When you're pregnant, you become hyper aware that your body is not just your own. Every thing — every bite of food or sip of a drink — that enters your body is shared with baby. But what about when something else enters your body? Some people are totally at ease about having sex while pregnant, while others have trouble with the idea (and physical logistics) of it. For that camp, knowing the facts about pregnancy sex can help ease any concerns — like, what does the baby feel during pregnancy sex? And can having sex negatively affect your pregnancy?
I always laugh when I hear men make comments that they're "afraid to hurt the baby" because they likely have an overinflated sense of what they're packing down there... or maybe just an inaccurate idea about where the baby is actually located. Your male partner will not be able to poke your baby in the head. It's important to understand that, even if your partner is absolutely #blessed in size, the baby is very well protected within your uterus. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the baby is surrounded by a fluid-filled amniotic sac that protects it from injury. Additionally, according to The Bump, your cervix has an extra layer of protection with your mucus plug, which develops by week 12 of pregnancy. Lydia Yeager, a certified pediatric nurse practitioner, sums it up nicely for Romper: "There are lots of biological protections in place to ensure that a baby is able to develop and grow in a safe, secure environment."
Of course, there are situations when sex should be avoided. "There are, however, some contraindications to sex during pregnancy, such as problems with your cervix or placenta, an organ that sustains and regulates your baby. Your OB-GYN is trained to recognize these problems and will discuss this with you if these conditions arise," Yeager tells Romper. "It is really important to communicate with your OB-GYN if you experience any pain or bleeding during or after sex or any abnormal vaginal discharge, as these symptoms could indicate a more serious problem."
Under normal, healthy circumstances, sex won't harm the baby... but what do they actually feel during sex? Well, it's inevitable that your baby will feel the motion of the ocean while you're doing your thing. If you're bouncing up and down, baby is too. As you and your partner change positions, your baby will be changing positions right along with you. Again, this is not a bad thing. Mary Jane Minkin, a professor at Yale University School of Medicine and author of A Woman's Guide to Sexual Health, reminds couples that babies do not know what's going on, and they're totally safe in there. "Your baby is not neurologically capable of figuring out that you're having sex and is well-cushioned by the amniotic fluid," Minkin told Fit Pregnancy. Your baby probably feels like they're on a nice, bouncy boat ride.
Some women are nervous about what baby feels during the grand finale — the orgasm. According to parenting website Just Parents, "If you achieve orgasm through sex, the baby will most likely feel a squeeze. When you have an orgasm, your uterus contracts, and because the baby is inside of your uterus, he or she will feel it." Basically, your baby will get a sweet little hug when mama reaches the Big O. That sounds like a win-win situation for everyone. And don't worry — these orgasm-induced uterine contractions won't send you to the hospital early. "We don't know what exactly causes labor, but in a normal pregnancy, having an orgasm is not dangerous and will not induce preterm labor," Minkin told Fit Pregnancy.
One common concern that couples have is that the baby is very active, or has an increased heart rate, after sex. Some take this to mean that the baby is in distress. Don't worry. Babies are often more active after sex simply because the bouncing and squeezes woke them up. Plus, baby's heart rate goes up when mom's does. According to an article on Babble.com, "If you notice a little extra kicking post-orgasm, this is most likely because of increased circulation, which can make your baby start moving more."
If you're in the mood for sex during your pregnancy, don't deprive yourself. Unless your doctor has specifically asked you to refrain from intercourse, sex is absolutely fine for baby. Sure, they might feel some extra bouncing and hear a few interesting new sounds, but don't be bashful. After all, they owe their existence to this act... and they're lucky to have parents who can't keep their hands off each other.