Is Sex During Pregnancy A No-No?
Sex during pregnancy is taboo for many, but a perfectly healthy option for many others. Those with a history of miscarriages, premature births, bleeding while pregnant should avoid intercourse while pregnant. For everyone else, a little care on the right sexual positions, lubrication should be all the safety you need if you decide to indulge in some "couple time".
Pregnancy is a wonderful time of your life and the anticipation of the arrival of your baby seems to take centerstage. But there are times when you might want to just have a roll in the hay, to remind yourselves of life as a couple, beyond the baby that’s on the way. But is sexual intercourse during pregnancy a bad idea? Or is it perfectly fine to go ahead and have your fun just like you always have? Here’s a look at what you need to know if you’re planning on having sex while you or your partner are pregnant.
Sex During Pregnancy: Yes Or No?
According to the American Pregnancy Association, it is fine to have sex during pregnancy, unless you have specifically been told not to by your doctor or a healthcare professional helping with your pregnancy. That’s because the baby itself is protected by the amniotic fluid within the uterus or womb. In addition, there’s a mucus plug that acts as a barrier against infections and seals off your cervix.1However, there are exceptions to this rule.
When To Avoid Sex During Pregnancy
There are some instances where sex during pregnancy is probably not a good idea and is better avoided. There may be circumstances beyond this depending on your specific case, where a doctor may advise against intercourse. Needless to say, if that’s the case, you should definitely avoid sex while pregnant.
- Bleeding: If you have experienced heavy bleeding while pregnant, it could be because of a collecting of blood called a hematoma, or because of a low lying placenta. Both these conditions will require you to abstain from sex to prevent a premature birth or complications with the pregnancy.2
- Low lying placenta: Even if you have not had any bleeding, but have been informed by your doctor that you have placenta previa(a low lying placenta), you may need to check with your doctor first to get the green light on sex while pregnant.3
- Incompetent or dilated cervix: If the cervix is already dilated, before the woman has gone into labor/prematurely, then sexual intercourse is best avoided.4An incompetent or weakened cervix can also cause miscarriage or premature delivery.5
- Medical history of premature births: If you have been pregnant in the past, and have had premature births, or gone into labor early, then you may want to avoid running the risk of triggering this by having sex while pregnant.6
- Ruptured membranes or ”waters broken”: If the waters have broken it means that the membranes that would have protected your baby from possible infections may no longer be there to act as a barrier, exposing the baby to possible infection.7
- Miscarriage: For women with a history of miscarriages, it may be wise to abstain to avoid creating any scenario that might accidentally put the woman or baby in harm’s way.8
- Sexually transmitted diseases of either partner: If a woman’s partner is infected with a sexually transmitted disease, there is a risk of passing it on to the pregnant woman. In such cases, if you still want to have sex, be sure to use adequate barrier based contraceptives to prevent any scope of transmission of the disease. If you are unsure, do check with your doctor first even if you/your partner have been treated for the infection – you might still be a carrier.9
Dos And Don’ts
Even if you are in good health, it is better to err on the side of caution and avoid getting too frisky in bed. Here are few things to be careful about if you decide to indulge in some “couple time” while you have a baby on board.
- Don’t worry about Braxton Hicks contractions triggered by sex: During the later stages of pregnancy in the third trimester, sometimes having an orgasm or even just sexual intercourse can trigger contractions. These aren’t “real” contractions and are called Braxton Hicks contractions. During these contractions your uterus will harden as muscles go taut, this is normal, so don’t worry.10
- Don’t use positions that may put undue stress on the baby: Appropriate positions include side lying where the partner is behind the pregnant woman, or one where the woman sits on the partner’s lap, or if comfortable, then with the woman on her hands and knees with the partner knelt down behind.11
- Do use relaxation methods learnt in prenatal classes or yoga or meditation techniques to relax yourself.12
- Do use adequate lubrication to make the experience more pleasurable for you both. A lubricated condom can serve the dual purpose of providing lubrication and protecting against infection. Alternatively, any water soluble lubricant jelly may be used with or without a condom.13
- Do lie down if you are uncomfortable when you feel Braxton Hicks contractions during or after intercourse, they will soon pass.14
- Do talk to your partner about your concerns. If either of you are hesitant, either because of fears of risking the pregnancy or because you/your partner feel less than attractive while pregnant, it helps to share your fears. A partner can help ease your worries and be supportive and allay your concerns to make the experience more pleasurable.15
References [ + ]
|1, 4, 6, 8, 9.||↑||Having Sex While Pregnant: Is it Safe?American Pregnancy Association.|
|2, 7, 10, 12, 14.||↑||Sex in pregnancyNHS.|
|3.||↑||Having Sex While Pregnant: Is it Safe?American Pregnancy Association.|
|5.||↑||Incompetent Cervix: Causes and TreatmentAmerican Pregnancy Association.|
|11, 13.||↑||Sex during pregnancy. University of California San Francisco Medical Center.|
|15.||↑||Most Common Fears about Sex During Pregnancy. Lamaze International.|