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having sex while pregnant

A Field Guide to Intimacy while Pregnant

Because you’re pregnant — not dead.

A lot of parents-to-be worry about having sex during pregnancy out of fear it could harm the developing child. But nine months is a long time to go without sex – and, luckily, there’s no good reason why you should abstain. Here’s everything you need to know about having sex while pregnant.

All you need to know about having sex during pregnancy

First, this guide assumes two things: (1) your pregnancy is progressing normally, with no risk factors or complications, and (2) you’re in a monogamous, STD-free sexual relationship. If neither of those things are true for you, consult your doctor for individualized guidance on having sex during pregnancy.

Can you have sex while pregnant?

Yes, yes and yes! Sex is a natural part of life, as is having a baby. If you have a normal pregnancy, having intercourse during pregnancy is totally fine up until your water breaks (unless your doctor has indicated otherwise).

In fact, due to fluctuating hormones, your sex drive during pregnancy may be extra enthusiastic; on the other hand, nausea, fatigue, and swelling can lower your libido as well. Both situations are totally normal.

Will having sex while pregnant hurt the baby?

It seems obvious: the penis goes into the vagina, which is where the baby lives – but biology is prepared for this. Upon pregnancy, your body forms an amniotic sac around the fetus and develops a mucus plug that blocks the cervix, the opening between the uterus and vagina. This plug prevents infection – and your partner’s penis from poking anyone in the eye. It is not possible for your partner to hurt the baby with his penis, no matter how optimistic he may be about his endowment.

Will having intercourse while pregnant hurt me?

No – but you may want to avoid the missionary position during the later stages of pregnancy, just because any position that has you lying flat on your back can be uncomfortable. The weight of the baby can put pressure on major blood vessels if you stay in that position for a long time, which, frankly, let’s be honest, is probably not the case. Real life isn’t an adult movie when it comes to longevity.

Also, during your first trimester, you may experience light bleeding or spotting during sex. This is quite normal, due to the enlargement of capillaries in the cervix, and is not a sign that anything is wrong. But you should mention it to your doctor nonetheless.

What are the best sex positions during pregnancy?

Great question. Really, it’s anything that comfortable for you. In the first trimester, this probably means anything that doesn’t make you nauseous. In the third trimester, when you’re physically bulkier, doggy style, spooning, or anything with you on top tends to be most comfortable.  But really, from a medical standpoint, anything goes.

Can an orgasm cause labour?

Having sex during pregnancy’s last days is a common home prescription for inducing labour. And while it’s true that the uterus may contract when a woman has an orgasm (an especially powerful climax could lead to uterine contracts that last up to half an hour), unless your body is ready to go into labour, it won’t. So, don’t let a little thing like pregnancy stand in the way of a great orgasm.

Is having oral sex during pregnancy OK?

Performing oral sex with pregnant women is totally fine. (There are some concerns out there in the vast inter web about the danger of air embolisms if a partner blows air into the vagina. Please rest assured, if this is your thing, that a vaginal air embolism due to some sexy time puffing is extraordinarily rare, and really should not be at the top of your medical concerns during pregnancy.)

What about having anal sex during pregnancy — is that OK, too?

Again, anal sex with pregnant women is totally fine. But the thing about having anal sex during pregnancy is that it might aggravate certain anal conditions associated with pregnancy – namely, haemorrhoids and fissures from constipation. If you’re experiencing those conditions, best to avoid having anal sex while pregnant.

One important point: If you have a low-lying placenta (placenta praevia), anal sex isn’t an option for you, sorry, as it can cause trauma to the placenta.

What about BDSM while pregnant?

A little light preggo bondage is fine, if that’s your thing — although keep in mind your changing body and circulation might make it more uncomfortable and difficult to be bound or maintain one position for a long time. Spanking and role playing are OK, too – though watch the level of ‘danger’ it evokes; studies have found high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in mothers can affect babies’ brain development.

The one thing that’s out is any erotic choke play while pregnant. That’s a definitive no-no. You may not be eating for two, but you’re definitely breathing for two.

Anything else I need to know before getting down?

The key to having sex during pregnancy is listening to your body and doing what feels right – and not doing what feels wrong or uncomfortable. Which is a good rule of thumb for sex in general!

But if you have any concerns – ask your OB/GYN. They’re already up to their elbows in your ladybits, so there’s really no room for further embarrassment, is there?

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