Many women crave sex during pregnancy while others dread it. The good news – or bad news, depending who is looking at it – is that sex during pregnancy is extremely safe and desirous for most men and women.
Sex on a regular basis is safe as long as the pregnancy is proceeding normally — but you might not always want to. Emotions and hormones often take a toll on one’s sex drive and can cause fatigue, nausea and potential adverse pregnancy outcomes. Miscarriages, preterm labour and excessive bleeding from sex is rare but still very important conditions to be aware of.
Sex is generally not the cause of miscarriage as it is usually related to genetics and other chromosomal abnormalities — not due to anything you do or don’t do. However, poor lifestyle management such as an inadequate diet and lack of exercise can result in excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes, hormonal imbalances and additional labour complications.
These can increase the risk a large baby and the need of Caesarean delivery — also known as a C-section. Sexual activity – unless it’s excessively rough – won’t affect the baby. The baby is protected by the strong muscles of the uterus and suspended in a sac of fluid. The man-on-top position does become progressively more uncomfortable and should be avoided during the third trimester. At this time, the growing uterus can compress major abdominal blood vessels and cause an array of symptoms associated with diminished blood flow
A condition called supine hypotensive syndrome can develop if the blood vessels are compressed. This can change blood pressure, heart rate, and negatively affect the foetus. Experts agree that experimenting with positions is what works best. This approach allows you to keep safety in mind while still focusing on mutual pleasure and comfort. Popular positions include lying next to your partner sideways or have the female on top. Both men and women need to practice safe sex regardless of pregnancy status.
Exposure to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during pregnancy can terminate the pregnancy or severely affect the health of the mother and unborn child. Conditions such as hepatitis B, HIV, herpes, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and genital warts are easily transmittable. Anal sex is not recommended during pregnancy. Anal sex is often painful and uncomfortable with pregnancy-related haemorrhoids.
Anal sex can cause trauma and bleeding that increases the risk of spreading infections between partners and foetus. If you choose to receive oral sex during pregnancy, make sure your partner does not blow air into your vagina. This act can cause a deadly blood clot that travels to the lungs. Oral sex is generally considered safe during pregnancy but it also has risks of STI transmission. Use a latex condom each and every time you have sex.
Limit the number of sexual partners if you’re single, unmarried or not committed. The more partners you have, the more likely you are to catch a STI. To reduce your risk, practice monogamy. This means having sex with only one person. Regardless of if you’re pregnant or not, don’t use alcohol, tobacco or drugs before or after sex.