There is no way around it, bringing in a new baby will change the dynamic of your relationship with your partner from the moment that pregnancy test turns positive. Crazy hormones, breast tenderness, fatigue, nausea, a changing body, new fears and anxieties will affect every aspect of your relationship, and can especially change things up in the bedroom.
So, how can you keep a healthy sexual relationship during pregnancy? Well, one of the biggest things that can kill your libido is fear. So, let’s discuss some common misconceptions that might help put your mind at ease.
A few commonly asked questions about sex during pregnancy:
1. Is it going to hurt the baby?
The short answer to this question is, NO. No matter how, ahem…endowed your partner is, the cervix separates the uterus from the vagina so the baby is safely tucked away from all the action. While some positions may be uncomfortable for the mom, you can be assured that the baby is well protected snug within the strong walls of the uterus and floating in amniotic fluid that cushions any jostling.
2. Is it safe?
For most routine pregnancies, sex is perfectly safe at any stage. There are a few conditions where sex would be contraindicated, so be sure to ask your doctor if you have any signs of preterm labor, vaginal bleeding, placenta previa, cervical incompetence, or you are carrying multiples. Additionally, exposure to sexually transmitted diseases or other infections can affect the health of your baby. So be sure to practice safe sex if you are not in a monogamous relationship.
3. Will having sex put me into labor?
Orgasm as well as prostaglandins in semen can stimulate mild uterine contractions. However, there is a difference between contractions and labor (where the cervix begins to dilate). Studies have shown that sex during pregnancy does NOT normally put a woman at risk for preterm labor. Additionally, it is not likely to trigger labor even close to the due date. However, if you are experiencing preterm labor, sex may be contraindicated, so talk with your doctor.
4. Can sex cause a miscarriage?
Most miscarriages are caused by a fetus that is not developing correctly. Sex does not affect the developing fetus nor increase risk of miscarriage. However, sex should be avoided if your partner has an active sexually transmitted infection as an infection could potentially harm your developing baby.
5. What are the best sexual positions during pregnancy?
As your pregnancy progresses and your belly becomes an obstacle, you may have to be creative with sexual positions. Additionally, increased blood flow to the breasts and genitals may make some areas more sensitive.
But, as long as you are comfortable, most positions are safe. As the baby grows, you may try lying on your side next to your partner or on top or in front of your partner rather than on your back. Experiment with what is most comfortable, and be sure to make it fun and mutually enjoyable.
6. What is going on down there?
There are going to be a few changes down under. First of all, hormones during pregnancy may affect vaginal lubrication. Most commercial lubricants are perfectly safe, so feel free to use them if they make it more comfortable for you. Avoid vigorous sex that causes pain as you don’t want to damage your cervix or vagina during pregnancy. Also, the hormonal changes of pregnancy increases blood flow to your cervix. Therefore, it is normal to have some light spotting and even some mild cramping after intercourse if your partner’s penis has rubbed the cervix. Relax and drink some water and it should resolve quickly. If contractions are worsening or if the bleeding is dark red, like a period, then call your doctor.
7. What if I don’t want to have sex?
With all the changing hormones, your sex drive will definitely fluctuate. During my pregnancy, I experienced three different phases. The first trimester was the, “don’t kiss me or touch me or I will throw up.” phase. Yeah, that one was rough. Then I graduated into the second trimester of “I’m feeling pretty good, my body feels cute, these boobs are awesome, let’s have some fun!” phase. That one was a good one and almost made up for the hurt feelings he experienced in the first trimester. But, then came the third trimester of, “I’m too big, too tired, too uncomfortable, too stressed, so don’t even think about it.” phase. The struggle is real!! If you’re just not feeling it, don’t be afraid to try other ways of connecting with your partner. Remember that Dads are scared too. Whether it’s the first baby or the fifth, seeing their partner bring new life into the world can bring up some level of insecurity. Men often feel ignored because you are so focused on the baby. They are afraid of how the relationship is going to change, and if you’re going to have any love left for them. It’s important to reassure each other that you are still in love and attracted to each other. But, there is more to a relationship than sexual intercourse. Try other ways to connect with your partner, including massage, cuddling, kissing, or a romantic night out. Small acts of love can help you feel bonded during this crazy time.