When a woman becomes pregnant, it is likely that she'll start thinking about sex. She might wonder how to do it, when to do it, and whether or not to do it at all. No doubt there will be old sayings and generalized advice that may or may not bear any actual scientific truth or medical fact. There will also be superstitions and legends passed down from the older generations. Among all the possible folklore related to women's health, there are old wives' tales about having pregnancy sex that are actually true.
Sexual desire will no doubt be different in every woman. Some may feel like their sex drive is on overdrive and others may feel like their libido packed up and took a trip to Antartica. Either way, it's important to at least understand that, regardless of how you feel at this exact moment, there are so many physical and emotional changes that are going on during pregnancy and will continue through postpartum that will impact your sexual health.
Understanding and accepting the fact that sex will change through the duration of your pregnancy is paramount. There are so many fictional stories that are making the rounds about pregnancy, and most are completely false. But here are seven old wives' tales about having pregnancy sex that are actually true.
1. Sex During Pregnancy Will Hurt You
Sex can absolutely hurt during pregnancy. Will it hurt everyone and every time? No. But consider how many changes your body is going through while being pregnant. What To Expect explained that your breasts are bigger and more sensitive, so breast touching and groping during sex could be more pleasurable or painful. For me personally, my breasts were so huge I barely wanted a bra touching them let alone human hands. The same site also noted that your vulva is engorged from extra blood flow and also extra sensitive, which again could go either way — heightened pleasure or heightened pain.
Certain positions that used to feel good before pregnancy may not anymore. If you're interested in having sex during pregnancy it's important to keep in mind that you may have to get creative and explore what feels good given all of the physical changes happening to your body.
2. It Can Cause Labor
"We say what gets baby in, gets baby out," Megan Brown, a labor doula with Emerge Birth Services in Atlanta told Romper in an interview about sex to help turn breech babies. She explained that the prostaglandins in semen can cause uterine contractions, as well as orgasms which could help jump start labor if you're close to your due date.
The Mayo Clinic website explained that sex during pregnancy for most women is fine and doesn't increase the risk of pre-term labor or premature births. However, if you're at risk for pre-term labor a doctor will most likely recommend avoiding sex.
3. Sex During Pregnancy Is Not Safe
It's true, sex is not OK for every pregnant woman. According to Web MD, sex during pregnancy may not be safe for women who have had several miscarriages, preterm labor, bleeding or an incompetent cervix (this is where the cervix effaces and dilates without contractions).
For women without complications sex is completely fine, but it's important to keep in mind there are very serious exceptions all of which should be talked about with your doctor before you have sex.
4. Oral Sex Is Off Limits
Oral sex can be an issue if your partner blows in your vagina. According to the Mayo Clinic if you receive oral sex you need to make sure your partner knows not to blow air into your vagina. It's rare, but a burst of air could block a blood vessel, which is called an air embolism and it could be life-threatening for you and the baby. Oral sex overall isn't off limits, but if your partner has a habit of blowing into your lady parts it might be a good idea to take a break from it while pregnant.
5. Sex Can Cause Vaginal Infections
If you and your partner are not mutually monogamous relationship the risk for infection exists. The Mayo Clinic website suggests if you're not monogamous to use condoms during pregnancy. The other possible thing that could cause vaginal infections is if you and your partner have anal sex and then go directly into vaginal sex.
6. You Will Be Super Horny
The love hormone oxytocin is super high during these nine months, and it can make a woman feel more bonded to her partner. Live Science noted that oxytocin can make a woman crave intimacy. Oxytocin also increases muscle contractions during orgasms which results in a very big orgasm, according to research in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Another reason for spike in sex drive may be an increase in estrogen which happens around the end of the first trimester. According to the Our Bodies, Ourselves website estrogen increases blood flow to the genitals making them swell and become super sensitive. You'll also have increased lubrication down there.
However, even with the surge of sexy pregnancy hormones, if you're sick, or emotionally worried about your pregnancy you may have zero sex drive. All of which is normal and totally OK.
7. You Should Avoid Sex All Together
You should consider abstaining from sex completely if you're having pregnancy related complications. As mentioned above if you have a high-risk pregnancy or a certain condition that could be exacerbated by sexual activity it's best to wait and talk it out with your doctor first.
Generally speaking, What To Expect explained there are many reasons having sex is a good idea during pregnancy including it can reduce blood pressure, improves sleep, increase the pleasure of orgasms and overall make you happy. But every woman's body is different and every pregnancy is different. It's important to take note of what's going on with you before doing anything that your worried could harm you or the baby, including sex.
Your desire to have sex or not to have sex will be completely unique to you. How you're going to feel regarding sex and intimacy during pregnancy are completely unpredictable and valid, no matter what your feelings are. The most important piece of advice is to listen to your body and follow what it's telling you.