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Does Masturbating During Pregnancy Cause Contractions? A Look At The Science

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When you're pregnant, there is a lot of extra blood flow to your down below, and that may affect you in surprising ways. You might find yourself more sensitive, and less desiring of intercourse, or it might be just the opposite. One thing is for sure, just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you're no longer a sexual creature. Heck, you're the very embodiment of fertility. If and when the need strikes, could there be complications? If you're flying solo, does that change? Does masturbating during pregnancy cause contractions, or are you safe to go forth?

Orgasms are a huge muscular event. The entire pelvic region clutches, the body's limbs are involved, the rush of oxytocin floods the system — giving the body a feeling of euphoria — and also, a pregnant woman's uterus begins to contract, according to Sexology in Midwifery. Oxytocin is involved in a few processes in the body, from the aforementioned orgasm, to breastfeeding, to childbirth. However, these are not true, labor-bringing contractions. They are merely the byproduct of your orgasm, and shouldn't be overly painful, last for more than a few hours, or be accompanied by any dizziness, severe bleeding (more than two tablespoons) or headache. If they are, you need to call your doctor right away, as these are red flags in pregnancy.

Most of the time, the contractions can be irritating, especially if you're trying to go to sleep after you masturbate, but pass relatively quickly, and without much fanfare.

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According to Family Medicine, sex and masturbation during pregnancy is a healthy, safe activity provided that you're given the go ahead by your doctor, and you aren't engaging in any risky sex practices. While masturbation is generally considered the safest sex, there is a small cause for concern when it comes to the use of toys during masturbation. According to a study in American Family Physician, sex toys need to be used only if they're extremely clean, because you don't want to upset the delicate microbiome of your vagina while you're pregnant, causing infection and leading to possible problems. Also, if you're using a phallus-shaped dildo or vibrator and penetrating yourself, you should be cautious in your approach. These toys are far more rigid than say, an erect penis or your hand, and can therefore cause a significant amount of tearing or damage to the sensitive vulva and vagina.

Does masturbation cause contractions if you don't orgasm? It's unlikely. Because it's the orgasm that releases the highest concentration of oxytocin, and the oxytocin is responsible for the onset of the contractions, masturbation without release is like lighting a bottle rocket, but dunking it in water. Also, it's like breakfast cereal without sugar — dear Lord, what's the point?

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Along with cramping and contractions, be aware that you may spot or bleed lightly after masturbating, especially if you penetrate your vagina at any time. The increased blood flow to your genitals puffs the tissue up more than at any other time, and all of those tiny capillaries are near the surface. Tearing is easy to do, and happens fairly often, according to HealthyWomen.org. If it's heavy, or if you feel off or dizzy, call your provider.

Masturbation is a fun, safe way to pass the time, and you don't need any special equipment. Heck, the very point of masturbating is that you're doing it solo — not necessarily alone, though, am I right? If ever there's something that's worrying you about your body during pregnancy, call your doctor. That's what they're there for. Trust me, they've heard it all before. Also, they've totally masturbated — everyone has. There is no shame in your game. So if your contractions are scaring you, call them. Otherwise, have fun. I did hear that there's a new 50 Shades of Grey book out now.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

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