By Tara Blair Ball
While there are some medical reasons why someone could not have sex during pregnancy, the majority of people can have sex throughout their pregnancy that is safe, satisfying, and doctor-approved.
I gained eighty pounds when I was pregnant with my twins. At 5’3 and petite, my babies had nowhere to go but out, so I carried around a great whale of a stomach for five months. At four months pregnant, I looked seven or eight months pregnant, and it just got bigger from there.
I had a lot of misconceptions about the pregnant body before I got pregnant, so I was completely unprepared for how pregnancy turned me carnal. After the first trimester passed and I was no longer vomiting morning, noon, and night, I found that pregnancy had upped and amped my senses. I loved the feel of silk sliding across my bare skin, or the smell of eucalyptus candles. I loved the taste of warm basmati rice and couldn’t get enough of take-out Indian food.
My sex drive also went into over drive. Sensual touch lit up all of the nerve endings along my skin like my body was a great pool of water.
A common myth is that libidos drop when you get pregnant. That might be true in the first trimester if you is nauseous and fatigued, and again near the end of the pregnancy if you're too physically uncomfortable or isn’t feeling too sexy, but some women, like myself, experience the exact opposite.
If you’re hesitant about getting in the sheets with your partner, you should know that sex during pregnancy can utterly rock your world. Women gain about three pounds of blood during pregnancy, and most of that is below the waist. That extra blood can help you orgasm more powerfully or more easily.
If your doctor hasn’t advised against you having sex, it can be perfectly safe, but you and your partner just may need to adjust as your pregnancy progresses. You may also need to communicate more frequently with your partner and be open to trying new things.
Here are some myths around sex you can throw out the window:
Sex can harm the baby
Unless you have a real medical reason, sex cannot harm the baby. I had placenta previa, which meant that the placenta of one of my twins covered my cervix and preterm labor could mean that the placenta would come away from the uterine wall, putting my baby at great risk. Because of this, until the placenta previa corrected itself, I was put on “pelvic” (nothing could enter my vagina) and bed rest. It was clearly communicated to me that I could not have sex. If you are at risk of preterm labor, your doctor will likely put you on both pelvic and bed rest and will communicate with you what that will need to look like.
If you’re concerned about having sex, just ask your doctor! In uncomplicated pregnancies, your baby is well-protected within its amniotic sac, and your partner’s penis, fingers, or a dildo won’t be able to hurt it.
Sex is too difficult
Yes, when you’re navigating a great cumbrous stomach, it might feel difficult, but there are actually many positions which can ease that difficulty and would be comfortable for both you and your partner.
Positions that work before pregnancy and early in pregnancy may be uncomfortable or even unsafe during later stages of pregnancy. For example, any sexual position where you are lying flat on your back after the fourth month of pregnancy puts pressure on major blood vessels because of the weight of your growing baby. Try these positions instead:
Woman on top
This an ideal position throughout most of your pregnancy. It puts you in control of how fast, slow and comfortable you are. It also allows for other types of stimulation (breast or clitoral) that can heighten the experience.
This is another good position for the entire time you are pregnant. Lay sideways with your partner lying behind you. Having sex in this position helps lower the amount of pressure placed on your stomach, and you can add pillows underneath your stomach to help support it as your belly grows. This position, if you’re physically able, also makes it easy for you or your partner to reach around and stimulate you further.
This position works best during the first and second trimester because it lowers the pressure placed on your belly. As your belly gets bigger, this position may become uncomfortable as it strains your back. You can try placing pillows under your stomach to help with this.
Oral sex during pregnancy is harmful
Blowing air directly in the vagina can cause complications but otherwise, oral sex is perfectly safe. It can also be a good option if sex becomes uncomfortable or if you have been clearly told by your doctor that you can’t have penetrative sex.
Contractions from an orgasm can cause a miscarriage
There is a hormone in semen that can cause contractions, but they are not enough to induce labor. If you experience painful cramps, heavy bleeding, or leaking of amniotic fluid after sex, you should call your provider and/or go to the emergency room. It is normal to have some cramps or very light spotting following sex, but if it’s intense, you need to call or be seen.
Common sense and following the directive of medical professionals are what’s best. If something hurts or doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If you are concerned at all, ask your healthcare professional. Also, practice safe sex practices if you and your partner are not mutually monogamous. You don’t want to deal with contracting an STD or having an infection.
Being pregnant and having sex may seem daunting. You’re carrying life and it can be difficult and frightening to navigate this new animal self of yours, but if your doctor okays it and you are willing to be safe, you can still have some fun lovey time with your partner.
Curious to explore your pleasure even further during pregnancy? Try adding the Lioness Vibrator!
Lioness allows you to see your arousal and orgasm so you can learn what works best for you—and then show your partner.