Expecting Sex When You’re Expecting Dr. Seibel separates myth from fact when it comes to having sex during a pregnancy. BY MACHELLE M. SEIBEL, MD
Don't let a little thing like pregnancy stop you from having sex.
It’s probably no secret by now. If there are no complications, you can still have sex at every stage of a pregnancy until the last few weeks and the myth of the fragile and untouchable pregnant woman is hopefully long gone. You don’t have to worry about an accidental pregnancy and the extra flowing hormones of pregnancy can result in a revitalization of passion. But there are precautions to keep in mind and rules of thumb that one must follow to stay safe.
Men are often worried about sex during pregnancy because they think they are going to hurt the baby. Don’t worry, men! The baby is protected by a thick plug of cervical mucous that guards against infection, and by the tough walls of the amniotic sac. The baby will be fine with normal intercourse (no sex toys or other objects inserted, please!). In fact, sex can actually help soothe a developing child.
But what about the mom?
If there are complications to your pregnancy, you should lay off. This means that if you are at a high risk for miscarriage, pre-term birth or bleeding, you should not rock the boat, so to speak. Additionally, if there is any lasting pain or bleeding afterwards, you should immediately call a doctor. But other than that, everything should be fine—aside from occasional tenderness, nausea and worry.
Generally, once the nausea and fatigue of the first few months are over, a woman’s sex drive will actually increase, right up until the very edge of delivery. This means:
Time to try out new positions. As the missionary position becomes increasingly difficult, it is a good time to try out new methods of entry. Many women report deep thrusts being unpleasant, and one position that seems to be universally beloved by pregnant women is side-entry. If you both lay down on your side and the man enters from behind, the objective can be achieved with the excess weight not being something anyone has to bear. It also prevents the penis from penetrating too deeply.
Stay lubricated. During pregnancy, there is an increase in blood flow to the genitals, and often, women who have a difficult time reaching orgasm find themselves on fire, so to speak. However, some women experience vaginal dryness which some might mistake as the body’s way of saying no. It definitely is not. Lubricants that are safe for expecting mothers, such as Replens Intimate Options Mousse, K-Y or Astroglide applied to the labia (don’t insert applicators) can help a couple slide into overdrive.
Keep in mind that once the baby arrives, you will probably be very, very tired and busy. How busy? Maybe even too busy for sex for a while. So sex during pregnancy might be your last chance for the crazy stuff—the "wake-up-the-neighbors" stuff—for the immediate future. Also remember that you moms might experience some feminine dryness after the baby post partum as well, especially if you are nursing. Replens Long Lasting Vaginal Moisturizer will help with that for up to three days. So enjoy your loved one, and good luck!
Dr. Machelle Seibel is a professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Massachusetts, and former Editor in Chief of Sexuality, Reproduction and Menopause, a journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.