During my second pregnancy, I was put on modified bed rest with full pelvic rest at 36 weeks. A lot of time spent reading romances and just, waiting. It was also unsatisfying — especially considering the romances. I knew that sex was off limits, but does that include everything? Can you have an orgasm on pelvic rest, or should you just pretend your vagina doesn't exist?
Pelvic rest was really hard for me — it was also really hard for my husband. (In more ways than one — see what I did there?) We'd been enjoying a really robust sex life during the pregnancy, and to have it suddenly taken away from us, before I gave birth and the horror show that would become my vagina would clam jam me for six weeks, was really tough.
In the subsequent years since my daughter was born, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have changed their recommendations about bed rest, stating that "bed rest is not effective for the prevention of preterm birth and should not be routinely recommended." However, pelvic rest is slightly different in that you can go about your normal daily activities, but your bedroom activities are severely limited. Primarily prescribed for conditions like placenta previa or other causes of vaginal bleeding, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, bed rest is still prescribed with reasonable frequency.
But not all sex is penetration. Sometimes, it's just some fancy vibrating panties and a good time. So, can you have an orgasm during pelvic rest? I reached out to Physicians Assistant, Michele Trudeau, and she tells Romper, "Pelvic rest isn't prescribed without a very good reason." She notes that because sex can be such a great stress reliever, doctors and midwives are loathe to take it away, but the truth is — safety first. "If you're prescribed pelvic rest, that means that you can't have sex, or even masturbate."
I asked her about orgasms in your sleep, because I had more than one of those while I was pregnant. Dreamy, dreamy orgasms. Usually featuring those romances I was reading. (So many vampires.) Trudeau says, "Those are unavoidable, and because you're likely not touching yourself in your sleep, they're probably not doing more than engaging the muscles we'd rather not be engaging." She went on to say that it's out of an abundance of caution they ask you not to stimulate yourself, but, unfortunately, it looks like if you're on pelvic rest — hopefully for only a short period of time — you're hanging up your orgasm shoes for a little while.
Thankfully, though, Trudeau says, "We try to keep pelvic rest only as long as absolutely necessary." Well, thank the heavens for small miracles.
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