Sex During Pregnancy

small logo

Today, we are answering questions about sex during pregnancy emailed to us by our readers. We strongly believe that a frank and honest discussion of any medical issue, including sex, is fundamental in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and good health, physically, mentally and emotionally. A better informed and educated citizenry also makes for a healthier and happier society.

Can I have sex while I'm pregnant?

Yes, as long as you have a normal pregnancy. Medically speaking, you can keep doing it right up until your water breaks. Do check with your doctor first, though, especially if you're having any problems with your pregnancy, like a shortened or dilated cervix, leaking amniotic fluid, placenta previa, or bleeding, or if you have a history of premature labor, miscarriages, etc. These are some of situations when you should avoid having sex during pregnancy. Making love will not hurt the baby as long as the pregnancy is normal. There is a thick mucus plug that seals the cervix which guards against infection, and the amniotic sac and the strong muscles of the uterus protect the baby. The baby may move around a bit more than usual fetus after your orgasm because of your faster heart rate and not because it knows what's happening or feels pain. Make sure proper hygiene is exercised before and after sex, and that the act is a tender (not a violent) one. The best is to discuss the matter and its details with your obstetrician.

Will lovemaking be as enjoyable?

Many women enjoy sex better when pregnant, while others don't feel as good. The natural engorgement of the genitals with increased blood flow during sex heightens the sensation and ecstasy. However, the same engorgement makes other women feel uncomfortable and have a sense of fullness after the act, or even abdominal cramps. The breast can become more enlarged and more tender, causing discomfort when fondled. It is best for the wife to be candid with her husband from the very start, and the husband, loving, understanding and thoughtful.

Is it normal to have less libido when pregnant?

Yes, it is normal for the changes during pregnancy to lessen some women's desire for sex. But a lot of women, finally free from worries about conception and contraception, may have increased libido. Many pregnant women feel sexier than ever, and others simply feel too sick to make love, especially in the first trimester. Libido resurges during the second trimester, and wane in the third trimester as labor, delivery, etc. get closer. The husband must be sensitive and understanding of his wife's feelings, especially during her pregnancy, which in itself is a taxing situation for the woman to begin with. The husband can play a vital role here to make the pregnancy a sacred and happy event in their life as a couple.

Will my husband's sex drive diminish?

The attitude of the husband about sex when his wife is pregnant depends on so many factors, which include, upbringing, education, culture and beliefs, and current personal and/or socio-economic pressures. Many men find their pregnant partner to be as attractive and sexy as ever, if not more. Some are misinformed or not properly informed, and become self-conscious about making love to their pregnant wife for fear of hurting the baby. The wife should understand that if her husband appears not to be "interested" in sex when she is pregnant, it does not mean he does not love her anymore, or that she is no longer attractive to him, or that he has another woman. The husband, on the other hand, should exert his best to make his pregnant wife feel that he is very much in love with her and that he still finds her attractive, pregnancy and all. Making love to a woman is not only through sexual intercourse anyway. Using the largest sex organ in the body, the brain, with love and tenderness, could be more satisfying that the physical act itself. This is especially true for the woman.

Which positions are recommended?

Various obstetricians and sex therapists have suggested the following time-tested positions and tips for making love for women who are pregnant:

  1. Do it sideways (face to face) to allow your partner to keep most of his weight off your uterus. The proper body and leg positioning must be maximized to provide a comfortable situation for both partners, especially for the pregnant wife.
  2. Doing it side-by-side (husband behind the wife) in the "spoon position," will allow for only shallow penetration. Deep thrusts can become uncomfortable to the pregnant wife as the months pass.
  3. The woman on top puts no weight on the pregnant abdomen and allows the wife to control the depth of penetration.
  4. Sitting on the man's lap as he sits on a sturdy chair or couch is another technique.
  5. The woman can lie on her side, and the husband against her at a sitting (perpendicular) position, like two open scissors hugging each other.
  6. The pregnant uterus will not be in the way if the woman lies on her back at the side or foot of the bed with knees bent, then bottom and feet perched at the edge of the mattress (like lying on an obstetrician's examining table). The husband can either kneel or stand in front of the pregnant wife.

There are other positions that will be comfortable and safe for the mother and the baby. Gymnastic, acrobatic or violent techniques (even if practised by the couple before pregnancy, are deemed unsafe and, therefore, discouraged). It will take some imagination, loving cooperation and experimentation to find the safest, most comfortable, and most satisfying position for both the husband and his pregnant wife.

Is oral sex safe?

In general, sexologists feel that oral sex is normal, permissible and healthy, whether the woman is pregnant or not. The only proviso is that the relationship is monogamous and that both partners are HIV negative and have no other STD (sex-transmitted diseases). Also, it is a must that proper pre- and post-oral coital hygiene be practiced to prevent infection. Oral sex is one of the technique prescribed by sex therapist as a safe alternative if intercourse is deemed unsafe. But everything boils down to the personal preferences and beliefs of the partners. To be mutually enjoyable and positive for mental health, the choice, whatever it is, must be made by both partners, unanimously, with love and understanding for each other.

How about finger-sex?

Using the finger is acceptable, provided proper hand washing with soap and water is done. Using alcohol or other disinfectant is discouraged to prevent chemical irritation on the female. The use of any foreign objects as sex aids is likewise not recommended as instrumentation will cause trauma and infection to the woman. As always, gentle tenderness is the key.

Will viagra hurt the baby?

Information from the manufacturer stated that Viagra taken by the husband who made love to his pregnant wife (or Viagra taken for the copulation that led to the pregnancy) will not harm the unborn.

How often can a pregnant woman have sex?

There is no set number of times a day or a week for this. As long as the woman has normal pregnancy, and regularly checked by her obstetrician, she can have sex as many times as she and her husband desire, unless advised otherwise.

©2003Raoul R. Diez, M.A.O.D.