Pregnancy and sexual intimacy
You’ve finally discovered the much-awaited news, you’re going to be parents! There’s so much joy, but there are some obvious concerns - most of them relating to maternity health and childcare which can be comfortably discussed with families and friends.
However, sexual health and intimacy during pregnancy remain undiscussed and is an area of much confusion.
Getting pregnant does not mean that intimacy or sex has to take a back-seat. If you have a normal pregnancy with no complications, there is no reason to lay-off sex, though each woman’s drive and inclination might differ.
- First trimester: At the beginning of pregnancy with changing hormones, a vast majority of women experience nausea, fatigue, and moodiness. This could lead to a low libido or a general disinterest in sex. This, however, is temporary and elevates as the early symptoms of pregnancy subside.
- Second Trimester: This is the best time of pregnancy when nausea and moodiness have subsided and you have still not put on as much pregnancy weight. Most pregnant women experience a return in libido in their second trimester. Once you find a comfortable position, sex is enjoyable again.
- Third trimester: In the final trimester, pregnant women might be too big with achy backs and joints and swollen feet, especially in the last 1-2 months which could make intercourse difficult. Also, most couples are preoccupied with the baby’s impending arrival in this period. Find other enjoyable ways of expressing your love for each other. Open communication with your partner, expressing what you enjoy and your fears and anxieties is the key.
When should you refrain from sex during pregnancy:
- If you experience any pain or discomfort, stop immediately.
- If you have abnormal bleeding, spotting or vaginal discharge when pregnant.
- If the doctor has diagnosed you with placenta previa i.e placenta too close to the mouth of the cervix.
- If you have cervical insufficiency i.e your cervix has started to dilate too soon during your pregnancy.
- If you are at the risk of premature delivery or have a history of preterm labour.
- If specifically advised by your doctor. Do not hesitate to raise any concerns about sexual intimacy in your early visits to the doctor.
Common myths surrounding sex during pregnancy
#1. Sex will be painful - False
There is no reason for intercourse to be painful during pregnancy. Depending on which trimester you are in, find a suitable position which does not put any pressure on your stomach or breasts.
#2. It will hurt the baby - False
This is the most commonly raised concern. Your baby is cushioned by the amniotic sac and the mucous plug which seals the cervix. The strong muscles of the pelvis also completely protect the baby. Irrespective of the length of the penis, it does not go beyond the vagina and cannot enter the cervix and harm the baby.
Also Read: Is it safe to eat flaxseeds during pregnancy? Benefits and Side effects
#3. Sex or Orgasm will lead to premature labour/miscarriage - False
As long as you have a normal pregnancy and are not already at the risk of pre-term labour (advised by your doctor), sex during pregnancy will not lead to pre-term labour. Orgasm can cause temporary uterine contractions which should stop within an hour or so. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience ongoing contractions.
Also Read: 13 Pregnancy myths and facts
#4. Oral sex is harmful - False
In fact, if you are uncomfortable with intercourse, oral sex may be the way to go but ensure your partner is free of infections. Your partner needs to ensure to not blow air into the vagina as it could lead to complications.
Even If you are advised by your doctor to refrain from sex during pregnancy or are just not up to it, there is still no reason to let intimacy take a backseat. You could:
- Indulge in cuddling, kissing or more non-sexual physical contact
- Try mutual or self-pleasuring
- Give each other massages
If you are, however, sexually active while pregnant, make sure to use condoms to reduce the chances of being infected with STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases). Consensual sex and reproduction is a natural part of all living beings. Do not hesitate to discuss any concerns about your sexual health or your baby’s safety with your doctor.