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Sex During Pregnancy

Sex During Pregnancy

Seeing as it’s sex that first got you pregnant, it’s amazing how once we’re pregnant, sex then becomes more of an issue. Is it safe in pregnancy first of all, and second of all our hormones and changing bodies can make sex feel different physically and mentally.  This is what we will address in this article.

Is penetrative sex safe in pregnancy?

Let’s split this up into the three trimesters. The blanket answer is yes, sex is safe in a normal low risk pregnancy. But there are some conditions and times when penetrative sex is not recommended. Your obstetrician or Midwife will tell you if you shouldn’t have sex, or you can discuss it with them if you are concerned.

Sex in the first trimester

The risk of miscarriage is greatest in the first 12 weeks, so there are more tales of sex causing bleeding and then miscarriage, but this is not caused by having sex, rather that it would have happened anyway, and the bleeding was noticed during intercourse. If your pregnancy is assisted, i.e., IVF and you are still using medication like pessaries to support the pregnancy, then I would refrain from sex until you are no longer using the pessaries. If you have had recurrent miscarriages, it may be suggested to not have sex until you are safely in the second trimester. This is more precaution rather than that sex can cause a miscarriage, as outlined above.
The baby is nestled inside a sac with three layers, then inside your cushioned uterus, which is a very strong muscle. Then there is the cervix, which during pregnancy has a thick mucous layer protecting the neck of the womb. During intercourse, even those who are well endowed, the penis does not touch the cervix or go anywhere near the baby inside the uterus. Female orgasms do not cause any harm to the baby, solo or with a partner.

Sex in the second trimester

You will hopefully be in the best trimester now, the sickness fades away and your growing bump isn’t too big. You feel the baby’s movements which reassures you more. Your hormones may make you feel more attractive and up for sex a lot more. Some go the other way and find their libido takes a nosedive. The most important thing is to keep communicating with your partner. They will have to be patient if your sex drive has taken a holiday and support you in other ways. If you’re up for it more, I’m sure they will oblige, but they may feel put off by your body changes – most aren’t to be honest, but again, communication is key.

Sex in the third trimester

This is where it can get interesting! Your bump is growing and getting uncomfortable. What about sex? Is it even possible? Yes, of course it is. You may have to get creative about the positions you choose, your favourite ones may not be as easy as they once were. Intercourse from behind, side lying or woman on top work well in pregnancy. If you are overdue and keen to get things moving, intercourse is often recommended to try and start labour off.
But, hang on Jenny, didn’t you say it doesn’t cause early labour, now you’re saying it can start labour when you’re overdue? Yes, I did say that. It’s the very small amount of prostaglandins in sperm that can help soften the cervix, but it won’t work unless you are very near to starting labour anyway. Those female orgasms will help too and nipple stimulation. All the same hormones in sex are in labour.
So, there’s a whistle-stop tour of sex and pregnancy for you. This is not designed to replace medical advice and you should always check with your healthcare provider if you are not sure.

Find more TIPS about diet during pregnancy here.


About the contributor: 

Jenny, a Mum of 3 school aged children and a Nurse in a GP practice. When she has any free time which is not very often, she enjoys amateur dramatics, crafting and curling up on her sofa with a blanket and her cocker spaniel Archie.

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