This topic generally goes one of two ways while pregnant:
“WHAT THE F*$& ARE YOU THINKING?? I Do NOT want sex at all right now!”
“OH.MY.GOD. YES PLEASE. PLEASE. SEEEEEEEEEEX.”
You can also fall into both categories. Perhaps the first trimester was “hands off” and then the hormones balanced out and you were all about the horizontal mambo once you hit trimester number two. There is no right or wrong feeling, or category to be in – so don’t stress.
That being said, if you can muster up even an inkling of wanting to have sex, I highly recommend it. The more frequently you do the deed, the more your body will crave it. (However, no means no – do not let anyone talk you into something you are not comfortable doing. Not even your partner.)
It is so easy to let pregnancy be your excuse to not have sex. The body is going through so much during pregnancy. You are gaining weight, changing shape, feeling hormonal, and just different than before pregnancy. The sex drive may naturally crash, BUT I promise that sex will be different than before pregnancy – a good different.
The first thing you need to let go of is thinking that you could hurt the baby. Having sex will not hurt the baby. You can potentially cause a little bit of bleeding with deep penetration (especially in the first trimester), but it’s nothing to be scared of, no harm to the pregnancy is done at all.
Fortunately for everybody involved, except for in rare cases, sex is totally awesome for both you and your baby! Even while your sex drive will most definitely fluctuate throughout pregnancy, there will probably be some libido highs. At these points, GO FOR IT! Roll around in the sheets – swing from the chandelier! I promise your orgasm will be amazing. Something about those pregnancy hormones makes for over the top orgasms.
Sex is perfectly safe throughout the entire pregnancy, up until the water breaks. Once the water breaks, nothing should be going “in,” only a baby should be coming out! The uterus is the strongest muscle in the human body. It, along with the amniotic sac, will protect your baby. And the thick mucus plug that seals the cervix helps guard against infection. However, the semen act as a natural antibiotic to prevent infection too!
Research has even shown that sex and orgasms can calm and soothe a baby in utero.
Note: Orgasms themselves may cause mild uterine contractions (as can nipple stimulation), yet they are both temporary and harmless. You will not trigger labor unless your baby is ready to be born.
Sex Truths and Benefits While Pregnant
Orgasm: According to one study, 38 percent of women admitted to higher levels of sexual desire during pregnancy than before, and 48 percent also confessed that their sexual satisfaction levels skyrocketed, which makes sense when you think about it! "During pregnancy your hormones are raging, and increased vasocongestion is bringing more blood flow below the belt, increasing genital sensitivity," explains sexologist Yvonne Fulbright, author of The Better Sex Guide to Extraordinary Lovemaking.
Hold on to your bed sheets, it’ll be a rollercoaster of an orgasm!
Sex is exercise: Sex assists your muscles to work strongly and effectively giving your pelvic floor a first class workout. You know those kegels you should be doing? Go ahead and practice them during sex too, your partner will barely be able to utter the words “Thank You” out loud.
(A woman’s pelvic floor is like a trampoline holding all organs in your pelvis and helping with bladder control. Kegel exercises before, during and after sex strengthen the pelvic floor leading to less incontinence and possibly an easier labor. Similarly, stronger pelvic muscles ensure a faster recovery from childbirth.)
Sex Lowers Blood Pressure: Regular sex during pregnancy, particularly in the second trimester, is effective in lowering systolic blood pressure - which keeps preeclampsia away! (Preeclampsia is a serious condition of pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure, protein in the urine and swelling of the hands, feet and face.)
- Progesterone: This hormone relaxes blood vessels throughout the body, decreasing blood pressure. Guess what helps produce progesterone? Yep SEX and ORGASMS!
Did you know that first time moms are less likely to engage in sex throughout pregnancy than moms who have already experienced birth? This is important to note because first time pregnancy show a much higher risk of high blood pressure than following pregnancies:
Maintains and Strengthens the Bond with Your Partner: A study found that remained frequently sexually active throughout pregnancy saw their relationship as happier and more stable even at 3 years after giving birth than couples who didn't make every opportunity to connect physically.
Boosts immune System: Sex is known to improve the immune system. Research suggests that the more sex a person has, the less sick days they experience. This is especially true for pregnant women whose immune system is suppressed by the growing baby! Increased levels of IgA antibodies can help ward off colds and fevers.
Improves the immunological relationship between you and your baby:
- Since the fetus is a foreign body, the immune system of the pregnant mother goes on the defensive during pregnancy. This can sometimes be dangerous to both the mother and the baby, as it can create an immune system battle. Fortunately, a healthy diet, a body low in insulin, keeping blood pressure low, and lessening other inflammatory markers helps keep this immune response under control. Semen contain HLA-G modulates, which suppress a pregnant woman’s immune reactions to her “foreign fetus.” Amazing right? Almost as if our bodies were created to do this!
- o HLA-G is absorbed through the vagina after ejaculation. It is also absorbed through the stomach if you ingest it during foreplay! I am not kidding – even oral sex has benefits while pregnant!
- Progesterone keeps the uterine muscles relaxed and plays a role in the immune system helping the body tolerate the foreign fetus. Sex can help this process as orgasms produce progesterone!
- Estrogen: The “other female hormone” is also important for a healthy pregnancy, as it triggers the baby’s development. It helps stimulate hormone production in the baby’s adrenal gland, and it enhances the mother’s uterus enabling it to respond to oxytocin. Again, estrogen is released during an orgasm!
Pain Reduction: It has been found that genital stimulation increased women's pain thresholds, most likely due to the release of endorphins. Orgasms – though sex in general, really – releases high doses of oxytocin, which dramatically increase pain tolerance.
Lowers stress levels: Having sex during pregnancy releases oxytocin, a hormone which can help to not only alleviate anxiety and stress by reducing cortisol levels in the body, but it lowers blood pressure
- Prolactinis a hormone in women produced after orgasm. This hormone helps you feel relaxed and sleepy. Most pregnant women struggle with insomnia or sleep disturbances, and prolactin being released may help you get a good night’s sleep!
Sex Prepares the Cervix for Labor: Semen contains prostaglandins which help soften and dilate the cervix, speeding and easing labor. Orgasms can also give you a hefty dose of oxytocin, which is the primary hormone responsible for contractions! Remember, that you are not at risk to cause preterm labor (The opposite is actually true), but if your baby is ready to be born, then sex is a natural induction method!
Increased Postpartum Recovery Speed: Sex and orgasms increase the strength of pelvic floor muscles. Strengthened pelvic floor muscles speed up muscle healing in the days and weeks following birth. This may reduce postpartum bleeding time, and help you feel better, faster.
Sex is also excellent for supporting bladder control. Many pregnant women have experienced involuntary urination at some point or another, but kegels, sex, and stronger pelvic muscles can help you control it.
Sex decreases the chance of preterm labor: A study by the Guttmacher Institute shows that women who'd had sex during weeks 29-36 of pregnancy had a lower risk of pre-term delivery than women who'd abstained. Another study shows that frequent intercourse (more than once a week) during weeks 23-27 significantly reduced the risk of preterm labor. Seeing as how both studies show wonderful results, all the more reason to have frequent sex weeks 23 thru birth! Source
Sex Lowers the Risk of Preeclampsia - Even oral sex during pregnancy has been shown to reduce the risk of preeclampsia! Source
No Sexual Desires?
You are not alone; most women are less sexually active in pregnancy. Reports show a decrease in desire, frequency and satisfaction during the first trimester, which then decreases the wanting of sex throughout the rest of pregnancy.
But I beg you to give it a go once you are feeling the slightest inkling of interest. The benefits (and pleasures!) speak for themselves!