Pregnancy and Sex

Is Pregnancy Sex Safe?
Some women and their partners often wonder if it’s safe to have sex during pregnancy. Will it result in miscarriage? Will it harm the unborn baby?

Here’s the good news: Sex is a natural, normal part of pregnancy — if you’re having a normal pregnancy. Penetration and intercourse’s movement won’t harm the baby, who is protected by your abdomen and the uterus’ muscular walls. Your baby is also cushioned by the amniotic sac’s fluid.

It’s normal for sexual desire to come and go as your body changes. You may feel sexier with larger, fuller breasts. Or you may feel self-conscious as your belly grows.

Every woman’s pregnancy is different — including how she feels about sex.

Some women feel more aroused when they’re pregnant, and for others desire fades during pregnancy.

What Are The Best Positions?
Tell your partner what you’re feeling and what works. You may need to play with positions, especially later in pregnancy, to find one that’s both comfortable and stimulating for you.

Avoid lying flat on your back in the “missionary position” for sex after the fourth month of pregnancy. That way, you can avoid the weight of the growing baby constricting major blood vessels.

Another way to make sex more comfortable is to try lying sideways together. Or you might try positioning yourself upright or sitting on top.

Are Orgasms Safe During Pregnancy?
The contractions of orgasm aren’t the same as labor contractions. Still, as a general safety precaution, some doctors advise avoiding sex in the final weeks of pregnancy, believing that hormones in semen can stimulate contractions. One exception may be for women who are overdue and want to induce labor. Some doctors believe that semen actually induce labor in a full-term or past-due pregnancy. But other doctors believe this semen/labor connection is only theoretical and that having sex doesn’t trigger labor.

As for orgasm, those contractions aren’t the same as labor contractions. So there’s no problem there.

When Not to Have Sex During Pregnancy
Your doctor may advise you not to have sex if you have any of the following types of high-risk pregnancy:

  • You’re at risk for miscarriage or history of past miscarriages
  • You’re at risk for preterm labor (contractions before 37 weeks of pregnancy)
  • You’re having vaginal bleeding, discharge, or cramping without a known cause
  • Your amniotic sac is leaking fluid or has ruptured membranes
  • Your cervix has opened too early in pregnancy
  • Your placenta is too low in the uterus (placenta previa)
  • You’re expecting twins, triplets, or other “multiples”

If your doctor says “no sex,” that may include anything that involves orgasm or sexual arousal, not just intercourse. Make sure and ask what he means for both your safety and the safety of your baby

As always, if you’re not absolutely sure about your partner’s sexual history, use condoms. Pregnancy doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections like HIV, herpes, genital warts, or chlamydia. These infections can affect your baby.

Sex After Pregnancy
Most doctors will say wait at least 6 weeks after delivery before intercourse. Equally important is feeling emotionally ready, physically comfortable, and relaxed.

This is because the postpartum period is the first six weeks after delivery. Sex during this time may be the last thing on your mind.

Remember, intercourse is generally safe after any incisions have fully healed and you feel the delicate tissues of your vagina have healed. This healing usually takes several weeks. You can ask your doctor what she recommends.

It is also natural that your desire for sex may decrease because of the following:

  • Healing from an incision during vaginal delivery (episiotomy)
  • Healing from a cesarean birth
  • Normal postpartum bleeding, common for four to six weeks after birth
  • Fatigue after pregnancy and giving birth
  • Demands of your newborn which increases if you had multiples (twins or triplets)
  • Changing hormone levels
  • Sore breasts from breastfeeding
  • Emotional issues, such as postpartum blues, anxiety over parenting, or relationship issues with the father

For both you and your partner, patience is a virtue. Given the realities and stresses of early parenthood, it can take up to a year for a couple’s normal sex life to return in full bloom.

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