Sex during and after pregnancy is definitely a new frontier, but it doesn't have to be alien territory! Unless a woman is experiencing certain medical problems, sexual activity is safe up until your water breaks. We've got answers to some of your most perplexing questions.
“Your baby is not neurologically capable of figuring out that you're having sex and is well-cushioned by the amniotic fluid," says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., author of A Woman's Guide to Sexual Health (Yale University Press, 2004). 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.
The old standby missionary position for intercourse might not work for you now. But there's no time like the present to try a few sex positions! Try "girl-on-top" in a seated (facing him) position. Try hands-and-knees, spooning, side lying, or any position that involves rear-entry. (And no, we're not talking about that kind of rear entry!)
Yes, for the most part, oral sex is also safe during pregnancy. However, if you receive oral sex, make sure that your partner doesn't blow air into your vagina. Since pregnant women's blood vessels are more dilated, getting an air embolism (air in the bloodstream) could be a theoretical concern.
You should avoid oral sex during pregnancy 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.
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, M.D., 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.
This is a question that a lot of pregnant ladies are afraid to ask. The answer is yes, vibrators are safe to use during a healthy, low-risk pregnancy. The vibrations will not hurt the baby! Just make sure you keep your vibrator clean (during pregnancy or not). After every use, wash the surface with warm water and a gentle soap.
We still aren't sure if intercourse triggers labor," says Sean S. Daneshmand, M.D., clinic director of maternal-fetal medicine at the San Diego Perinatal Center at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women. "We know certain aspects of sex—nipple stimulation, orgasm, male ejaculation—cause contractions," he adds. "We just don't know if those contractions are strong enough to stimulate actual labor."
Orgasms are often more intense during pregnancy because your entire genital and pelvic regions, including your uterus, are more engorged with blood, and the vaginal area becomes more sensitive. Any kind of stimulation can often be enough to push an "engorged" preggo over the edge.
Yes, wanting sex during the middle of pregnancy is totally normal! The second trimester is frequently the best one for sex. You're no longer as exhausted and queasy as you were in the first trimester and you're not as huge and uncomfortable as you will be in the third trimester.
No worries! "The rocking motions you make during lovemaking can cause the fetus to go into a sleep cycle," Dr. de la Torre says.
"It takes at least three to six months for your genitals to get back to normal," says Laura Berman, Ph.D., director of the Berman Center in Chicago and co-author of For Women Only (Henry Holt & Co.). Instead of jumping back into doing the deed, think creatively: For instance, start with oral sex, then move on to intercourse once you're comfortable. Don't rush it; things will eventually get back to normal!
As awkward as it might be, milk can spray out of your breasts when you're having sex. This is totally normal! If you are breastfeeding, you might squirt milk when you orgasm. If this makes you uncomfortable, you can leave on your nursing bra or put a towel over your chest. You can also try breastfeeding or pumping before sex, but other than that there really isn't a whole lot you can do about it.