Sex During Pregnancy

I started writing a blog a while ago called the married minx that talked about having sex, what gravity it holds, how great it was to wait until I married my husband, and more practical stuff. I haven’t written a new post there for well over a year. That being said, I firmly believe it’s important to talk openly about sex and if you’re squeamish about reading about sex, then that blog and this post probably aren’t for you.

If, however, you are curious about safety in sex while you’re pregnant and what the benefits can be, read on by clicking that lovely little read more button thing. I promise it’ll be clean and you won’t walk away wishing you could shower or erase your memory.

So before you and your husband get to it, you need to know about some of the reasons you shouldn’t be having sex during pregnancy. As with most vigorous activities during pregnancy, you should speak with your doctor before having sex. But if you do before you see a doctor, there’s probably nothing to worry about, just speak with your doctor about it next time you see them. After all, it’s no secret that’s how we got to be pregnant.

Here’s the list of reasons to absolutely not have sex while you’re pregnant:

  • Your water has broken.
    I don’t know who gets frisky during labor, but you should back away from your husband and pay attention to your contractions. 
  • You have unexplained bleeding (even spotting) or discharge. This is a sign that something’s up anyway, so you should contact a doctor if you have these symptoms.
  • You’re leaking amniotic fluid. Again, uncuff your husband and go see a doctor. Call them on the way. This could be just a hiccup or something that needs immediate attention.
  • You have a dilated cervix. This is the big red flag of no sex later in term. Your body’s preparing for delivery and you shouldn’t be trying to make another one just yet. Regardless of what point you’re at in term, you need to call your caregiver immediately.
  • You’re having abdominal cramps. Again, I’m not sure why you’d be feeling frisky with cramps but separate yourselves and call your CNM or physician on call.
  • You have Placenta Previa. This one gives me the heebiejeebies as do most things in pregnancy that can go wrong. And by wrong I mean not ideal. If you have this, you know why sex is a bad idea.
  • You have an Incompetent Cervix.Which means your cervix has opened prior to it’s time. This one is harder to know about until someone clever gives you an exam or in the event that you would miscarry your child. Don’t panic, this only happens to 1%-2% of pregnant women, but if you’ve had miscarriages in the past, a birth defect to your cervix or uterus, or your cervix was damaged during a difficult birth or D&C, you should not be having sex. You should probably ensure your OB practice is aware of your history and if you’re feeling like supergirl, demand an exam.
  • You have multiples. Congrats on your multiple or dividing gestation! I’m a little jealous, really. Multiples are automatically considered a “high risk” pregnancy and lo, you are recommended against sex. But if you have multiples I’d ask your doctor about getting back in the sack because the caregivers I’ve interacted with regarding this topic didn’t seem too concerned about this being a problem if I did have multiples (which I did not. *sob*) So it goes on my “don’t do it” list, but I’d consult your caregiver.
  • You began labor prematurely. It doesn’t matter if it’s stopped since, if you’ve had premature labor sex is a no-go.
  • You or your partner have genital herpes and are having a flare-up. This kinda goes regardless of your pregnancy, but there it is. You also should steer clear if one of you feels a flare-up coming on. And like with everything else on this list, you should be discussing it with your physician.
  • You have a history of miscarriage and/or pre-term labor. You should be in frequent communication with your caregiver if this is the case, and I hope they’ve told you sex is a bad idea due to your history.

So that’s the list of “don’t-have-sex-see-a-doctor”. Another thing I found common on these types of list was don’t have sex with an unknown partner or one with an STD. Now I really thought this was common sense at this point in modern health education, but I suppose if you’re on a steamy date and your opposite is steamy for prego women you can get caught up in the moment and hey it turns out your partner has the HIVvy. Yikes. Don’t be that person that sits there thinking “oh what are my chances of really catching it?” Big enough to run away screaming. The consequences of catching HIV while pregnant are devastating. Other less “serious” STDs can also cause big big complications during pregnancy so stay away from the mysterious fella buying you tons of virgin daiquiris and scratching his pants incessantly. Not. Worth it.

Wanna get jiggy with my crabs? It’ll leave you itching for more.

Okay so let’s move on to the Pros and Cons of sexy pregnancy time. I didn’t really come up with any “cons,” just a list of hindrances you might face.

Your first trimester will either barely phase you, only reminding you it’s there when you skip a meal and are so hungry you could hurl, or it will murder you. The list of ailments is long, including nausea (which may cause vomiting), headaches, super-sensitive and tender boobs, and (my personal favorite) gas that could kill a flat faced pug. I also had plenty of cramps during my first trimester (they’re only going away now) so it can really be the bloodless period that lasts 3 months. Fun right? Obvious, I know, but you just might not feel up to having sex after losing your lunch.

Paranoia. This is one you’ll have to fight to get over. Your physician will discuss with you what kinds of red flags you need to look for which would consist of an emergency. They usually have someone on call to answer your panicked questions like “I just ate a cheese that wasn’t listed under soft cheeses but felt really soft when I ate it, AM I GOING TO KILL MY BABY?!?”  If you find you’re experiencing some of the emergency symptoms or your gut instinct is just telling you “something is wrong” then you should contact your caregiver on call. You must distinguish your gut instincts from your fear of something going wrong, which takes practice and vigilance. Ask your husband to keep you in check if necessary. Don’t let your fear interfere with your intimacy. (Heh, “fear,” “interfere,” heh heh ehhh.)

