“How long is it okay to keep having sex in pregnancy?”
“My husband won’t have sex with me because he is afraid he will poke the baby.”
“I hate sex now, it’s so uncomfortable.”
“Will sex make me go into early labor?”
These are common concerns voiced at prenatal visits every day. Let’s talk about having sex… while you’re pregnant.
Pregnancy brings about numerous physical changes in a woman’s body. Some of these changes we can see, like growing breast and swollen ankles, and some we can only feel, such as emotional extremes and anxiety. This is the biggest change our bodies will ever go through and in a relatively short period of time. It is natural to be more cautious and have concerns about having sex while pregnant.
I am here to tell you that as long as you have not been put on bed rest or any type of pelvic restrictions by your doctor and sex is still comfortable and enjoyable, it is totally okay! In fact it’s normal and healthy. Let’s dispel some of these myths. My favorite is the one where the husband thinks that he will be able to feel the baby while having sex. This is false… unless your cervix is dilated and you are in labor, he can not get to the baby! It’s impossible! Your baby is tucked away safely inside your uterus, and no matter how confident your significant other may be about his “member”, he is not going to reach the baby! This featured cartoon is by one of my favorite IG pages @kosogkaos, follow her for endless pregnancy humor! https://www.instagram.com/kosogkaos/
There is also a belief that sex will make you go into labor. This one is both true and false. If you are having a normal pregnancy and are not yet full term this is not going to happen. This is a possibility for women who are full term and sex may be recommended to induce labor. Sperm contain prostaglandins which are chemicals that soften the cervix. Also sex and organisms cause a release of the hormone oxytocin which initiate contractions. But these things will only help put you on labor if it is time and you body is ready. If you are 7 months pregnant, having sex will not cause you to go into labor. This being said, if you are at risk for pre-term labor you should not have sex or orgasms.
During a normal low risk pregnancy, the biggest decider in having sex should be your comfort. Because your body is going through various changes both physical and hormonal, you may feel different about being intimate with your partner. At some times during your pregnancy your sexual desire may increase and that is totally normal, enjoy it! At other times in pregnancy your may not have a desire for sex (you’re exhausted, you are not comfortable with your new weight gain, you are nauseous etc) and in this case you should communicate this with your partner and he should be understanding. Sex may also be uncomfortable due to your changing anatomy. Trying different positions or using pillows for positioning may help with this.
If you are still unsure or uncomfortable having sex during your pregnancy talk to your OB about it at your next pre-natal visit. You may want to bring your significant other with you so that he can be a part of the conversation and learn from your OB as well.
From your friendly neighborhood nurse!