly safe and allowed. The growing fetus is well protected by the amniotic fluid, and the strong muscles of the uterus. Also, during penetrative sex, the penis cannot extend beyond the vagina, and hence the baby will not be hurt. 

However, sometimes pregnancy can cause changes in the level of comfort and sexual desire, which may deter the woman from having sexual intercourse.

Even during pregnancy, it is recommended that a condom is used to prevent any possible sexually transmitted diseases, which may cause complications in pregnancy.

What are the benefits of having sex during pregnancy?

Sexual intercourse during pregnancy can be an enriching experience for both the husband and the wife. Some of the benefits of sex during pregnancy are as follows:

  • It can be a means of emotionally bonding with one’s partner: Pregnancy definitely takes a toll on the lives of both the husband and wife, as they navigate through a multitude of emotions and changes. During this time, having sex can improve intimacy and bring about emotional connection between them.
  • It contributes to physical activity for the mother: Sexual intercourse can help burn many calories for the mother, and also helps in lowering her blood pressure.
  • It can alleviate pain and discomfort: During an orgasm, Oxytocin is released, which can improve the pain tolerance.
  • It can improve sleep.
  • It Increases Immunity: Studies have found that sexual intercourse increases the levels of a specific antibody which can fight some infections.
  • It can assist in inducing labour in a term pregnancy: The contractions from an orgasm may trigger uterine contractions towards the very end of pregnancy.
  • It can aid in postpartum recovery: pregnancy sex can help tone the pelvic floor muscles and thereby prepares the body for both childbirth and subsequent recovery.

What is the risks of having sex during pregnancy?

Breast stimulation, female orgasms and certain prostaglandins in the seminal fluid, can cause uterine contractions. A doctor generally advices against having sex during pregnancy under the following conditions:

  • There is an unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Leakage of amniotic fluid
  • Cervical incompetence
  • Placenta previa
  • Previous history of Preterm labour
  • Previous history of miscarriage
  • Multiple pregnancy
  • Presence of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Pelvic Pain

What are the changes in libido during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a journey, driven by mainly a roller coaster of hormones. These can affect the mother in various ways, including bringing about changes in her libido. Mostly, women experience a reduced sexual drive, due to hormonal fluctuations, and self-consciousness about their changing appearance. However, there are pregnant women who also report an increase in libido.

The fluctuations in sexual drive, as seen in different trimesters is as follows:

  1. FIRST TRIMESTER

During the first trimester, symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, frequent urination, breast tenderness and fatigue dominate. These coupled with the frequent mood swings and irritability arising from lack of nighttime sleep can cause an overall decrease in libido.

  1. SECOND TRIMESTER

The unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy that arise in the first trimester, such as nausea, urination etc. decrease and cease during the second trimester. The woman feels more comfortable and relaxed, and her baby bump is also relatively smaller. These may be associated with an increase in libido during this stage.

  1. THIRD TRIMESTER

In the last trimester, the large size of the belly, anxiety about childbirth and fatigue may deter the woman from having sex. There is an overall decrease in libido at this stage.

 5. Can sex during pregnancy induce premature labour?

Sex during pregnancy is extremely unlikely to induce premature labour. The contractions that arise from orgasm are not potent enough to induce strong uterine contractions that constitute labour. 

However for women who have pregnancy complications such as placenta previa, previous history of preterm labour etc. it is advisable to refrain from sex.

During the very last stages of pregnancy, that is full term or post term, sexual intercourse and subsequent orgasms may trigger labour.

6. What are the safe positions to have sex during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, the couple can take their time and experiment with different positions to eventually find out what works best for them. Sometimes, certain positions like getting on top can be uncomfortable due to tender breasts.

Pillows and blankets can be used for improved comfort. 

Some of the recommended positions which may be more comfortable are:

  • Side-lying
  • Woman-on-top
  • Rear entry

Oral sex may also be practised.

7. What are some signs of problems that may arise during and after sex, while pregnant?

Incase of noticing any unusual symptoms while having sex during pregnancy, it is necessary to stop, and consult the doctor. 

Some of these symptoms may be:

  • Pain during sex
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Leaking of amniotic fluid
  • Painful cramps that do not go away

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