With pregnancy comes lots of changes for your physical body and your emotions. It’s not surprising that there can be changes around sex.
For some women and their partners, nothing changes. Their sex drives remain the same as what it was before pregnancy and they continue their regular routine.
But that isn’t the case for everyone, which we’ll look at shortly.
But first, is sex in pregnancy safe?
The basic answer is yes! A bubble of amniotic fluid as well as strong uterine muscles protects your baby. Your baby can’t be hurt during sex, nor will they feel anything. There is also a thick uterine seal (Mucous Plug) in your cervix, which protects baby from anything coming up the vagina that might cause an infection.
There may be some circumstances where sex isn’t the best idea and your health care provider can talk to you about this.
Times to avoid sex in pregnancy;
- If you are at risk of pre-term labour/premature birth
- You have complete placenta previa
- You have unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Your membranes have released
- Your cervix opens prematurely in pregnancy
I heard sex can start labour though?
In low risk, healthy pregnancies, sex is only effective enough to start labour when your body and baby are totally ready for labour. If body and baby are ready to go, then sex can be a trigger that gets it to start.
The contraction motion of the uterus during orgasm can prompt labour surges to begin. The prostaglandins in semen can help soften and ripen the cervix.
Many women use sex as a natural induction method once they are past 37 weeks. For some women it works, and others it doesn’t.
Now, do you feel like having sex?
There are lots of things that can affect sex drive in pregnancy. For some women, sex drive decreases. In the first trimester, you may feel tired, sick and sore so may not feel like making love. During the second trimester, sometimes your sex drive comes back and then might say goodbye again in the last trimester as you get bigger and more tired.
For other women, pregnancy is a time of increased sex drive. Pregnancy hormones makes you feel loved up, blood flow to the breasts and genitals increase sensitivity and you feel more connected to your partner.
Of course we have your partner to think about too! For some partner’s they feel more attracted than ever to their pregnant, goddess woman.
But occasionally a partner’s desire can decrease for a range of reasons. Maybe they are stressed about the pregnancy, birth or parenthood. Or sometimes they look at pregnant women in a more maternal way, which is a new, strange emotion for them.
It’s not all about sex baby!
There are many other activities you can do if one or both of you don’t feel like sex. All the other foreplay activities or maybe some new ones – taking a shower together, nude cuddles – staying connected and open to trying other ways to be close can be fun!
Do we need to use condoms?
The best thing about the nine months you are pregnant is you don’t get your period and you can’t get pregnant again! You don’t need to worry about birth control unless you’re trying to protect yourself against STD’s or STI’s – in that case, use condoms.
As you’ll soon work out, that beautiful belly can get in the way of some of your favourite positions!
Spooning or a supported doggy style means that your tummy is out of the way. You on top, either with you partner lying or sitting can be good options too.
When should I call my midwife or doctor about concerns after sex?
It is normal to feel some minor cramping either during or after sex but it should pass very quickly. Some women also experience a little bit of spotting. If you have pain that won’t dissipate or bleeding, give your care provider a call.
You can also arrange to talk to them about stress or anxiety around sex in pregnancy.