Saturday, December 25, 2010 by Corrinna
“Making love is a powerful connecting force with your partner. Pregnancy and the new life to come is an extension of that creative force. We need to respect the connection between procreation and sex, as the two forces are intertwined, yet distinct. We make love to share a deep, intimate way with someone we love. A new life – a child - can be a result of that union. During pregnancy, that baby is connected with the exchange of energy that occurs during lovemaking. Very possibly, the baby likes the loving energy and all the rocking and moving about.” (Singingtree 1999)
You will never find two pregnant women, their pregnancies, or their babies identical. With each individual person and pregnancy, there will always be some differences. One of the many concerns for many pregnant women is their sexuality during pregnancy, and often a concern for their companions as well. “How long can I have sex, can sex hurt the baby, will sex make me go into labor, is it suppose to hurt, is it normal to not feel like it, is it normal to want it all the time, why do I have contractions during or after sex?”
The answers to these questions are also going to be different for every individual, and every couple should feel confident when communicating their concerns to their health care provider. Listed below are just some of the possible changes in sexuality during pregnancy, which may help a couple better comprehend the normalities of sexuality and help prevent the frustration that often comes otherwise.
Why am I?
- more easily aroused – hormonal changes, a new kind of intimacy with your companion, no longer concerned about birth control, it may be easier for you to achieve orgasm while pregnant, mind of matter-if you have been told it is good for your body to prepare for birth, for some it becomes more enjoyable.
- not in the mood or uncomfortable- hormonal changes, harder to reach orgasm, babies position, overall pregnancy discomforts, fear of hurting the baby, fear of infection, fear of premature labor, “Braxton-Hicks” contractions during and/or after sex.
Clear communication is essential between couples so there are no misunderstandings or unneccessary feelings of rejection. Father’s will have a variety of different feelings throughout the pregnancy about love making which could cause problems in the relationship if not clearly communicated.
Today, unlike the past, midwives are often encouraging the parents they are working with, to make love, and lots of it! If there are no current risks, history of premature births and an intact mucous plug and membranes – not only is it safe, it may be extremely helpful. First time parents especially, love making while in the rear entry position allows for a great deal of stretching, preparing the perineum and vaginal walls for birth. This position is often more comfortable for both a mother and her baby rather than her being on her back. Continue to do your research and talk to your health care provider, because sex may not be beneficial for you depending on your personal circumstances. “My clients without sexual partners have many more vaginal lacerations than those with sexual partners.” (Singingtree 1999)
More benefits of sex during pregnancy:
- orgasm stimulates the production of oxytocin- oxytocin is a hormone-like substance with many for both mother and baby. It is known as the “love” hormone, because it is released during orgasm and nipple stimulation. It is also released during breastfeeding, and during skin-to-skin contact. Oxytocin promotes bonding of the individuals inciting its release and they desire more contact with one another. Near the end of pregnancy, the release of oxytocin can help get labor started and can also help protect the baby if a cesarean birth is necessary. After labor begins, the release of oxytocin helps ensure a final burst of antibodies for the baby through the placenta. (Palmer)
- Reducing the chances of needing to be induced- more sex may increase chances of spontaneous labor which can also help decrease the chances of surgical birth by avoiding induction. ”The women with an uncomplicated term pregnancy and intact membranes may be advised that lovemaking and breast stimulation are not contraindicated and could physiologically be associated with earlier onset of labor.” (Varney)
Peng Chiong Tan, Anggeriana Andi, Noor Azmi, M. N. Noraihan
Obstet. Gynecol., Jul 2006; 108: 134 – 140
When do I avoid sex/orgasm? – Talk to your health care provider!
Below are just some of the reasons your health care provider may advise you not to have sex:
- Bleeding- if you are experiencing spotting or bleeding
- Ruptured Membranes
- High Blood Pressure
- High Risk Pregnancy
- Placenta Previa
- Sexually Transmitted Disease- you or your partner
Frequently Asked Questions
Positions, Pleasure and Discovery
Mayo Clinic – Sex during pregnancy — If your doctor agrees, follow your sex drive where it leads.
Singingtree, Daphne. Midwifery Workbook, 3rd ed. Oregon: Eagle Tree Press, 1999.
Varney, Helen. Varney’s Midwifery, 4th ed. Ontario: Jones and Bartlett, 2004.