Updated: Aug 10, 2022
Pregnancy sex involves a lot of myths around it, sometimes it is difficult to look beyond the myths, so we have busted some myths for you around pregnancy sex. Read on and find out!
It really, actually depends on the woman whether she wants to be intimate physically with her partner or not. Some women might be going through so much that they do not want to get involved physically, some women may have a high libido, and some women may just not feel like having sex. All of these feelings are completely normal.
We have curated the most common questions and got answers from the expert to guide you through your pregnancy. Let’s get started!
Let’s first look at the reproductive health of women. It is very important for a woman to care for her reproductive health, not just during pregnancy or when you want to conceive. The first time you want to see a gynaec, should not be only during pregnancy but even before that, you can get your HPV vaccine, which is between 9 to 15 years. Only 2 doses are required if you get the HPV vaccine between the ages of 9 to 15 years and it is more effective before sexual activities begin.
If you have missed at this age, you can get the vaccine up to 45 years of age. So, even if you are not pregnant, you should visit your gynecologist for the HPV vaccine, and the PAP SMEAR test which is done at the mouth of the uterus(the cervix) that helps you screen for cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women, if detected early, it is completely curable. So, an annual visit to a gynecologist is a good routine to follow.
Regarding the reproductive cycle, fortunately, or unfortunately women are born with a fixed number of eggs, the women’s reproductive cycle is decided in the womb(when she is in her mother’s womb). There is an expiry date for the reproductive cycle in women. Women’s ovaries do have an expiry date that can be considered both an advantage and a disadvantage.
Things have changed a lot from earlier days when a man and a woman got married and birthed a child within a year, It is not the same now where the cost of living has increased, career options, and career growth is not the same as before, couples are making more conscious decisions regarding childbirth, and some amount of planning is required because priorities change once the child arrives. Also, society is still not that inclusive of a baby to accommodate flexibility for new parents.
Expert Dr.Tanushree recommends you get an AMH test done, and a follicular study done so that you know that you have a good reserve of eggs. your doctor will help you with that, you will know whether you can wait for a couple of years to conceive. If there is a problem, then the doctor can intervene then and there.
There are varied options from medicines to freezing their eggs if the couples don’t want to have children for a certain amount of time. So, these are things you can do when you are not pregnant, go to your doctor for regular checkups, do not ignore intermenstrual bleeding, any infections, or discharge, all these things may be small things but do not take them lightly, they can lead to two major complications!
Assuming that now we now know whether pregnant or not, anyone with a uterus should plan for an annual visit to a gynecologist.
Moving on to questions on sex during pregnancy. Is sex during pregnancy safe?
All pregnancies have some kind of risks. There is no no-risk pregnancy. It is either a low, moderate, or high-risk pregnancy. Pregnancy is a hyper-dynamic state, it's a minimum of two lives involved, so, it is definitely not always low risk.
When pregnancy is a low risk like the placenta is not low lying, there are no signs of preterm labor, there is no infection, there is no pain, there is no bleeding, and sex during pregnancy at any time during this pregnancy is safe.
But having said that, if any of these things are there, then you have to consult your gynecologist. So, every pregnancy differs, and just like that, is it safe to have sex during that pregnancy also differs, but if you talk about low-risk pregnancy, it is safe.
This is applicable for penetrative sex, oral sex is considered safe during pregnancy with the protection of course! As far as foreplay is concerned, as far as arousal is concerned, as far as stimulation is concerned, as long as it is no penetration, it can totally be done at any month and at any kind of pregnancy. There is no problem with that.
What happens during pregnancy is that all hormones are on a rise, estrogen as well as progesterone, now estrogen is the hormone which makes a woman feel like having sex, it is the hormone which increases the libido in a woman, so in certain pregnancies estrogen dominates, and in those women, they have an increased libido. Now it may not be the same all nine months, initial three months because she faces a lot of nausea, she is getting used to the pregnancy, and she may not feel like having sex.
Or may not even feel like being aroused. But the second trimester when she is gotten comfortable with pregnancy when her hormones have risen enough, she is getting all kinds of feelings, she does not have the stress of getting pregnant, she is already pregnant, you know that stress and inhibition are gone, and the tummy is also not that big, no matter how aroused you are your hormones are not going to affect the baby.
Now in other women, where progesterone takes the lead, libido might completely die. All nine months a woman may just not feel like having sex and that is also normal.
Whether you have an increased libido or a decreased one it's not going to affect your baby at all. It is just going to make your pregnancy more pleasurable. That’s it.
Is there a chance of preterm labor because of sex during pregnancy?
Oral sex is safe in all low, medium, and high-risk pregnancies. Now, when it comes to penetrative sex, two things have to be ruled out. One is that your placenta is not low lying, because, in that particular condition, the doctor also does not do a vaginal examination.
Even for the examination part, doctors do not put their fingers if the placenta is low lying. Secondly, if you are susceptible to preterm labor meaning if your cervix cervical length is small, there are some women who have to get a cervical stitch put in a twin pregnancy, or when you have a certain ongoing infection where the doctors told you that you need certain medicines for the infection or whatever.
In those cases, you have to avoid sex till the time your doctor doesn't say that it's safe. Otherwise, in a normal low-risk pregnancy, penetrative sex will not be the cause of the preterm labor.
If there is an underlying cause of preterm labor, it may get aggravated. That's the reason that if there is a sort of pre-decided cause, and the doctors told you to avoid it, then you have to avoid penetrative sex. Otherwise, penetrative sex will not lead to preterm labor.
Key points to remember -
Unlike some mammals, a woman cannot get pregnant while she is already pregnant.
Always, always use a condom during sexual intercourse irrespective of whether you are pregnant or not. You cannot risk having infections during pregnancy or for that matter any other time as well. Infections can lead to complications in pregnancy.
Sex is not the reason for preterm labor. If there is an underlying condition, sexual intercourse during pregnancy can aggravate it.
Sex can induce labor is a myth. Sex alone cannot cause an increase in hormones needed for labor.
Sex does not affect the baby. There will not be any moral issues because of sex during pregnancy. The baby has its own beautiful brain and you will get a lovely baby and your baby will not be affected by sex. The only thing that can affect the baby is your health, physical & emotional health, the nutrition quotient, and nothing else can affect the baby!
It is recommended not to have penetrative sex during the first trimester or till the first scan is done and everything looks good, and your doctor has given a go-ahead.
After you have had sex, if there is bleeding, you have to immediately visit your doctor.
What are the benefits of sex during pregnancy?
Women are going through a lot during pregnancy, it is not always a happy phase. Some women do feel low and feel good if they are hugged, and cuddled, a little bit of foreplay is good for the woman so that she feels positive.
Not all women are having libido, in such cases, slight foreplay, holding hands, hugging, and cuddling can help a lot! Along with the baby, everything in her is changing, every part of her body is changing to accommodate the growing baby inside, she may or may not feel good about herself.
During this time, if the partner comforts her in a way that she is comfortable with, it can bring positive emotions and positivity around!
It can be beneficial for both the partners in the relationship, to strengthen their emotions. Again, penetrative sex has to be approved by your doctor, but foreplay, oral sex, cuddling, hugging, you need not worry at all! Just go ahead and show your emotions, and let each other know how much they mean to you.
You can check the complete conversation with Dr.Tanushree here
Also, another lovely read on Pregnancy Sex.