Sex During Pregnancy
Can I have sex during pregnancy?
This is such a common question for women and their partners when they first get pregnant. Sexual connection can be an important part of our lives. It leads to connection, intimacy, bonding, improvement in self-esteem, and trust. In the beginning of your pregnancy, it can be a little easier to continue as normal, and you absolutely should if it continues to feel good! Your sex drive may even increase, particularly in the beginning. Everyone is different, so you should listen to your intuition and do what feels good to you. (There are rare exceptions of complications with the pregnancy or discomfort that warrant a discussion with your provider.)
Is it safe to have sex while pregnant? Will it cause a miscarriage?
One major misconception is that continuing to have sex can lead to miscarriage and/or hurt the baby. Rest assured, neither is true. Penis in vagina penetration is just that, with the vagina being the part that is penetrated. The fetus sits higher up in the uterus and is well-protected by amniotic fluid.
According to the Mayo Clinic, most miscarriages are caused because the fetus isn’t developing properly (1). However, as with everything else in your pregnancy, you need to listen to your body and what it is calling for. Stay in tune with your sexual desire, urges, and comfort.
What about best sexual positions while pregnant?
The answer is simple – whatever feels good and comfortable, and whatever brings you joy!
Try different positions. As you continue to progress through the pregnancy and your body changes, you will probably have to try out different positions to find the most comfortable and pleasurable ones. Just like each day can feel different throughout the pregnancy, comfort and pleasure from certain positions can also start to feel different. If penetration doesn’t feel good, try oral or (mutual) masturbation with or without toys (check the product labels and find ones made with good quality materials – avoid plastic, glass, toxic chemicals in lubricants, etc). It’s a time a to embrace your new body and new sensations, and that includes your sex life.
What if you don’t feel like having sex?
This is also normal and totally okay! Just like when you are not pregnant, our sexual desires and wants can ebb and flow. There are other ways to create intimacy and stay connected with your partner (and with yourself). Hold hands, hug, touch, cuddle, kiss. Take a bubble bath (with or without your partner), go enjoy a spa day, find acts of self-love and self-care. We can’t stress this enough: do whatever feels good and whatever feels right.
Does sex help induce labor?
The evidence is mixed. However, we do know that there is a hormone in semen called prostaglandins that can cause uterine contractions (keep in mind – this is also why you may need to avoid sex if you are experiencing some pregnancy-related complications). Additionally, we know that when a female orgasms, it can increase uterine activity in most women. So, while there may not be direct evidence supporting it will 100% induce labor, it can help to speed things along. (2)
If you haven’t checked it out already, I highly recommend Lindsey Mathews’ blog Female Masturbation.
As she beautifully pointed out – “…embrace those orgasms. Think of all the oxytocin that is being sent to your baby. Oxytocin acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. Many know it as the love hormone because it is released upon eye contact, hugs, sex, and orgasms. It is the basis for trust.”
Stay connected: with yourself, your body, and your partner. There is no right or wrong way to have sex while pregnant. Be safe, listen to your body, and enjoy those orgasms!
Ali Perez, DCBIRTHFIT S Montgomery County, MD @birthfit_s_moco