Pregnancy Lifestyle

Can I Make Love During Pregnancy?

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Q. Can I make love during pregnancy?

A. Yes!

It is natural when you are a mum-to-be to worry about a lot of things, but having sex during your pregnancy shouldn't be one of them. If you have a normal pregnancy you can make love the whole way through your pregnancy. Some women have sex even in the very late stages to kick-start their labour.

It is inevitable that your pregnancy will affect how sexy you feel - sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a negative way. Your body will go through huge physical and emotional changes and the way you and your partner respond to those changes can have an effect on your sex life.

There are emotional benefits of making love regularly during your pregnancy. It helps strengthen the bond between you and your partner and keeps your relationship strong for when they baby arrives. Although it hasn't been proven, it is thought that making love may benefit your baby because you feel happy, relaxed and loved - emotions that will be passed onto your baby.

Is it safe to make love during my pregnancy?

It is very common for couples to worry that they might hurt their baby if they make love - men can be especially anxious about this. However, you will not harm your baby by having sex, even if you are in the missionary position when your partner is lying on top of you.

Some couples worry that having sex may cause an infection. But unless your partner has a sexually transmitted disease, there is no chance that this will happen. Your pregnant body is very clever because it has made a mucus plug that seals the opening of your cervix. This plug acts as a barrier to sperm and protects your baby against any infection that may enter your vagina. The amniotic sac and the muscles in your womb (uterus) also cushion and protect your baby from any pressure or movement on top of you.

Medical research has shown that in a healthy, normal pregnancy there is no link between having sex and early miscarriage or premature birth. In fact, it is thought that if you have sex and have orgasms regularly throughout your pregnancy you have less chance of giving birth early.

Are there any circumstances when I shouldn't make love during my pregnancy?

Your doctor or midwife will tell you if there is any medical reason why you should be careful with your sex life during your pregnancy. Typical reasons may be if you have abdominal pains or cramps, a history of cervical weakness or a low-lying placenta (placenta praevia). If you experience any bleeding after having sex you must let your doctor or midwife know about it.

You may be advised to avoid having sex if your partner has a sexually transmitted disease, such as genital herpes.

You should avoid having sex in the late stages of your pregnancy if your membranes have broken.

I've heard sex can be better during pregnancy. Is this true?

It can certainly be true for some women, but everyone is different. Some women experience a real boost to their libido during pregnancy thanks to their racing hormones and increased vaginal secretions. For some couples, the freedom of making love without the need to worry about contraception makes their sex life more fulfilling.

When you are pregnant, the blood flowing to your pelvic area increases and this can cause your genitals to become engorged which may make you feel sexier. You could feel constantly 'turned on' because of this, especially in the second trimester. But for some women this can become a bit too much and make them feel uncomfortable during sex or unsatisfied afterwards. The clitoris can be slightly less sensitive during pregnancy and so you may find it harder to reach orgasm or your orgasms may be less powerful than you are used to.

Some women find sex painful during pregnancy, especially if penetration is deep. If this happens, try other sexual positions where penetration is shallower or you feel more in control. It might also be worth using a lubricant to avoid any soreness in your vagina.

I don't feel 'in the mood' for sex since I got pregnant. Should I be worried?

No, please don't worry. There are so many changes going on in your pregnant body that it is common for your feelings towards sex to change too. While some women react to the changing levels of hormones by feeling sexy, others lose their libido, which may come as a bit of a shock.

Of course your bump is also getting bigger and bigger. If you are comfortable with your pregnant body, you may feel more confident in your own skin and so feel more sexual. But many women feel "fat", large or heavy and as a result feel more insecure in the bedroom.

You may not fancy an early night of rampant sex now, but this might change. Many women feel anything but sexy during their early pregnancy. In the first trimester you may be feeling exhausted and have pregnancy sickness so this is hardly going to get you in the mood. You may feel that your bed is for one thing only: sleep! The second trimester is usually the time when you've stopped feeling so tired and sick and don't feel too 'huge'. This is when many women feel at their sexiest during their pregnancy. Plus, the added bonus that you are no longer feeling the pressure of trying to get pregnant may mean you relax and feel sexually liberated.

My partner's sex drive has changed. Is this normal?

Many men do become a bit anxious or nervous about making love during their partner's pregnancy. Often dads-to-be are worried they might hurt the baby, or that the baby might know what is going on. Your partner may feel protective over you and your baby and so wouldn't want to do anything that might harm either of you. And, of course he will be adjusting to the changes your body is going through as well as you.

Be really open with your partner if you are worried he seems reluctant to make love to you. Try to talk about his feelings or fears and explain that there is no reason why having sex would hurt either you or his unborn baby.

Which are the best sexual positions to use during pregnancy?

You may find that different sexual positions work better for you and your partner as your bump gets bigger during your pregnancy. Remember that from the fourth month of your pregnancy you should avoid lying on your back for too long. It is best to keep trying different positions to see which feels best:

  • If you want to be in control of the depth of penetration try sitting on top of your partner.
  • To take the pressure off your bump, you may find it more comfortable to have your partner behind you, either lying down in the spoons position or kneeling on hands and knees in the doggy position.

After I orgasm strange things are happening. Why is this?

When you have an orgasm, you may feel your baby move around and may wriggle more than usual. This is not because your baby is distressed, or feels uncomfortable, but happens because your heart is beating faster and because of the hormones your body is releasing.

When you orgasm this can trigger a wave of contractions causing your uterus to tighten, which may result in abdominal cramps. These are common in the third trimester and are similar to Braxton Hicks contractions. If you experience cramping, try to relax, breathe slowly and deeply and they should calm down.

Whatever works, go for it!

If you feel in the mood, there's no reason to give up your sex life during pregnancy. You've created a life together so should enjoy the closeness that this can bring between you. Even if you don't feel like a sex goddess, a kiss and a cuddle or even some gentle foreplay could satisfy you both. Keep talking to your partner and you may find your relationship goes from strength to strength.

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This internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult a doctor or other healthcare professional.