Having sex during pregnancy: Is it safe?

Having sex during pregnancy: Is it safe?

Can you have sex during pregnancy?

Sex and pregnancy can be seen as two ideas exclusive from one another. However, it is a myth that you shouldn’t have pregnant sex. For most women who are having a normal pregnancy, it is safe to have sex throughout all of the trimesters. Sexual intercourse during pregnancy does not effect or hurt the foetus. The amniotic sac paired with the uterus’s strong muscles protects the baby. The cervix is also guarded against any infection by a thick layer of mucus. As the penis does not go past the vagina walls during sex, the baby will not be reached.

However, there are some circumstances where it is not safe to have sex when pregnant. Some pregnancy complications can mean that you may have to abstain or change the way you have intercourse with your partner. If you have been spotting in early pregnancy, your midwife or doctor will probably advise you to not have sex until you are around 14 weeks. Another reason you may be advised to abstain from intercourse during pregnancy is if you are in the later stages of pregnancy, and you have previously gone into early labour.

Is it safe to have sex at any stage when pregnant?

It does not matter if you are 6 weeks pregnant, or 32 weeks pregnant, sex is safe during pregnancy unless you are advised otherwise by your doctor. Although it is safe, your sex life may have to be adjusted during pregnancy. For instance, some women’s sex drive may lower, while others may have a heightened libido. It is also very common for a women’s libido to fluctuate during the course of pregnancy. The desire to have sex during pregnancy is completely case dependent on the individual. 

Commonly, women reported that in the first trimester they felt too tired or moody due to their physical and emotional changes to want pregnant sex. It is crucial that you communicate well with your partner so you can both best support one another as you go through these changes together.

The further along your pregnancy you become, you may notice that sex triggers movement from your baby. Don’t let this worry you. The movement is caused by your baby reacting to the increase in your heart rate. The later you are in pregnancy an orgasm may even set off mild contractions. You will feel the womb muscles tense. In medical terms, this is known as ‘Braxton Hicks’ contractions. Although they may be uncomfortable, you do not need to worry as they are normal.

Pregnant women need to pay particular attention to their sexual health throughout their pregnancy as their body is going through a number of changes.

STI's also become a greater risk when pregnant.

Will having sex when pregnant trigger labour?

You may have heard theories or suggestions that sex can help to induce an early labour. Biologically, there is plausibility behind pregnant sex stimulating labour. Firstly, intercourse has been found to create an increase of uterine activity, i.e. contractions. Secondly, semen contains prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are used synthetically in childbirth to encourage the cervix to prepare for labour. However, there is very little evidence from scientific study to suggest that having sexual intercourse during pregnancy will actually induce labour. In fact, one scientific study completely dispels this theory. The study found that women who had pregnant sex were less likely to have a spontaneous labour compared to women who didn’t have sex.

What are the safest sex positions to use when pregnant?

Generally, having sex during pregnancy doesn’t need to be completely different to intercourse before pregnancy. The majority of sex positions are safe during pregnancy. You may find that some positions are more comfortable than others, especially as your tummy grows. The missionary position, for instance, may become increasingly uncomfortable as your partner’s weight is focused on your belly. Also, as your breasts become more tender or sensitive, you may want to avoid any pressure on your chest. Most couples find the easiest way of having sex when pregnant is to lie on your sides facing one another, or with your partner behind.

If you are still feeling aroused, but having sex during your pregnancy has become too difficult, consider other ways to be intimate. You may find oral sex or self-stimulation easier. It is important to remember that physical intimacy does not always have to come from sexual gratification. Kissing, hugging and caressing one another will still allow you to feel loved and intimate. So long as you are open and communicate with one another, you can enjoy each other, regardless of whether you are having sex.

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