Having sex during your pregnancy: All you need to know
When you’re pregnant, you may experience a heightened interest in sex - or you might feel like you want to get your pregnancy over and done with, before starting up any activities in the bedroom again.
For those in the former category, here’s some good news: it’s perfectly fine for most folks to have sex while they’re pregnant, and you don’t need to hold back as long as your doctor hasn’t expressly told you to. In this blog post, we address some myths about sex during pregnancy, and tell you all you need to know about doing the deed.
You should abstain from sex during pregnancy if...
For most folks, sex during pregnancy isn’t an issue. That said, under certain circumstances, your doctor may ask you to avoid having sex while you’re pregnant.
Generally speaking, sex is not a good idea if:
- You’ve had heavy bleeding in your pregnancy
- You have placenta previa (ie your placenta lies over the internal opening of your cervix)
- You’re in preterm labour (ie you’re experiencing regular contractions between week 20 and week 37 of your pregnancy)
- You have abnormal vaginal discharge
If you’re not experiencing any of the above, then it’s all systems go!
Myth 1: You will squash your baby if you have sex
Many couples abstain from sex during pregnancy, thinking that having penetrative sex will result in their baby being “squashed”.
However, this is a myth - it’s impossible for your baby to be squashed, because they’re protected by a buffer of amniotic fluid and membranes. This buffer helps to cushion your baby, and absorbs most of the pressure and force during sex. And, no, your partner’s penis does not make contact with the baby during sex (penetrative or otherwise).
Myth 2: Having sex induces labour
It’s an old wives’ tale that having sex induces labour, and many studies show that vaginal sex during pregnancy has no links to an increased risk of preterm labor or premature birth.
Why do so many people believe that having sex will bring on labour? This is because semen contains hormones (known as prostaglandins) that “ripen” the cervix. However, as your doctor will tell you, unless a woman’s cervix is primed and ready to dilate, the low concentration of prostaglandins in her partner’s ejaculate will not be able to bring on labour.
The same goes for having orgasms - while a pregnant woman may experience uterine contractions when they orgasm, this will not initiate a preterm labour or delivery. The bottom line? You can safely engage in sex, without worrying that you’ll have to rush off to the hospital prematurely.
Myth 3: If you spot after sex, you’ve lost your baby
Many pregnant women experience a bit of spotting after sex - this does not mean you’ve harmed your baby in any way, or lost your baby.
When you’re pregnant, your body produces more estrogen, and this results in increased blood flow to the genitals and cervix. Bearing this in mind, you may get a bit of spotting when you engage in sex or sexual activities.