Intimacy is an important part of a relationship, but couples often become concerned whether sex during pregnancy is safe. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 1 in 6 couples in Britain abstains from intercourse during pregnancy, despite wanting it. Learn the truth about sex and pregnancy – including when it could be dangerous – in the following sections.
A Closer Look at the Issue
The study on British couples revealed that one in six couples abstain from intercourse during the entire pregnancy. Many of the men surveyed indicated they were concerned about hurting the baby, and some 10 percent indicated that they felt it was “wrong” to have sex with a baby on the way. Part of the problem could also be attributed to mothers since about 80 percent indicated they rarely feel attractive during pregnancy. Most blamed things like morning sickness, tiredness, swollen ankles, and other common pregnancy concerns for their lack of desire. However, most of the men said they were attracted to their partner’s pregnancy curves.
Is Sex During Pregnancy Safe?
Most of the time, intercourse during pregnancy is perfectly safe. This is because the baby is well protected by both the amniotic sac and the mother’s uterine muscles. A mucous plug also seals the cervix off, which prevents outside contaminants (including semen) from reaching the uterus or baby. However, there are certain situations in which penetration may be dangerous for either mother or baby. Examples include pregnancy conditions like placenta previa, an incompetent cervix, and signs of preterm labor.
Keep in mind that your doctor will usually tell you if sex is off limits during your pregnancy, and it may not even be entirely forbidden (foreplay may still be an option). Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about a pregnancy-related condition, or if you are otherwise concerned that sex may be unsafe during your pregnancy. If bringing it up in your next appointment is too difficult or embarrassing, you could ask your partner to come along.
The Truth About Sex and Pregnancy
While many expectant mothers do have body image issues, there is a little-known secret about sex and pregnancy: the increased blood flow can actually make sex more enjoyable for women. In fact, some experience their very first full orgasm while they are pregnant. Sex has also been linked to lower blood pressure, which could be a good thing for expectant women who have a risk of preeclampsia. Increased immunity, better sleep, and a more intimate relationship are also possible benefits of sex during pregnancy.
Tips for Making Pregnancy Sex More Enjoyable
During the first trimester of pregnancy, couples are unlikely to experience any major issues during intercourse, but as the pregnancy progresses, things can become a bit more interesting. Your belly can get in the way. Vaginal dryness can become problematic. And baby brain can sometimes make it hard to get in the mood. However, there are a few tried and true tips that expectant moms and their partners can use to spice things up in the bedroom. Try:
- Using a pillow under your bottom while in the missionary position. It moves your belly out of the way a bit and often improves access to the G-spot;
- Side-laying and scissor sex positions with clitoral stimulation;
- Engaging in more foreplay (in conjunction with or independent of sex);
- Using lubrication during bouts of vaginal dryness;
- Thinking about sex when you’re not actually having it;
- Banning screens (i.e. televisions, phones, etc.) from the bedroom;
- Talking to your partner about things that arouse you now (and things that don’t);
- Making the most of your second trimester (when morning sickness has subsided and you’re not dealing with a huge baby bump); and
- Intimate touches that increase oxytocin and arousal (i.e. back massages, foot massages, etc.).
What methods have you used to make intercourse more fun and enjoyable during pregnancy? We’d love to hear from you!