There are many misconceptions about the issue of having sex when the woman is pregnant. These misconceptions are fueled by misinformation and the old wives tales that hound a woman as soon as she loses her first period.
The basic questions that women have concerning sex during pregnancy are
(i) Is it at all safe to have sex during pregnancy?
(ii) If yes, then till what week of the pregnancy will sex be safe?
(iii) Will the vaginal and seminal discharges harm the baby in any manner? Or will the penis touch the baby?
(iv) Which sexual positions must be adopted so as not to harm the uterus in any manner?
This article attempts to answer these FAQs and many other questions relating to sex during pregnancy.
What Happens in the Uterus During Pregnancy?
To get an accurate answer of the above questions, one needs to first understand the biological changes that take place in a woman when she gets pregnant. Pregnancy occurs when the male sperm unites with the female egg cell or ovum through sexual intercourse. Ova are produced by the ovaries alternately once every 28 days (this period coincides with the menstrual cycle and can vary from woman to woman). The ovum then enters the fallopian tube. It is here that the fertilization takes place with the male sperm. This fertilized egg is then implanted on the wall of the uterus. This is how pregnancy occurs.
Human pregnancy can take from 37 to 42 weeks, though there can be variations from woman to woman. As the pregnancy advances, the fertilized egg grows into the embryo and then into the fetus. The fetus is protected by a layer called as the amniotic cavity. It is this cavity that provides the nourishment to the growing baby, and also protects it from infections.
At the base of the uterus lies the cervix. During pregnancy, a thick mucus layer is produced at the cervix, sealing it. Hence, the baby is totally shut off from the outer world while it is in the mother’s uterus.
Whether Sex Can be Had During Pregnancy?
The answer to this actually lies with the woman herself. If the pregnancy is quite normal, i.e. the egg has been fertilized in the fallopian tube and then implanted into the uterus then there is no reason why sex should not be had during pregnancy. Generally penetrative sex is not advisable during first 6 weeks of pregnancy as it can lead into miscarriage.
It is quite safe to have sex during pregnancy if your doctor thinks the delivery is going to be uncomplicated. Avoid sex if you or your partner is taking medication for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) Doctors usually advise women not to have sex if there are any of the following complications:-
(i) If there is a history of premature birth in the woman, then the doctor will advise to abstain from sex during the last three months of pregnancy.
(ii) If the woman has had a miscarriage before, then the doctor will advise the woman to avoid sex in the first three months of pregnancy.
(iii) If the woman has a low placenta or a short cervix, then the doctor will advise to avoid sex during the entire period of the pregnancy.
However, nature itself has provided all protection that the fetus needs in the mother’s uterus. The fetus is protected by the amniotic cavity, and hence there is no chance of either semen or vaginal fluids to come in contact with the baby. Also the mucus covering on the cervix does not allow the penis to come in direct contact with the fetus. Hence, the fetus is provided with a good deal of natural protection within the uterus.
The Sexual Drive During Pregnancy
The sexual drive during pregnancy can both increase and decrease according to the physiology of the woman. The trend differs from one woman to another and can be found out only when the actual pregnancy occurs.
The sexual drive can increase due to the following reasons:-
- During pregnancy, there is more blood circulation in the pelvic region. This causes more sensations in that area.
- Men enjoy the changes in the woman during pregnancy. During pregnancy, the breasts and hips become fuller, which can arouse the man more. This in turn will help the woman herself to get her drive increased.
- Lovemaking during pregnancy does not have hassles like the need of contraceptives and women do not have to worry about their monthly cycle. This makes the woman freer to enjoy lovemaking.
However, a decrease in the sexual drive has also been observed in some women. This is due to the following reasons:-
- Some women find their bodies too heavy to enjoy sex.
- There is a conscious effort on the part of both – the male and the female – to avoid any exertion on the uterus or in the vagina. This might make sex too cumbersome and shallow.
- During pregnancy, most women are joyfully anticipating the birth of a new member in the household. This anticipation may be so high that the woman may no more be interested in sex.
Sexual Positions During Pregnancy
If carefully done, all sexual positions can be used during a pregnancy. There might be technical difficulties in some of the positions, like the missionary position due to exertion on the woman’s tummy, but other than that, the couples can use whichever position they prefer. (ref)
Some women use alternatives to sexual intercourse to avoid any complications. Doggy style anal sex is popular during pregnancy. The couple can also mutually masturbate to satisfy their urge. Most women enjoy giving oral pleasure to her partner by licking and sucking his penis. At the same time man can perform cunnilingus on woman. Keeping good hygiene is important in all the cases to prevent bacteria transmitting.
During pregnancy, women need to talk more than usual. This is quite normal. Most of the talks circle around the incoming member. An effective male partner could use such kinds of conversation while gently fondling the woman’s breasts and hips. Gently massaging full body also gives woman immense pleasure. Women find this kind of a verbal intercourse more fulfilling than a vaginal intercourse.