Beliefs about pregnancy sex vary across cultures. Some think intercourse can harm the unborn baby. Others believe that sex helps the baby to grow. And some have wholly different ideas, based on the various stages of a woman’s pregnancy.
It may be confusing to make sense of all the conflicting information out there. Regardless of beliefs, we are going to break down the information to help you understand how pregnancy sex can be a healthy and erotic time in your life!
Pregnancy Sex Drive
In spite of all the various beliefs and cultural ideas about pregnancy sex, your sex drive may change while you are pregnant. Some women feel so tired and nauseous that sex is the last thing they want. Some have an increased libido from not worrying about contraception. For others yet, the increased sensitivity and blood flow to the genitals create a higher sex drive than ever before. Some women become multi-orgasmic. Some are so tender, that being touched is not comfortable for much of their pregnancy. And some women fall in the middle of that spectrum.
Don’t judge or hold yourself to a specific expectation. Be open and curious about your pregnancy sex drive and the new sensations you experience. Listen to your body. Be gentle with yourself. What feels comfortable is safe and right for you.
Where Does Sperm Go During Pregnancy?
If you have a male partner, you may be wondering “where does sperm go during pregnancy?” Is it safe to be exposed to sperm during sex and can it reach the baby?
Not to worry. During pregnancy, the baby is encased in a sac of amniotic fluid within the uterus. The fluid is a great equalizer of pressure and protects the baby in a warm, buoyant cocoon. At the mouth of the uterus is the cervix, which is closed by a mucous plug during pregnancy. The cervix feels firm and hard, like the tip of your nose, during pregnancy and until labor begins. The sperm is deposited near the cervix during sex and is kept out of the uterus by a mucous plug. The sperm mixes with the vaginal secretions, becoming part of your normal discharge. It doesn’t reach your uterus because it is blocked by this mucous plug.
The sperm is healthy for your cervix and vaginal canal. The sperm has prostaglandins that are rich in protein and hormones which bathe your cervix and ripen it in preparation for labor.
An important note: pregnancy does not protect you or your baby from getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Using barriers such as condoms or dental dams during any sexual activity with new sexual partners is recommended.
Benefits of Sex During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a normal physiological state of a woman’s body. Therefore, sex during pregnancy is normal. Numerous studies have shown that for low-risk pregnancies, sex during pregnancy is healthy and will not increase the risk of miscarriage or preterm labor. There are very few reasons why sex would not be safe during a low-risk pregnancy, and can even be healthy.
Aside from the numerous benefits of sex in general, there are specific benefits that only occur during pregnancy. For many women, the increased blood flow and fluids in the genital area bring increased sensitivity to the clitoris and vagina. The tenderness and sensitivity of the nipples may also heighten sensation. Some women are able to orgasm for the first time, or even multiple times. Orgasms may feel different and new. Enjoy this time discovering new levels of pleasure on your own or with a partner.
Another benefit of sex during pregnancy is labor preparation. Sometimes the uterus may cramp, or have Braxton Hicks contractions, with the uterus tightening like a hard rock. The uterus is a muscle and the contractions from sex or orgasm will help tone that muscle in preparation for labor. Sex can be a fun, enjoyable preparation for the hard work of giving birth. One little known benefit of pregnancy sex is also the toning of your pelvic floor muscles. You can even practice your Kegels during sex which increases sensation for both partners!
And let’s not forget oxytocin! Oxytocin is a hormone released by your brain during sex and orgasm (also during birth & breastfeeding) to decrease pain. It’s the perfect antidote for when your lower back is cramping or your legs are aching. It also increases feelings of happiness and contentment, which may be something you crave when the stress and emotions of pregnancy have you feeling out of sorts. And, when you’re feeling good, your cortisol levels will be lower, which will help your baby’s development. Your baby will feel your good hormones too! Oxytocin is great natural medicine and is just what the midwife or doctor ordered.
Getting Creative with Sexual Positions
With a growing uterus, finding positions for sex can be a fun, creative adventure.
Spooning while sitting up offers a lot of room for manual stimulation. Side-lying helps with giving the belly somewhere to rest. You can use pillows if needed to prop or support your back or belly. The pregnant partner on top allows for more control and depth, and no pressure on the uterus. Rear-entry allows for the uterus to rest and drop forward which is very comfortable on the lower back.
Positions to Avoid During Pregnancy
The positions to avoid during pregnancy are anything that puts too much pressure on the uterus.
Laying on the back in a missionary position after about halfway through the pregnancy could cause dizziness and faintness from the pressure on the large blood vessels in the lower part of your body. At times, some women may not be able to find vaginal penetration comfortable from a sense of fullness. Oral, manual, or self-pleasure may be more comfortable for a while.
Is it Bad to Have Too Much Sex While Pregnant?
As long as your pregnancy is low-risk, there is no such thing as too much sex during pregnancy. So, is it bad to have too much sex while pregnant? Nope, the more, the better! Enjoy sex as often as you would like that feels comfortable to you.
Painful sex during pregnancy is not common. If finding a comfortable position does not help, pain should be investigated for signs of infection or other causes. There are also some cases when sex may be harmful for a high-risk pregnancy. It’s important to know when to stop sex during pregnancy, or when not to start.
When to stop sex during pregnancy:
- You are experiencing painful sex during pregnancy that is not resolved
- You have a history of repeated miscarriages
- There is a risk of preterm labor
- Unexplained bleeding
- Amniotic fluid that is leaking or when the amniotic sac has ruptured
- Diagnosed incompetent cervix (a condition in which the cervix effaces and dilates without contractions in the second or early third trimester as a result of the baby’s weight putting increased pressure on it)
- A rare condition called Placenta previa
For a healthy, low-risk woman, there are few disadvantages of sex during pregnancy. Enjoy and embrace the beautiful sensual curves and changes in your growing, pregnant body. These nine months can be a time of discovery – a time to connect with your own self and your partner. Sex during this time may be new, exciting, and full of pleasurable moments never reached before.
How a Sex Coach Can Help
If you are feeling uncomfortable around sex during pregnancy, want someone to talk with, or would like to figure out the best ways to have sex during pregnancy, you may want to work with a sex coach.
A sex coach can help you explore these topics in an open and non-judgmental atmosphere and support you in making the right decisions for you. Additionally, if you happen to have differences with your partner in how each of you want to approach sex during pregnancy, a sex coach can facilitate a discussion. You can each share your needs, feelings, boundaries, and capacity in a safe space, and empathize and hopefully come up with a way to approach it that works for both of you.
Get in touch with us so we can figure out how to best support you.