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Health Information For Parents
If you’re pregnant or even planning a pregnancy, you’ve probably found lots of information about sex before pregnancy (that is, having sex in order to conceive) and sex after childbirth (general consensus: expect a less-active sex life when there’s a newborn in the house).
But there’s less talk about the topic of sex during pregnancy, perhaps because of cultural tendencies to not associate expectant mothers with sexuality. Like many parents-to-be, you may have questions about the safety of sex and what’s normal for most couples.
Well, what’s normal can vary widely, but you can count on the fact that there will be changes in your sex life. Open communication will be the key to a satisfying and safe sexual relationship during pregnancy.
Sex is considered safe during all stages of a normal pregnancy.
So what’s a “normal pregnancy”? It’s one that’s considered low-risk for complications such as miscarriage or pre-term labor. Talk to your doctor, nurse-midwife, or other pregnancy health care provider if you’re uncertain about whether you fall into this category.
Of course, just because sex is safe during pregnancy doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily want to have it! Many expectant mothers find that their desire for sex changes during certain stages in the pregnancy. Also, many women find that sex becomes uncomfortable as their bodies get larger.
You and your partner should keep the lines of communication open regarding your sexual relationship. Talk about other ways to satisfy your need for intimacy, such as kissing, caressing, and holding each other. You also may need to experiment with other positions for sex to find those that are the most comfortable.
Many women find that they lose their desire and motivation for sex late in the pregnancy — not only because of their size but also because they’re preoccupied with the coming delivery and the excitement of becoming a new parent.
Some sexual behaviors that aren’t safe for any pregnant woman:
If significant complications with your pregnancy are expected or found by your health care provider, he or she may advise against sexual intercourse. Talk to your health care provider if you have:
These are some of the most frequently asked questions about sex during pregnancy.
No. Your baby is fully protected by the amniotic sac (a thin-walled bag that holds the fetus and surrounding fluid) and the strong muscles of the uterus. There’s also a thick mucus plug that seals the cervix and helps guard against infection. The penis does not come into contact with the fetus during sex.
In cases of normal, low-risk pregnancies, the answer is no. The contractions that you may feel during and just after orgasm are entirely different from the contractions associated with labor. However, you should check with your health care provider to make sure that your pregnancy falls into the low-risk category.
Health care providers also recommend that all women stop having sex during the final weeks of pregnancy, just as a safety precaution, because semen contains a chemical that may actually stimulate contractions. Check with your health care provider to see what he or she thinks is best.
Actually, both of these possibilities are normal (and so is everything in between). Many pregnant women find that symptoms such as fatigue (being very tired), nausea, breast tenderness, and the increased need to pee make sex less enjoyable, especially during the first trimester. Generally, these symptoms ease up during the second trimester, and some women find that their desire for sex increases. Also, some women find that freedom from worries about birth control and a renewed closeness with their partner make sex more fulfilling. Desire generally lowers again during the third trimester as the uterus grows even larger and the reality of what’s about to happen sets in.
Your partner’s desire for sex is likely to increase or decrease as well. Some feel even closer to their pregnant partner and enjoy the changes in their bodies. Others may have decreased desire because of anxiety about the burdens of parenthood, or because of concerns about the health of both the mother and the unborn child.
Your partner may have trouble reconciling your identity as a sexual partner with your new (and increasingly visible) identity as an expectant mother. Again, remember that communication with your partner can be a great help in dealing with these issues.
Call your health care provider if you’re unsure whether sex is safe for you. Also, call if you notice any unusual symptoms after intercourse, such as pain, bleeding, or discharge, or if you experience contractions that seem to continue after sex.
Remember, “normal” is a relative term when it comes to sex during pregnancy. You and your partner need to discuss what feels right for both of you.
Advice and information for expectant and new parents.
Catching enough ZZZs during pregnancy can be difficult for many women. Here’s why – plus tips for better sleep.
Bouts of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy are considered normal. But when they’re so severe that a woman can’t keep foods down, she and her baby’s health are at risk.
Most women benefit greatly from exercising throughout their pregnancies. But during that time, you’ll need to make a few changes to your normal exercise routine.
Here are 10 common surprises that can come with pregnancy.
During your pregnancy, you’ll probably get advice from everyone. But staying healthy depends on you – read about the many ways to keep you and your baby as healthy as possible.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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