You, him, and the foetus: Myths and facts about pregnancy sex
Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy? Is it going to cause premature labour? A dad-to-be asks us questions about sex during pregnancy
After about 2 years of trying, Angela was finally pregnant. Michael was relieved too as it was getting too clinical. And each negative pregnancy test was affecting Angela incrementally. There was always an option of adopting, but they wanted to try this out first. And finally, they were where they wanted to be. However, in a few weeks in pregnancy, Angela felt urges to have sex, and that scared Michael. How safe was it to have sex during pregnancy? And exactly when to stop sex during pregnancy?
Michael had many questions on his mind. He had heard a lot of conflicting opinions. It was not that he did not want to have sex. Angela had started to look radiant. But now, there was another person in the room, so to say. And, most importantly, he did not want to affect the pregnancy in any way. So here are the 8 questions he asked me about sex during pregnancy – and when to stop sex during pregnancy.
1# Is my penis going to hurt the baby?
Answer: No. It is not going anywhere near the baby. There are many layers between you and the growing foetus, so don’t worry about it. The baby is safe inside an amniotic sac, swimming in her own personal pool of amniotic fluid. This sac is safe inside the uterus that is strong enough to protect the baby. And then, the cervix of the uterus separates you and the baby.
However, it may cause some discomfort for your partner. In that case, just change the position and try it out.
2# How should I know when to stop sex during pregnancy, or avoid it altogether?
Answer: If there is heavy bleeding during the pregnancy, avoid sex. If the placenta is low-lying, it may cause bleeding, so avoid having sex during pregnancy. If your partner has undergone a procedure to hold the baby in, something called a cervical cerclage, you might want to hold your horses.
And, it is not really safe to have sex when her waters break as it can heighten risks of infection (consult a midwife or doctor if you aren’t certain whether the water bad has been broken or not). The other important part to remember is to avoid sex when she is actively into labour. I know it sounds bizarre, but when it comes to sex, some people need to be told when and when not to…
Here are also some additional reasons to avoid sexual intercourse while pregnant, mums:
- when you have a condition or issues with your womb’s entrance, or the cervix. Having sex could risk the mum-to-be to enter early labour, or even experience a miscarriage
- when you’re giving birth to twins
- if you have a history of entering labour early
- your are well into the later phases of pregnancy
- if you have placenta previa. This condition arises when the placenta covers the cervix. Having sex during pregnancy could risk additional hemorrhaging and bleeding.
- Premature rupture of membranes (PROM). This happens when the ball of fluid encasing your baby and the amniotic fluid pops or has a hole prior to labour. Women with this condition should abstain from sex during pregnancy.
- Having heavy bleeding or a smelly discharge after sex during pregnancy. The odorous discharge could signal an infection has gone up into the uterus, whereas bleeding is generally a red flag for all sorts of problems. Inform your doctor right away if these happen.
3# Can I still have sex with my wife if I have an STD?
Thankfully, yes. But don’t skip out on barrier contraception like condoms. That way, you can shield both your partner and your baby from diseases that can be sexually transmitted. But if you’re worried, it would be better to consult a doctor or call off sex entirely.
4# Can sex cause premature labour? If so, when to stop sex during pregnancy?
Answer: Sex does not cause premature labour. It can set a rhythm and the baby ends up liking the gentle rocking. For the baby, it feels as if the mum is going for a walk up a hill. Sure, it may cause contractions in the uterus, but they are just Braxton Hicks – contractions that aren’t severe, and are normal. There’s no need to panic because you won’t be going into labour. All you are doing is priming the uterus for the ultimate act.
There’s not much you can do when Braxton Hicks, or when the muscles in your womb harden. Just try to breathe and relax – they’ll eventually go on their own.
Although genital and nipple stimulation may theoretically trigger labour, scientific studies haven’t shown that sex during pregnancy can cause pregnancy. So remember, your partner is going to go into labour only when it is time. That being said, don’t have sex when the water has broken, or she is already into labour.
5# Are her orgasms are going to cause damage to the baby?
Answer: Not at all. Just like the previous question, they may end up inducing Braxton Hicks, but that is about it. So have sex without anxiety.
6# We saw some blood on the sheets after sex. What to do?
Answer: Spotting is normal during the early few weeks of pregnancy. The cervix has an enriched blood supply so it may bleed. There may be some occult blood that is expelled from the uterus. That said, there are conditions when this is not safe.
If she is having a low-lying placenta, you should abstain from having sex during pregnancy. If you are concerned about the spotting, and you should be, just bring it up during the next doctors visit. And till then, refrain from having sex during pregnancy
7# Is it safe to have sex in the third trimester?
Answer: If both of you are in a mood for sex, then go ahead. During the late pregnancy, it will be difficult to have sex in a conventional manner. So, find the most suitable position to do it. And this is also the time when you can experiment other ways of loving each other if you are in the mood but it is physically difficult to engage in the act.
That said, keep it safe.
8# The baby responds to my voice normally. Is he going to remember this?
Answer: Luckily, no. There is no evidence that babies can recollect what they heard while still inside the uterus. They might react favourably to some music they heard or some foods that their mum ate, but again, the research does not suggest that they will remember you having sex!
To recapitulate, just watch this video:
Mums and dads, feel free to enjoy sex as long as it is enjoyable.