Making Love During Pregnancy

Every pregnancy starts with a sex act but nothing raises as many eyebrows as the subject of sex during pregnancy! But this is one aspect of pregnancy, which every pregnant woman wants to know about, but doesn’t know who to ask.

Although for some women, sex is a wonderful way to forget many of the physical discomforts brought on by the pregnancy, for others, the very idea of sex makes them cringe. The woman’s feelings towards sex are determined partly by the physical and partly by the psychological changes she’s undergoing. Some women glow radiantly and sail through pregnancy. Others feel clumsy, fat and unattractive. For those experiencing the many discomforts of pregnancy – nausea, exhaustion, joint pain, backache, tender breasts, etc, etc …. – the last thing they want is to engage in sex! Leaky breasts add to the awkwardness of the whole thing. The fear of hurting the baby is often the biggest factor affecting an expectant parent’s sex life – for both the woman and man.

Well lets look at the positive side of the picture –

  • you don’t have to worry about contraceptive
  • there is an increase in vaginal lubrication
  • engorgement of the genital area can heighten sexual pleasure
  • if you have been trying for awhile, a return to sex as pleasure as opposed to procreational

Expert View

“In the first three and the last three months, intercourse should be as minimum as possible. Apart from this there are no precautions.”

To answer some of your questions –

Can sex harm the baby?
The penis itself cannot hurt the baby. In the first place, although an erection is called a hard-on, an erect penis is not that hard. It’s only flesh and blood and cannot cause injury either to you or the baby under normal circumstances. Although vigorous thrusting for an extended period is not recommended. The baby is well cushioned and protected inside the amniotic sac. Also your uterus is completely sealed off by a mucus plug in pregnancy, keeping your baby safe during intercourse. As long as a modicum of care is exercised intercourse is safe.

Can sex in the early stages cause miscarriage?
In most cases, sex is safe throughout your pregnancy. But if you’ve had a miscarriage in the past, or you suffer any bleeding or have abdominal cramps avoid intercourse until your doctor says it’s safe.

Does having sex make you more prone to infections in pregnancy?
As long as the male does not have a sexually transmitted disease, the mother and foetus are protected from infection in the amniotic sac. So till your waters break you don’t have to worry about infection. As the waters can break any time in the last month it is advisable to use a condom during this time. Because of changes in your immune system during pregnancy you may be more prone to vaginal infections such as thrush.

Did you know?
· Increased levels of oestrogen make your skin more sensitive to touch during pregnancy.
· During oral sex your partner should not blow into the vagina as this could force air into your blood stream. This would not be safe for you or the baby.

Can the baby hear you making love?
After 24 weeks the baby can hear noises outside the womb. He will know something is going on, but obviously won’t understand what. He will have no memory of it. Also endorphins (mood-enhancing hormones) released during intercourse, enter your bloodstream and cross into the baby’s, making for happiness all round!

Can the contractions in an orgasm harm the baby?
Your orgasm is perfectly safe. The increased blood flow to your uterus and cervix during an orgasm help benefit your unborn baby’s health. When a woman has an orgasm muscle contractions are triggered in various parts of her body, including her uterus. These are short lived, usually not lasting beyond 5 to 10 minutes, and don’t trigger premature labor in a healthy pregnancy. But if you continue to feel regular contractions for longer than 20 minutes after orgasm, inform your doctor. During orgasm, the release of oxytocin, a hormone that causes uterine contractions, may induce labor when a woman is close to her delivery date. Also substances in semen can help ripen your cervix (neck of your uterus), and start labour. If you have a history of premature labour or have been told to rest by your doctor, you should avoid sex in late pregnancy.

When not to have sex?
If you have any of the following you shouldn’t have sex. Consult your doctor.

  • you experience bleeding or cramping before, during or after intercourse
  • you have an infection
  • you have a history of miscarriage, pre-term labour
  • you are carrying more than one baby
  • you are diagnosed with an incompetent cervix
  • you are diagnosed with Placenta previa
  • your water has broken
  • your are currently experiencing bleeding
  • you or your partner has an active sexually transmitted disease
  • your doctor has advised against it

Most important of all listen to your body’s signals. If you feel uncomfortable stop or if you feel great, don’t worry.

Some tips to bring back the magic!
Plan a little – Choose a time when you feel at you best, such as a weekend afternoon if tiredness overwhelms you in the evenings.
Find comfortable positions – Trying to manoeuvre around your bump and sore breasts may not be easy – but it’s not impossible. Experiment with lying on your sides facing each other or, with your partner behind you. You could also try going on top.
Spend time together – If you don’t fancy the idea of penetrative sex at the moment, think of other ways you can make love, such as cuddling, caressing, stroking or kissing. Find time to enjoy candlelit dinners or just some time together
Get a massage – Massage is wonderful if you are pregnant. Make it extra special with aromatherapy oils (from the 12th week of pregnancy only). Try ylang-ylang, an aphrodisiac; sandalwood to relax; or grapefruit for fatigue.
Enjoy your body – Don’t be ashamed of your growing body and hide it away If pregnancy makes you think you’re ‘fat’, shift the focus to your assets. If you have a great pair of legs, for instance, show them off.
Time for him – If you don’t feel like being touched, lavish some attention on your partner and make him feel loved.

Making Love after the delivery
Normal delivery – the Episiotomy (a cut made between your vagina and anus during delivery) or tear scars should heal within six days. Some soreness persists for around three weeks. It’s also important to wait until bleeding has stopped and, for some women, this can be up to six weeks.
Caesarean – Allow for the scar to heal fully before you have sex, which can take as long as three months.