Sex during pregnancy: Physiological and Psychological aspects

The question whether it is ok to have sex during pregnancy has been the subject of discussions for many years. The majority of obstetrician-gynecologists agree that it all depends on individual characteristics of a woman’s body. Sex during pregnancy is permissible if there is no threatened miscarriage, no complications and difficult previous pregnancies. There is a number of reasons why  a woman should avoid sexual intercourses during pregnancy:

  • Sex during the first weeks of pregnancy. During this period, the uterus is in tone and this is a normal physiological reaction of a female body to the entering of the ovum. Until 11-12 weeks, it is necessary to exclude not only sexual intercourses but also physical activity, hot baths and saunas. After ultrasound examination and consultation with your gynecologist, the question about sex during early stages of pregnancy can be solved;
  • Threatened miscarriage (bleeding, spasms, increased uterine tone);
  • Multiple pregnancy;
  • Rupture of the membranes;
  • Cervical insufficiency – uterine pathology when the growing pressure makes the cervix open;
  • Slow leaking or trickling of the amniotic fluids;
  • Low lying placenta;
  • Infectious diseases.

Physiological aspect of sex during pregnancy and discomfort

Be aware that during pregnancy a female body undergoes serious physiological transformations and this can bring discomfort sensations. A baby presses the pelvic floor causing nagging pain. Women also have painful breasts, they are sensitive, swollen and the first milk may appear.

In the first months of pregnancy, a woman finds that her sex drive is low which is explained by a morning sickness. The ideal time for having sex is 4-7 months of pregnancy.

Hormonal ups and downs play an important role in a woman’s sex drive. A pregnant woman has an increased level of estrogen in blood and her sex drive during pregnancy can be rather high.

Psychological aspect of sex during pregnancy

Sex in pregnancy has emotional and psychological impact on both partners. Men can have a different attitude to having sex with a pregnant woman: some find body changes attractive but others are afraid to do harm to a baby and a woman.

If pregnancy is normal, sex can not do any harm to a baby: a fetus is surrounded by amniotic fluid, placenta, uterine smooth muscle and mucous plug. Besides, making love with a close person helps to balance hormones, give a psychological comfort and all this is very important for a well-being of a mother and a baby. Sex also relieves stress caused by delivery fears.

Sex in different stages of pregnancy

Many women are worried whether they can have sex during pregnancy because they are afraid of premature birth and labor. Usually, if a pregnant woman does not have any complications and threatened miscarriage, there are no contra-indications for a sexual intercourse. However, starting from a certain period a pregnant woman should be particularly careful. Sex in week 30 of pregnancy should be discussed with an obstetrician-gynecologist and it should not last more than 10 minutes. The specialists recommend avoiding sex starting from the 33 week of pregnancy as 3-4 weeks before birth, cervical canal of the uterus starts opening. Consequently, sex in week 33 of pregnancy can provoke leaking of the amniotic fluids. A sexual intercourse can also cause an increased uterine tone, labor and premature birth.

There are certain sexual positions good for sex during pregnancy which do not give any discomfort and are absolutely safe. The best positions are the following:

  1. Side-by-side facing each other or a woman is with her back to the partner;
  2. A woman is lying down at the edge of a bed and a man is kneeling in front of her.

Sexual positions during pregnancy do not imply a great physical activity of a woman. That is why, it is not recommended to use knee-elbow positions or when a woman is on top.

Avoid sexual positions during pregnancy which provide a deep penetration, it is not desirable especially during the latest stages. A position when a man is on top is also not recommended as it can lead to the pressure on the uterus.

At the latest stages of pregnancy and in case with a postterm pregnancy, have sex without a condom as the sperm contains prostaglandins which soften the neck of the uterus and provoke labor.

Anal sex during pregnancy

Anal sex during pregnancy is absolutely unacceptable. First of all, it can injure hemorrhoidal nodules, aggravate hemorrhoids and cause bleeding. These pathologies are common among pregnant women and anal sex will only exacerbate the situation.

In case with a low lying placenta, anal sex is very dangerous as it can cause placenta injuries and lead to an increased uterine tone.

The doctors give an absolute answer to the question whether pregnant women can have anal sex: anal sex is unacceptable even if there are not pathologies and pregnancy is normal.

A pregnant woman should not ignore her sexual life because sex is beneficial for the pelvic organs and muscles, it helps to feel a psychological comfort and balance hormones. This issues should be discussed with your doctor after laboratory tests and instrumental examinations. Until what stage of pregnancy a woman can have sex depends on the individual characteristics of each woman. If a woman experiences pain after sex, has copious colorless or bloody discharge, she should immediately visit a doctor.