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Pregnancy Sex: Question and Answer Guide

Pregnancy Sex Questions and Answers
Young Pregnant Couple

Sex during pregnancy is full of challenges. What are the best pregnancy sex positions? Is your pregnancy sex drive normal? And what pregnant sex safety concerns should you have? We've got answers to some of your most perplexing questions.

Q. So many women say they feel sexier pregnant, but I just feel fat and tired. I'm only two months along, and sex is the last thing on my mind.

A. It's not just you -- this is totally common! During the first trimester, your body is hard at work, which means you may feel exhausted, nauseous, and overwhelmed -- no wonder you're not in the mood. "Once you hit your second trimester, the nausea lifts and estrogen kicks in, which jump-starts your sex drive," says Lou Paget, author of Hot Mamas: The Ultimate Guide to Staying Sexy Throughout Your Pregnancy and the Months Beyond. She advises that even if you're not up for intercourse, you can easily stay connected with your spouse by cuddling and kissing.

 
Pregnancy Sex Tips: Can His Penis Hurt the Baby?
Pregnancy Sex Tips: Can His Penis Hurt the Baby?

Q. Could my husband's penis do any harm to the baby?

A. A lot of men worry about this, but the answer is no. His penis won't traumatize the baby or cause your water to break. If you notice any bleeding after sex, talk to your physician -- increased blood supply in your cervix and amped-up circulation to the vaginal area during pregnancy can sometimes cause spotting. Call your doctor to rule out more serious causes of bleeding, such as placenta previa, placental abruption, or premature labor.

Q. Are there any times when I should avoid sex?

A. If you're having a low-risk pregnancy with no complications, you can have sex up until the day you deliver, says Sarah de la Torre, MD, an ob-gyn in Seattle. But there may be circumstances when you have to avoid intercourse. For instance, if you have placenta previa or a risk of preterm labor, you'll most likely be put on pelvic rest, which means no intercourse, orgasms, heavy exercise, or lifting. Even if you're having a normal pregnancy, you may just not be in the mood. If the extra weight on your belly is making intercourse uncomfortable, experiment with new positions or try other forms of stimulation instead. If you still don't feel like having sex, tell your husband you're just not up for it -- he should understand.

Q. Is it okay for my husband to perform oral sex on me?

Pregnancy Sex Tips: Oral Sex With Baby On Board
Pregnancy Sex Tips: Oral Sex With Baby On Board

A. It's fine if you're having a low-risk pregnancy. In fact, many women find that oral stimulation is a pleasurable alternative if intercourse seems clumsy and uncomfortable. However, you should avoid it if your husband has an open cold sore. That could be a sign that he has a type of herpes virus that could potentially be transmitted to you -- and could cause birth defects in your unborn baby. This risk is low, but to be on the safe side, talk to your doctor if you're concerned.

Q. I've heard that sex during the last weeks of pregnancy can speed up labor. True?

A. Yes and no. If you're a few weeks away from your due date, sex won't do much to induce labor. On the other hand, having intercourse when you're overdue can speed things along because prostaglandins, hormone-like substances in semen, help soften and ripen your cervix to get it ready for delivery.

Q. I'm seven and a half months along, and my tummy is huge. What's the best sex position while pregnant?

A. The hottest position for the third trimester is on top of your partner. That way, you can control the depth of penetration. Or, if you want to really spice things up, try reversing this position by facing away from him while he's sitting up and supporting your tummy. "That feels fantastic too," Paget says.

A. The hottest position for the third trimester is on top of your partner. That way, you can control the depth of penetration. Or, if you want to really spice things up, try reversing this position by facing away from him while he's sitting up and supporting your tummy. "That feels fantastic too," Paget says.

Q. After we finish having sex, my baby seems to get quiet. What's going on?

A. No worries! "The rocking motions you make during lovemaking can cause the fetus to go into a sleep cycle," Dr. de la Torre says.

 
Three Things to Know About Postpartum Sex
Better Sex After Baby
Better Sex After Baby

Abstain from Intercourse Until After Your Six-Week Checkup

This will reduce the risk of infection and ensure that your body has properly healed. In the case of a vaginal delivery, it will allow bleeding to stop, swelling to go down, and any tears or episiotomies to heal. If you had a c-section, your abdominal muscles will need this time to recover.

Expect Some Changes in Your Life

Once those six weeks of healing have passed, you enter "the fourth trimester," a period that can be very challenging. "You're both going to be super-tired, so you won't always be in the mood," warns Paget. It's important to schedule and plan for these passion pitfalls.

Designate a Love Zone

It's perfectly fine for parents to have sex while the baby's in the bassinet next to their bed, but many people find this inhibiting. Paget believes in carving out one place where you and your partner can reconnect with your bodies' desires. When your baby's snoozing, steam up the shower together.

Copyright 2006. Reprinted with permission from the May 2006 issue of Parents magazine.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.