- Sex During Pregnancy
- What Is in Sperm and Semen?
- Advantages of Intercourse
- Sperm Quality
- Can a Woman Conceive an Additional Baby?
Is sex safe during pregnancy?
Is having sex while pregnant safe? Yes, during a normal pregnancy.
Having a baby changes the body, mind, and soul, so any stress relief can be healthy for both you and your partner. While you are engaging in sex during pregnancy, though, can sperm affect mother or baby?
Many believe sperm can help with symptoms of pregnancy and prevent conditions like preeclampsia.
During a normal, low-risk pregnancy, sex is considered safe. If you are up to it, most sexual positions can be taken.
Your medical provider can help to determine, though, if you are at any risk for miscarriage, early delivery, or other complications. You can talk to them about your sexual concerns.
Many sexual concerns concern whether the baby can be physically hurt. The baby is usually safe, though, because they are protected by a bag of fluids that holds it called the amnionic sac. There is also a thick mucous plug that closes off the cervix as a barrier against infection of the uterus. Lastly, the muscles of the uterus also protect the baby, so the penis will not come into contact with the baby during sex.
Sperm that gets into the vagina during intercourse will not harm the baby. The majority of it will be eliminated from the body through the vagina.
What is in sperm and semen?
Semen is the fluid that comes from the penis during sexual ejaculation. It carries sperm out of the man's body.
The make-up of semen includes secretions from male reproductive organs. Specifically:
- Up to 80 percent of the fluid comes from the seminal vesicles
- Up to 33 percent comes from the prostate gland
- Up to 5 percent comes from the testicles and epididymis
- 2–5 percent comes from the bulbourethral and urethral glands
Semen includes prostaglandins, citric acid, amino acids, phosphorylcholine, zinc, free fructose, potassium, and enzymes. The number of sperm in semen totals 40 million or more depending on the sample size.
Advantages of intercourse during sex
Pregnancy sex keeps blood pressure down, increases intimacy, and helps a mom sleep. Intercourse during sex has a lot of potential advantages, though specific claims require further research.
One claim is that the projection of sperm into the vagina during pregnancy is a good thing.
Decrease of preeclampsia risk?
A 2017 study in Denmark negatively correlated sperm and preeclampsia. Specifically, those frequently exposed to seminal fluid during pregnancy had a lower risk of getting preeclampsia.
Semen/sperm contains HLA-G. This is a protein that strengthens the immune system. Exposure to it helps to protect the body from preeclampsia.
Another study from 2000 similarly showed that ingestion of semen is also shown to decrease preeclampsia risk. More research, though, is needed.
Induction of labor?
Some suggest that intercourse during pregnancy can help the body to induce labor when it is time. The spasms that you feel right before, during, and after orgasm are different from the contractions that are felt during labor, but they mimic them.
Meanwhile, the sperm contained in semen may cause a direct benefit because it contains prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances that can cause the cervix to ripen. A synthetic form of prostaglandins is used in medications like misoprostol to induce labor.
Some research suggests that swallowing sperm can help reduce the risk of miscarriage.
Further studies will help to explain if or how immune system abnormalities are affected by seminal plasma.
Does sperm quality affect conception?
Conception is very dependent on a few factors. These include:
- Healthy sperm production by the male and, in the woman, production of healthy eggs
- Implantation and formation of a healthy embryo
Many environmental and biological issues can cause sperm to be unhealthy, though, and prevent conception:
- Production of poor-quality sperm or oligospermia
- Malformed sperm that cannot live long enough
- Problems with your pituitary gland or hypothalamus caused by hormonal disorders
- Diabetes, cystic fibrosis, some infections, and other medical illnesses
- Genetic disorders like microdeletion and Klinefelter's syndrome
- Various medications and supplements
- Engorged testicular veins, called varicoceles
- Radiation, chemotherapy, and other cancer treatments, including testicle removal
- Smoking, illegal drug use, alcoholism, and other unhealthy habits
- Azoospermia, the inability to produce sperm cells at all
Can sperm make a pregnant woman conceive an additional baby?
It is very unlikely that a pregnant woman will conceive again even if she is engaging in frequent intercourse.
In the rare condition called superfetation, though, a second new pregnancy occurs while the mom is currently pregnant. A different egg is fertilized by sperm in the days or weeks after the first one implants into the uterus lining. These babies are sometimes considered fraternal twins. Superfeteation is common in many other species, but it is extremely rare in humans. Only a few cases are reported in medical journals and are usually in women utilizing in vitro fertilization.
In order for superfetation to happen, three very rare things must occur:
- Ovulation must occur during pregnancy: This is extremely unlikely because hormones released while pregnant ordinarily prevent ovulation.
- The second egg must be fertilized by sperm: This is not likely to happen because while a woman is pregnant, the cervix is blocked by a mucous plug that keeps out foreign objects, including sperm. Hormones cause this plug to form.
- The egg, once fertilized, has to be implanted in a pregnant womb: Implantation requires the release of certain hormones. Once implantation occurs initially, though, these hormones aren’t usually released.
If you are unsure about the safety of sex during pregnancy, please reach out to your doctor. Most medical evidence, though, shows that sex and sperm are beneficial, not harmful, to mom and baby during pregnancy.
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Cleveland Clinic: "Male Infertility."
ClinMed International Library: "A Case Report of Possible Superfetation with Evidence of Ultrasound Findings, Gestational Age Calculations and Postnatal Complications. Obstet Gynecol Cases."
Frontiers in Medicine: "Immunological Tolerance, Pregnancy, and Preeclampsia: The Roles of Semen Microbes and the Father." Journal of Reproductive Immunology: “Correlation between oral sex and a low incidence of preeclampsia: a role for soluble HLA in seminal fluid?” ”Oral sex is associated with reduced incidence of recurrent miscarriage.” Mayo Clinic: “Pregnancy week by week.” National Cancer Institute: “Accessory Glands.” National Center for Biotechnology Information: “Sexual intercourse for cervical ripening and induction of labour.” News Medical Lifesciences: “Semen Physiology.” Nemours Kids Health: “Sex During Pregnancy.”
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