Let’s talk about sex. Sex is a part of most healthy, loving relationships. Depending on where you are in your pregnancy, your eyes could light up at the sound of it or it could sound like the very last thing you want to do. Read ahead to learn more about getting intimate during your three trimesters, including the benefits and what a postpartum sex-life looks like.
Is It Safe?
Long story short, sex is 100% safe to participate in — if you’re having a normal pregnancy. A normal pregnancy is one that lasts 38 to 42 weeks, no problems with the placenta, no previous miscarriages, pregnant with only one child, no incompetent cervix, of if you’ve given birth to a premature baby in the past.
Most women in their second and third trimesters participate in intercourse since the first trimester typically comes with nausea and exhaustion that temporarily reduce your libido.
The developing baby is protected by the amniotic fluid and the strong muscles of your uterus, keeping the baby safe from infection. Sexual activity won’t affect your baby, as long as you don’t have complications such as preterm labor or placenta problems.
Although the baby can’t be harmed during intercourse, it’s important to protect your little one from infections that arise from sexual intercourse.
- Protect yourself from Sexually Transmitted infections (STIs). Use a condom with new partners when participating in oral, vaginal, or anal sex.
- Don’t blow air into the vagina during oral sex. Blowing air here can cause an air embolism, or an air bubble that blocks a blood vessel, that can cause serious problems for you and your baby.
- Take precautions for anal sex. Ask your healthcare provider if it is safe. Having vaginal sex after anal sex has the potential to cause harm, since the anus is full of bacteria.
The pregnancy hormones, estrogen and progesterone roam free during the body and improve satisfaction from a woman’s orgasm. Increased estrogen levels lead to more blood flow toward the pelvic area, which ultimately arouses a woman.
Participating in intercourse releases endorphins, also known as the “feel-good” chemical. A boost of endorphins can lead to decreased stress, more happiness and increased confidence.
Sex also releases oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle” chemical. It helps you feel more connected to your person and promotes growth, trust and healing.
Can it Trigger Labor?
Sexual activity cannot be proven to induce labor before the body is ready to deliver. According to Jessica Shepard, MD, OB-GYN, and director of minimally invasive gynecology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, “there have been many studies on sex-inducing labor and most studies have not been able to find that the role of sexual intercourse can be used as a method of induction of labor.”
Your body needs time to heal. Let your body rest four to six weeks after delivery, regardless of the delivery method used before participating in sexual activity. The risk of having compilations after delivery is highest those first two weeks after delivery. It’s normal to have a low sex-drive after delivering. Vaginal dryness/tears and pain is also normal post-delivery.
Unless your healthcare provider says otherwise, sex is a healthy part of pregnancy and you and your partner should enjoy this precious time together — it won’t be just the two of you for too much longer!