Let’s Talk About Sex (During and After Pregnancy)
SEX. Is it safe to continue having it during pregnancy? For most women, the answer is a resounding yes. If you are having a normal, unproblematic pregnancy — by all means, have at it, sister! You can continue to have sex right up until your water breaks or you go into labor. Under some circumstances, some women will have to modify their activity or even abstain from sex for part or the entirety of their pregnancies. Your physician or midwife should let you know if sex becomes a no-go at any point. But don’t be afraid to speak up! There is no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to having a baby. So let’s talk about it!
Can sex during pregnancy hurt the baby?
Nope! Sex during pregnancy will not harm baby. The amniotic sac and the muscles of the uterus will protect the baby, and the mucus plug seals the cervix to protect against infection. Contrary to popular opinion, the penis does not go past the vagina during sex, so it won’t reach baby. You really don’t have to worry about poking baby in the head.
Can sex cause labor?
Not if you are having a normal pregnancy. There are prostaglandins in your partner’s semen which can help soften your cervix, but this doesn’t usually happen until the end of your pregnancy. Sexual stimulation or orgasm CANNOT cause labor or miscarriage. Orgasm CAN cause mild (and harmless) contractions, but these should subside. (If not, you may want to call your doctor!)
Many women say sex feels different during pregnancy. Some will experience an increase in sexual desire as well as pleasure. Others may find it less pleasant for parts (or all) of pregnancy. It really just depends — each of us is unique, and so are our pregnancies. No one pregnancy is the same.
Did you know? Increased blood flow to the pelvic area can cause engorgement of the female genitalia. The heightened sensation may add to your pleasure during sex! Bonus: it may also increase vaginal discharge (or moisture).
How might (pregnant) sex change?
Your breasts might feel tingly or tender to the touch, especially during your first trimester. If this isn’t your first rodeo, you may start leaking milk a little sooner this time around — and may not even want to be touched! The tenderness generally subsides. Some women will find this to be a turn-on in the bedroom; others not so much. Always be open and honest with your partner regarding your desires. Most men need a little help in the mind reading department. From our experience.
If you are uncomfortable, speak up. Let your partner know. There are other things you can try together (if you are uninterested in intercourse), like oral sex or even self-stimulation. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works for you as a couple. I mean duh, obviously there’s more to physical intimacy than just sex. Try kissing, holding hands, a sensual massage, or gentle caressing. You can express your love for one another without actually making love.
How might pregnancy affect my partner?
Just like your own libido might fluctuate or even disappear during pregnancy — think nausea, extreme fatigue, lack of sleep and raging hormones, those final uncomfortable days of pregnancy — your partner may also experience changes in sexual desire. Some men find their partners just as or even more attractive during pregnancy. Others get hung up on the idea of hurting baby during sex (remind him this is a misnomer), or just can’t get past the idea of having sex with their “precious pregnant wives.” It’s important to be mindful and respectful of his feelings and desires — after all, it takes two to tango. Open communication eases tension.
Believe it or not, oral sex is generally safe during pregnancy. Licking is okay, but do NOT allow your partner to blow into your vagina — this could cause an air bubble that could get into your blood circulation, and could be life threatening to either you or your baby. Another no-no? If your partner has oral herpes (cold sores), he should not go anywhere near your lady parts. Wait until the outbreak clears, and then have at it! (If you so choose.) Worried your partner could have an STD? Protection (latex condoms) is always the best option — or abstinence. We say better safe than sorry.
What about positions? Laying flat on your stomach is not a good idea, and laying flat on your back missionary-style isn’t wise after the first trimester (try wedging a pillow under your back). Your preferences will probably change as your belly grows. Bleeding after sex or cramps that won’t go away are a good reason to call your doctor or midwife. Don’t be afraid to talk to your health practitioner about any sex during pregnancy related questions, and never hesitate to call when something feels wrong.
Sex After Baby…
There’s no denying that sex will be different after baby is born. Just trust us on this one. Your physician will probably tell you to wait until (at least) after your six week postpartum checkup to again engage in sexual activity. You may find things feel a little different down there at first — you will probably need to ease back into your pre-baby sexual routine. And you may (okay probably) find you need extra lubrication. We recommend Good Clean Love’s Almost Naked Organic Personal Lubricant. Infused with a touch of lemon and vanilla, Almost Naked is formulated to provide the same long-lasting glide as conventional lubricants, without all the irritating chemical additives. We are big fans of their “naturally good” product line, and we think you guys will be, too! We encourage you to give it a try — once your doctor says it’s safe to play again, of course! And let us know what you think.
Truth: Baby is going to take up a LOT of time and energy. Also true: Keeping the fire and passion alive with your partner is equally as important as caring for baby. However you choose to go about it, make time for one another. It may not always be easy, but it will most certainly be worth it.