Low self-esteem. Another one you’ll need to fight, but you don’t have to fight it alone. What could boost your self-esteem more than some rockin sex? If you’re struggling with your self-esteem, let your husband know and ask him for reassurances. Hormonal shifts are often to blame for low self-esteem during pregnancy whether they’re causing the emotional low itself or the acne now covering your face, shooting arrows through your ideal image. Have a good cry on hubby’s shoulder and then go have a good romp. Your self-esteem will be boosted and you’ll probably feel more relaxed too.

Your husband has a bump-aversion. I haven’t personally interacted with any man who isn’t interested in how pregnancy will affect their woman’s rockin bod. My husband has been super-supportive of all the changes happening to my body, my best friends are super interested to see how pregnancy will affect their love life, and I even found out that some people have pregnancy fetishes. I suppose there’s a fetish for everything. So while I imagine the only men who would be turned off by their wife being pregnant are the same ones who are still virgins watching too much hentai in mom’s basement, I’m certain there are those couples who really struggle with attraction during pregnancy.

(Squeamish alert: if you made it this far, skip this next paragraph.) If you are struggling with your man having a disinterest due to your body’s changes, arousal will be a two way street. He will have to make an effort to be pleased with your changing body (seeing as it’ll be around for the next good while) and you will need to make an effort to give him time for arousal. You should try manually stimulating him prior to intercourse, by which point I’m sure you’ll be changing his mind regarding pregnancy sex. If you struggle with intimacy during pregnancy and it is causing a rift in your relationship, see a sex therapist. Everyone needs help in some area of their life and sometimes it’s what happens behind closed doors.

Perks. There are some really serious perks to having sex during pregnancy. It’ll really help with your stress levels, relax your muscles, and is just all around a great time.

Hormones and Blood Flow. Yes, those same things that give us zits and cry-fests also make everything that can tingle extra tingly. Whatever hormone cocktail your body serves up during pregnancy makes sex feel completely out of this world. Many women report that pregnancy sex is the best of their lives. And with the increased circulation to all of your nether-regions, the added sensitivity is really surprising, in that pleasant, feather-duster way.

I ‘ave been b’urned by ‘ou bef’our!

SENSITIVE! You are, that is. Many women report that the levels of sensitivity caused by all this happy blood flow and hormone activity make them feel (ironically) like virgins. My personal theory on this is that most women feel like crap during the first trimester, don’t have sex, and then come trimester two they jump on the bandwagon, forgetting that their vagina hasn’t been stretched out by intercourse or a period in three months. The vagina tightens slightly without regular need for expansion and this gives that fresh tight feeling many women experience during the days shortly after losing their virginity. That coupled with the extra sensation and no wonder they feel like they’re a teenager again.

Boobs. Simple fact of the matter is that your boobs will get bigger during pregnancy. Your milk spouts are preparing for what they were created for, so your ta-tas are standing at the ready, eagerly awaiting delivery when they can start producing milk. They probably expanded during your first week of pregnancy and now stand at constant attention waiting for their moment to shine. Your partner will no doubt enjoy your larger boobs and you will probably enjoy the added sensation they receive while they’re being enjoyed. All that extra blood flow coupled with your boobs being at attention makes jill a happy girl. On the down side, you might not want jack to be touching your boobs at all during trimester one, so be sure he knows hands off if you’re having a go at things within the first few months.

Pregnancy Sex Rocks. I wasn’t really sure how to contextualize how awesome having sex when you’re pregnant is, so I figured I’d leave it at that. My husband and I have been enjoying intimate moments together while I’m pregnant more so than we were before. Some women report that after they orgasm their baby kicks around and that’s pretty neat. Sex during pregnancy is just another adventure you and your husband have the opportunity to embark on, so take it by the horns and enjoy it.

Other things to Consider:

Sex Toys are okay during pregnancy too (unless you shouldn’t be having sex). Due to the extra stimulation you’ll experience you may not enjoy the more intense toys as much as you did pre-pregnancy. You also have a heightened chance of having vaginal bruising with harder toys (like those fancy glass ones) so if things start to get painful, stop.

Oral sex is a-okay so long as you do not blow air directly into the vagina. This can cause an air embolism and can be as dangerous for mother as it is for child. Otherwise, oral sex should be fun.

Backdoor play items should be kept separate from front-door play items.  This goes for pregnancy and non-pregnancy alike, but a reminder is always good. Likewise, have your man wear a condom for backdoor play to protect him and have him wash prior to further vaginal intercourse, even after the condom is removed.

Whether or not you orgasm during sex you’ll probably have cramps immediately following. I’ve read plenty of stuff that says to contact your physician if the cramps continue, but my new OB (the good one) didn’t seem very concerned that my cramps continued into the next day following an intense orgasm. That being said, you may enjoy a quicker climax that isn’t as intense rather than an hour-long work up to a super intense orgasm. The more intense your orgasm is, the more likely you are to have intense cramps.

Someone somewhere a while ago insisted that the insertion of semen into the vagina late in the pregnancy term could trigger labor due to some chemical biological physicality bullshit. It’s not true at all and you can go about your business. If you want to read about useless studies here’s one on the migration of frogs. Enjoy!

After you deliver your doctor should recommend you allow yourself to heal for at least six weeks prior to engaging in any form of intercourse. After that you can have at it, but keep in mind you’ve just had a biological shift. Your vaginal wall will be thinner, even after healing up, and you’ll probably have similar unpleasant sensations to losing your virginity. Everything will be sensitive, maybe in uncomfortable ways. So keep your husband satisfied via other methods and take it slow for yourself.

This post was written via request, so if you have any questions you’d like me to write about, leave me a comment or request my email.

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