It is completely safe for a woman to continue having sex throughout her pregnancy unless her doctor, specialist, or midwife has told her otherwise. Not only is it completely safe to have sex during pregnancy, having sex can have some benefits also.
Being a Reproductive Medicine and Women’s Health Medicine Specialist, I see lots of beautiful pregnant bellies. It is so nice to see all those pregnant bellies and some I have been a big part of them being able to fall pregnant. Personally I think women look their best when they are pregnant. They look so radiant and beautiful and let’s face it, everyone loves to see a pregnant belly and comment how beautiful the mum to be looks. I am sure some women may not feel that way on the inside, but I can tell you that women do get that glow and radiance when they are with child.
When a couple first gets the good news about being pregnant.one of the things I always get asked is “Can we still have sex during the pregnancy?”
The answer will always be “Of course you can”, unless there is something that may prevent that from happening. To be honest, sex during the early stages of embryo growth can actually assist implantation and sex can also help with the increase blood supply to the endometrial lining, which then helps feed and nurture the growing embryo and then later, baby.
It is important for couples to know that sex will not harm the baby at any stage during a normal, healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy. Can I just tell the guys that the uterus (womb) is closed off by the cervix and no man’s penis is ever going to get through that, or in many cases even reach it. They wish they were that big …lol
A woman may not feel like having sex in the first trimester, due to morning sickness, or some early bleeding etc, but I often have to have a joke the males that they are the ones that may be saying “No” later on in the pregnancy. A woman’s sex drive may increase at certain stages of the pregnancy, and this is important for couples to be aware of. It can also be a great time for the couple to bond and come closer together, through increase levels of intimacy. Some men become even more attracted to their partner during pregnancy as the results of different hormone, pheromones and changes to body shape, such as increased breast size.
During pregnancy sex can have many benefits for both the male and female. It can have the following benefits
- It can help with early implantation and assisting the embryo to implant and grow
- It can bring a greater level of intimacy and bonding for the couple
- It can increase the libido of the couple
- Increased hormones and increased blood flow to the genitals can mean better orgasms for women.
- Sex can increase the couples immune system and also keep them fit and healthy
- Sex during pregnancy can increase endorphins which make a couple more happy
The only issues couples may face is that as the belly grows bigger, they may have to adopt certain positions that are more comfortable for the woman. A pregnant woman may be more comfortable where she is in positions where she can control the speed and depth of penetration. Lastly, oral sex is completely safe during pregnancy as well.
Sex and labour
There have been many studies to show that vaginal sex during pregnancy has no increased risk of preterm labour, or premature birth. As mentioned before, if there are concerns, you can speak to your specialist, midwife, or doctor.
When trying to induce labour, sometimes a midwife, or specialist may recommend for you to have increased levels of sex to try and bring the labour on. Many people think it is about the prostaglandins in sperm, which can help ripen the cervix, but it is more about the female orgasm. When a female orgasms, not only is there increased blood supply to the female genitals and uterus etc, but it also helps with hormone activation, such as oxytocin, which is known as the love hormone. But this hormone can help to activate labour at the time a woman is due. It won’t help activate labour any other time in the pregnancy though.
It is possible that sex and orgasm could induce Braxton-Hicks contractions late in pregnancy. Braxton-Hicks are mild contractions that many women experience towards the end of their pregnancy. However, these contractions do not mean that a woman is in labour, or close to being in labour, so they really are of no concern.
When you may need to avoid sex
As mentioned before your specialist, midwife, or doctor are the best people to advise you when to avoid sexual intercourse during her pregnancy. Always consult with your specialist, midwife, or doctor if you are worried about any abnormal signs during pregnancy.The main times that sex might need to be avoided are:
- There are problems with an incompetent cervix, or issues with early labour, or threatened miscarriage
- Any Bleeding, or unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Leaking amniotic fluid
- If a woman’s waters have broken
Sex after giving birth
This will depend on many things and usually a woman will know when she is ready to have sex again. All new mothers need time to heal and recover after giving birth, or after a C-section. Women can return to sexual activity whenever they feel they are ready to do so. Some women may not feel like sex for a while after the baby is born and partners need to be aware of this.
Just to recap
In most cases, sex is completely fine during pregnancy and poses no risk to the mother or baby. Pregnancy can be a time where the couple can enjoy more intimacy and bonding with increased sexual activity. Like I mentioned before the only thing to be aware of is that some positions might become more or less comfortable as the pregnancy progresses. It is important for a couple to continue to have a healthy happy relationship during the pregnancy time and to continue to have a healthy sex life throughout the pregnancy as well.
Dr Andrew Orr
Reproductive Medicine and Women’s Health Medicine Specialist
-The Brisbane Baby Maker
-No Stone Left Unturned