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Sex and the Pregnant Girl


Sex and the Pregnant Girl: What every woman (and man) should know

Have I got your attention with the title? The thing is that this is a delicate subject with many myths. It is also one that many women feeling very uncomfortable discussing with their doctors or midwives.

First thing to know is that in a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy; it is alright to engage in most sexual activities right up to the time that labour begins. But of course, always follow your doctor or midwife's specific recommendation. They will be the ones to let you know if there is a medical reason not to engage in sex, usually things such as placenta previa or pre-mature rupture of the membranes.

Second thing to know is that with all humans there is a range of responses to pregnancy. Of course, we have all heard about many women whose enjoyment of and response to sex is greatly increased during pregnancy. That does occur in many cases, especially during the second and third trimester when the tiredness and nausea have begun to abate. During this time when blood circulation is already increased to the reproductive organs in order to sustain the baby, sensation can be heightened. It is not unheard of that women who had been unable to achieve orgasm will be able to do so during pregnancy. In addition, some women and men find great freedom because as ironic as it may sound during this time, they are relieved of the fear of impregnation.

But it is also important to understand that this does not happen to all women. In some cases, the discomforts of pregnancy (the increasing size, frequent urination, heartburn or swelling) may prevent a woman from engaging not only in sex but other everyday activities. Other times it can the psychological adjustment to the changing body image. Unfortunately, in our size conscious culture some people (either pregnant women or their partners) confusing the growing bump with other weight issues. If this is the case with you or your partner then sometimes these issues can be resolved with encouragement and loving support. The important thing though is to accept and accommodate any change in sexual appetite. The same communication skills that are as necessary as new parents come in handy now...listening, empathising and accommodating the needs of others.

Other things to know about sex during pregnancy:

Position is important: Some positions for sexual intercourse that you may have enjoyed (almost been routine) before may now not be possible because of the increasing size of your bump. Don't let this discourage you. Pick up an illustrated copy of the Karma Sutra. In addition to the spoons, woman on top and rear-entry (doggy) that you may have heard are better during this time; there are dozens/hundreds of other more imaginative ones as well.

Breasts: Just as your fanny may be more sensitive during pregnancy so too likely are your breasts to be. While it is possible especially during the final weeks of pregnancy that any stimulation of the breast especially the nipples may trigger contractions these are likely to be the beneficial Braxton Hicks type that hep to soften the cervix and prepare your body for birth. But as before discuss any specific concerns with your doctor or midwife especially if you have a previous history of pre-mature labour.

Alternatives: As the old saying goes...there is more than one way to skin a cat. If for any reason intercourse is not enjoyable or advisable, then showing affection through oral stimulation can offer an alternative. While there is an extremely rare but serious condition called air embolism that can occur in pregnancy as the result of cunnilingus, it is not a significant worry as long as air is not blown directly into the vagina. But if your partner has had a cold or sore throat it may be advisable to abstain as Beta Strep (Strep B), a growing cause of concern in medical circles because it can result in life-threatening infections in the newborn, can be passed in this way. And there is absolutely no risk to either mother or baby from performing fellatio, even if she chooses to swallow the ejaculate.

Orgasms: The female orgasm may result in a significant tightening of the uterine muscle, but this should not be a concern. This contraction is very similar to Braxton Hicks contractions. The tightness should disperse within about five to ten minutes. There is no need to worry that you are starving the baby of oxygen during this time. Just the opposite in fact, the female orgasm results in a significant increase in blood supply to the uterus. As a result you may notice that the baby is slightly more active afterwards, but this is fine. As for the male orgasm, there are actually chemicals in the male ejaculate which can aid the cervix in softening and ripening (natural version of the ones they use to induce labour in smaller quantities). So it is NOT a myth that sexual intercourse close to term can help kick start labour.

Baby: There is absolutely no scientific or even valid anecdotal evidence of causing either physical or psychological harm to the unborn baby by engaging in sexual relations. All of the jokes and funny stories aside, your child is safely ensconced in your womb. Your cervix prevents any penetration from hurting the foetus throughout the complete term of a normal pregnancy. It may seem odd if junior suddenly starts doing somersaults in there, but this is the result of your increased breathing and heart rate that results in a significantly noticeable proliferation of oxygenated blood to the baby. Just realise that...and have a sense of humour. This is not the last time the baby will interrupt mummy/daddy time.

These nine months are the beginning of your new life-long adventure in parenthood. But they are also probably the last opportunity you have to be 'just' a couple for at least eighteen years...except for occasional dates and trips of course. This new life that the two of you have created together will make you grow and learn in many ways...physical and mental. With good communication and some creativity, they can also be a wonderful time to explore your sexuality or to focus upon other types of intimacy. So explore your options and enjoy these new forms of intimacy.

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