Having sex during pregnancy "is good for your body, your body image, your heart rate, your relationship," says sex educator and best-selling author Lou Paget, whose book Hot Mamas empowers mothers-to-be in the bedroom and beyond. "The benefits are the same as when you're not pregnant -- and then some."
Fears and myths can make some women hesitant to do anything that would lead to climax, but if your doctor has assured you that your pregnancy is normal -- you're not at risk for preterm labor and don't have certain other pregnancy complications -- there's no reason not to have sex during pregnancy. In fact, here are four compelling reasons to go for the O tonight.
Reason #1: Your orgasms may be supersize. "I've heard so many women say they wish they could have pregnancy orgasms again because they were off the charts," Paget says. Some women experience multiple orgasms for the first time. Even if you're still landing single O's, your sensations are likely heightened because the genital and pelvic regions are engorged with blood (and blood and oxygen power orgasms), thus intensifying all kinds of stimulation.
Reason #2: You're in the mood. A study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine reports that some 40 percent of women reported wanting more sex during pregnancy than they had before they were pregnant. Credit the heady cocktail of hormones -- progesterone and estrogen (and even testosterone, during the second trimester) -- for body changes that say yes to sex: Breasts are bigger and nipples are more sensitive, there's greater energizing blood flow to your pelvic area, and you're likely to have more natural lubrication. Your newfound curves may also make you feel sexier, and, obviously, there's no need to worry about birth control.
Reason #3: It's a stress-buster. "Orgasms deliver an adrenaline rush, which brings a nice stress release," says Ari Brown, M.D., a pediatrician and the author of Expecting 411. Studies show that sex can help lower blood pressure, making you feel calmer, and can even lower the risk of heart attack. A bigger payoff in the moment, according to Loralei Thornburg, M.D., assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a specialist in Maternal Fetal Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center: "Sex is relaxing, so it helps you get to sleep," she says.
Reason #4: It keeps your relationship alive. "From a marital standpoint, it's always good to connect with your mate in the most intimate of ways," Dr. Brown says. Not only does it restore a sense of normalcy to an otherwise tumultuous stage of your lives, but it literally, chemically, brings you closer, thanks to the release of oxytocin, the so-called bonding hormone. Studies have found that oxytocin boosts emotional attachment and makes us more sympathetic, supportive and trusting -- all building blocks of a solid relationship.
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