There are so many myths about sex during pregnancy that my partner and I decided to write an article to give you the absolute 100% truth about this tricky subject. And you know what? The amazing thing is it turned out to be quite straightforward. All those old wives tales turned out to be just that – fallacies, myths, superstitions, and simple downright lies.
So just why is there so much confusion about sex during pregnancy? I think the answer lies in the fact that Western society gets confused when it tries to deal with the idea of a woman as a mother, and the idea of a woman as a sexual being. We venerate motherhood, but there is still one heck of a double standard around the idea of a woman as a sexual being, possibly with as high a level of sexual desire and enthusiasm for sex as a man. So that’s the first thing you have to get out of your head: that sex when you’re pregnant is somehow wrong, disrespectful to the baby, or inappropriate in some other way. Here’s the reality – sex during pregnancy is a great thing for both the man, his partner, and the baby!
You might be wondering why sex at this very special time is good for the baby. There are a couple of reasons. First, sex reinforces the bonds between the mother-to-be and her partner, ensuring that their relationship is strong, healthy and intimate. This produces a good environment for the baby after he or she is born. Secondly, when a woman has an orgasm, she produces large amounts of endorphins and bliss hormones which circulate in her bloodstream and inevitably produce the same sense of relaxation and contentment for the baby as they do for the mother.
But unfortunately a lot of women seem to believe that their partner will not find them attractive as they grow larger during their pregnancy. The reality is rather different! Many men find a pregnant woman extremely sensuous and attractive, a fact which is hardly surprising when you consider that a woman is expressing the deepest level of her femininity when she’s pregnant. Not only that, but many women experience a great surge in sexual desire during their pregnancy because of the changing levels of hormones in their bloodstream – and a woman who wants sex and other high level of libido is very arousing to a man. All in all, it’s a recipe for some of the best sex that you can have.
A lot of women actually find that they experience orgasms differently when they’re pregnant: they may, for example, actually experience orgasms for the first time if they’ve previously been anorgasmic. And women who’ve always been able to enjoy orgasms may find they can reach orgasm more easily, or that they experience multiple orgasms for the first time. All of this is very exciting, and adds a whole new dimension to the sexual relationship between a man and his partner. When you consider that many women feel they’ve moved fully into their sexuality, partly because of their body growing more feminine and their breasts enlarging as they prepare to nurture their baby after it’s been born, and partly because in some deep way their function as a woman is now being fulfilled, it’s hardly surprising that the expression of sex within a relationship is good be a little bit unpredictable during pregnancy.
Another of the pernicious myths about sex during pregnancy is that it can harm the baby. This is completely untrue in the vast majority of normal pregnancies. For one thing the baby is well protected in its amniotic sac, a bag full of fluid which protects it like a shock absorber, as well as by the strong muscular walls of the womb. And since a thick mucus plug seals the cervix so that neither bacteria nor semen can enter the uterus during sexual intercourse, there is no danger from making love as the baby grows inside its mother. The only cases in which sex during pregnancy is not recommended are where there is something slightly unusual about the pregnancy: perhaps this been persistent vaginal bleeding, or the mother has high blood pressure, or the placenta is located very close to the cervix, or the woman has a history of miscarriages. Each of these cases your doctor or midwife will tell you about the dangers of sex during pregnancy. In these cases you might want to use some alternative method of relieving sexual tension such as oral pleasure, solo masturbation, or mutual masturbation.
If the majority of pregnancies proceed normally, and sex is perfectly acceptable, why would there be a myth that sex during pregnancy can harm the baby? Well, you have to use a certain amount of common sense here. Clearly, making love in the man on top position with the man lying on the woman’s abdomen is a bad idea because it can be very uncomfortable that the mother and it also does put extra weight on the baby. By the way, some experts recommend that a pregnant woman does not sleep on her back, but there’s no harm in her lying down for as long as it takes to make love. Another silly fantasy that has sprung up over the years is that sex can induce labour, either during thrusting or during orgasm. In fact, although woman will feel some small uterine contractions when she reaches orgasm, the sensations are quite different to those that she will experience when she gives birth, when the uterus is contracting during labour.
Another old wives’ tale is that if a baby is overdue, making love will induce labour because the man’s semen contains a hormone which stimulates uterine contractions. However it turns out that there’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever that semen stimulates uterine contractions and the onset of labour.
Now, so far we’ve been talking very positively, as though all couples want to make love during pregnancy, but that certainly isn’t the case. A woman may feel so unattractive that she simply doesn’t want to make love, and regrettably some men do find it impossible to make love with their pregnant partners, simply because they don’t find the idea attractive. In such cases, there are plenty of other things that can reinforce a couple’s relationship, including snuggling, kissing, cuddling, stroking, mutual massage, oral pleasure and masturbation. There’s absolutely no need whatsoever for either partner within a couple to be deprived of sexual pleasure if the other one isn’t keen on intercourse.
All in all you can have just as good a sex life during pregnancy as you did beforehand, and just as good as hopefully you will after the baby is born. The myths that have grown up around the subject need to be dispelled, not only for the sake of every pregnant couple’s happiness, but also because sex is a fundamental human need at every point in an individual’s life, and as we observed above, when a mother has an orgasm, the baby benefits from the blissful state she enjoys.
Rod Phillips and his female partner have practised as sex therapists for many years now, and have written on a wide range of relationship issues on the Internet. Their objective is always to bring simplicity and understanding to the questions that people ask most frequently about sexual issues.