Pregnancy likely to be a great time for sex
September 9, 1999
Web posted at: 11:54 AM EDT (1554 GMT)
By Sandor Gardos, Ph.D.
|SEX AND PREGNANCY|
|Are there any conditions under which it is inadvisable to have sex?|
|Mostly you should use common sense and let your body be your guide, but also consider the following:|
| Avoid pressure on the abdomen, especially during the final months of pregnancy.|
| If you have had a prior miscarriage, you should consult with your practitioner.|
| If intercourse causes pain that is not helped by changing position, you should avoid intercourse.|
| If there is any bleeding from the vagina or your cervix has started to dilate, you should refrain from intercourse and see your physician or midwife immediately.|
| If you or your partner has a sexually transmitted infection, you should avoid intercourse, or use a condom and get treated.|
| If your practitioner advises you to "avoid sex," find out what he or she means. Does this mean no intercourse? No orgasms? No penetration?|
(WebMD) -- This is the first in a two-part series on sex during pregnancy.
The whole notion of sex during pregnancy is a taboo topic -- but it shouldn't be. Sexuality is an important aspect of any couple's relationship, and there is no reason it should have to stop when a woman becomes pregnant. In fact, pregnancy can be a great time to have sex.
Changes in a woman's body
Pregnancy and the changes in hormone levels affect a woman's sexual feelings, libido and activities. While some women have a decrease in sexual desire, these changes can also increase vaginal lubrication and genital engorgement and sensitivity. And although one often thinks of the negatives associated with pregnancy -- such as nausea, awkwardness, fatigue and tenderness -- there are actually many reasons why sex can be more enjoyable during this time.
For starters, the return to sex for the simple fun of it can be a welcome change. Lorraine, a 32-year-old mother in San Francisco, found this to be true during her recent pregnancy. "There was excitement about not having to use birth control, but mainly I felt even more sexual desire than I usually do." Lorraine also noticed that her orgasms were more frequent and more intense.
Lorraine's husband initially had some problems with the idea of having sex while Lorraine was pregnant. "For the first few months, Richard was very uncomfortable with the idea -- he was almost afraid to have sex with me, without having any specific reasons to be afraid. After we talked about it a few times and adjusted to the change in our lives, we had a lot of sex -- and it was good."
Sex during pregnancy is really all about a woman and her partner's beliefs and attitudes, as well as the emotional and physical specifics of the pregnancy. Not only can it feel as good or better than ever, sex during pregnancy can be a great way for couples to bond even more closely.
Although the belief exists that sex during pregnancy might cause an infection that could harm the baby, the reality is that the uterus is completely sealed off by a mucus plug until the time that a woman's membranes rupture (her "water breaks"). Another fear that some people have is that intercourse will somehow crush or injure the baby. This is not possible, since the fetus is suspended in the amniotic sac and surrounded by fluid that cushions it from any bumping.
Most physicians agree that given a normal, healthy pregnancy, intercourse may be continued until well into the third trimester. If there are special circumstances, such as "placenta previa" or certain types of fibroids, abstaining from intercourse (and possibly even orgasms) for various lengths of time may be advisable. If you would rather abstain from sex, use this time to share and perhaps experience entirely new ways of connecting with your partner and with yourself!
In part two, learn about other aspects of sexuality during pregnancy, as well as ways to enhance communication with your partner.
Copyright 1999 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved.
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