Pregnancy can be a joyous time for women (sans the morning sickness and swollen ankles), but it’s not without its restrictions. Almost any pregnancy book will tell you that you need to cut out coffee, say no to lunch meat, and pass the litter box duties on to your partner. But is sex included in that list of limitations? Whether it’s all you think about or the last thing on your mind, knowing if pregnancy sex is safe can make you more comfortable.
For many women, pregnancy brings out the sex fiend they didn’t know they had. With all of that extra estrogen flowing through you to support your pregnancy, What To Expect notes that you may find that your sensitivity is heightened in all of your erogenous zones, like your pelvis and your breasts. Your new shape and the fact that you feel like a fertility goddess may be increasing your libido as well. (And if you’re not feeling sexy, don’t worry – that’s just as normal.) But as horny as you may be, you may be hesitant to have sex knowing that there’s a baby growing inside of you. To find out exactly what’s fair game in the bedroom during pregnancy, I spoke with certified nurse midwife Marianne Reeves. So if you’re feeling up to getting down, here are ten things to know about having sex when you’re pregnant.
“As long as your pregnancy is normal and proceeding like it should, there’s no reason to avoid sex during pregnancy,” Reeves says. Sex is already beneficial to your health, and it’s no different during pregnancy. “Many women find that sex helps them to relax during those early anxious months.”
If you have a low sex drive during pregnancy, don't worry. Pregnancy already comes with a long list of potential sex deterrents like hemorrhoids, nausea, and back pain. “It’s normal to not be interested in sex during your pregnancy,” Reeves says. Luckily, you don’t have to have sex to be intimate with your partner. And who knows – you might even get your groove back as your pregnancy progresses.
Sure, your baby’s right there, but I promise they have no idea what’s going on. “Your baby is protected in an amniotic sac, filled with fluid, inside your uterus. Your uterus is then protected by the cervix,” Reeves explains. “There’s no reason to worry that sex will harm your baby.” If your partner’s concerned about the baby getting poked or prodded, let him know that no penis in the world is large enough to do such a thing. (No, honey. Not even yours.)
With all that extra blood flow to your pelvic region, you might get to enjoy some of the best sex ever while pregnant. “During pregnancy, estrogen causes an increase in blood to your pelvis. Some women say that this increases their sensitivity and makes having an orgasm easier and sex more enjoyable,” Reeves says. “You may also experience more vaginal secretions than normal, which can make sex easier and more comfortable.”
If your baby was practicing to be a Rockette and now there’s radio silence after sex, don’t fret. “Often, the movement of sex can lull your baby to sleep, just like when you’re moving around during the day. You may notice the baby picks back up its normal movements once you’re laying down,” says Reeves. But she also adds that moms-to-be should keep an eye on their baby’s movement. “If you notice a huge decrease in your baby’s movement, even if you haven’t had sex, it’s always best to call your doctor for a kick count.”
Yup, oral sex is totally cool. “There’s no issue with you or your partner enjoying oral sex,” Reeves says. In fact, it may be the perfect way to have an orgasm without wearing yourself out. Some experts also say that you shouldn’t let your partner blow air directly into your vagina, as it could block a blood vessel and cause an air embolism, which could be a life-threatening condition for you and your sweet babe.
“Orgasms and intercourse can cause uterine cramping,” Reeves says. “Take it easy and the cramping should go away. As always, if you’re concerned, you should call your doctor.” Sex during pregnancy can also cause you to experience Braxton Hicks.
Sex during pregnancy is totally fine, unless you have a specific case that requires you to abstain. “Your doctor may put you on pelvic rest if your cervix is opening, you have placenta previa, or if you’re experiencing some bleeding,” Reeves explains. If you’re worried, give your doctor a call to make sure you’ve got the green light to get it on.
“You may find that some positions are uncomfortable, but in general, any position is fine during sex,” Reeves says. Finding a comfortable pregnancy sex position that works for you and your partner can make your romp even more enjoyable.
You might be panicking about pregnancy sex because of that old wives’ tale saying sex brings on labor. Well, that is sort of true. “There’s no guarantee, but sex releases prostaglandins which can help to induce labor,” Reeves shares. “But if you’re not near your due date, you shouldn’t worry about inducing labor with sex.” So turn down the lights and have as much sex as you want before that baby gets here!