- Sex During Pregnancy
- Is It Safe?
- First Trimester
- When Is Sex Not Safe?
- Sex Drive Changes
- When to Call a Doctor
Is sex normal during pregnancy?
If you are pregnant, you may have noticed that your need for sex has gone up or down. Regardless of how aroused you feel, your sex life will change during pregnancy. Sex during the first trimester can be satisfying when there is open communication about wants and needs. Knowing what is healthy or safe will also affect your sexual health, including trying different positions, talking about intimacy, and finding other ways to achieve satisfaction.
A decrease in sex drive or an increase in frequency can occur during pregnancy and at differing levels. While pregnant, many moms experience symptoms that make sex less enjoyable during the first trimester, including breast tenderness, tiredness, frequency of urination, and nausea. Fortunately, these symptoms gradually go away in the second trimester, so the urge for sex increases. The freedom of not needing birth control and partner intimacy makes sex more fun. The need for sex typically goes down again during the third trimester. The uterus is at its largest size, with the new baby arriving soon.
If you are comfortable, most sexual positions are achievable during pregnancy. Oral sex can also take place while you are pregnant. As you develop more through your pregnancy, you should try different positions to see what is best. Be creative, but stay safe. Couples can have sex into the ninth month until labor begins. Some people find that sexual intercourse may help induce labor, but there is no clear evidence suggesting this works.
Is sex safe during pregnancy?
During all stages of a low-risk pregnancy, sex is safe if you are at low risk for preterm labor, miscarriage, or other complications. Your nurse, midwife, doctor, or pregnancy health care provider can advise you if you are worried about having sex.
You also may wonder if sex physically harms the baby while in the uterus. Because the baby is inside the amnionic sac, harm does not occur. The amniotic sac is a bag of water that holds the fetus and fluids surrounding it. A thick mucous plug seals the cervix and creates a barrier to infection. The penis will not have a connection to the baby during sex.
In addition to the amniotic sac, the uterine muscles assist in protecting the baby. So sexual activity during pregnancy will not compromise the baby. Factors to consider will be desire, comfort level, and risks of preterm labor or problems with the placenta.
What should you look for in the first trimester?
Some moms may have concerns that an orgasm could cause problems with the baby. Orgasms will not be a problem for mom or baby in a low-risk, normal pregnancy. Spasms felt before, during, and after orgasm are different from the contractions felt during labor. If you experience anything unusual, check with your health care provider to make sure what you are experiencing is considered normal and low risk. Also, make your health care provider aware if you have bad or continuous cramping or spasms after sex.
Some research has found a gradual decline in intercourse as your pregnancy progresses. Multiple things can contribute to the decreasing interest in your sex life, such as the following:
- lack of interest
- being physically awkward
- fear of getting an infection
- fear of rupturing your membrane (amniotic sac)
- fear of having a miscarriage or harming your unborn baby
As your body changes during pregnancy, sex also changes. It is not unusual for moms to find that they have a higher sex drive, even more so than before pregnancy. Each pregnancy is unique, and experiences will vary. After nausea that comes with morning sickness ends at 12-14 weeks, you may feel a return of your sex drive.
When is sex not safe?
There are some instances when sex is not safe during pregnancy. They include:
Actions during oral sex: If you choose to engage in oral sex, air should not be blown into the vagina by your partner. An air embolism, or a blood vessel blockage caused by an air bubble, can result from blowing air. Even though they are rare, they can potentially cause fatality for the fetus and the mom.
Unprotected sex partners: During pregnancy, you should not engage in unprotected sex with a person if you do not know their sexual history. They could have a sexually transmitted disease (STD). If you contract an STD such as herpes, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), chlamydia, or genital warts, you can pass it on to your baby, with damaging results.
Your medical provider may advise you not to have sexual intercourse if they expect complications with your pregnancy. The symptoms both you and your medical provider should consider in regards to sex are:
Will my sex drive permanently change?
It is ok if your sexual drive changes. Intimacy is much more than just sex. The desire for sex will change as you go through your pregnancy. The hormonal changes of pregnancy have a powerful effect on the libido of moms. Some have a super sex drive, while some do not. Your sex drive will likely change again after the birth of your baby. Talk about your concerns and needs with your partner. There are many ways to connect if pregnancy sex is challenging, not desired, or forbidden, including kissing, massage, and cuddling.
When should you call a doctor?
You should always contact your medical provider if you are unsure if having sex is considered safe for you or your baby. If you notice any unusual symptoms post-sex, like bleeding, pain, discharge, or contractions that seem to start, you should contact your doctor.
Journal of Reproductive Immunology: "Oral sex is associated with reduced incidence of recurrent miscarriage."
Lamaze International: "What Does a Contraction Feel Like?"
National Childbirth Trust: "Sex in trimester one, two and three of pregnancy."
Nemours Kids Health: "Severe Morning Sickness," "Sex During Pregnancy."
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