Marriage & Family

Some answers to your questions about safe sex during pregnancy

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Being pregnant is tough.

But it’s even more challenging to keep up with the sex drive, for both you and your partner. Whether you’re a first-time dad looking for some answers to your questions on sex during pregnancy or a mum-to-be looking to spice things up while expecting, this article might help.

Here are some common questions and answers about safe sex during pregnancy.

#1: Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?
man waiting for a woman to enter the bedroom

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In short, yes. But if you’ve been advised otherwise by your doctor, heed the medical professionals’ opinions.

We’re glad to have Aleece Fosnight’s opinion on this. Fosnight is a physician assistant and sex counsellor in urology, women’s health, and sexual medicine. She shares that the uterus may shift a little during penetration, and the mum will feel it.

Now, don’t freak out. Think of the uterus as a mobile home for your little bean. “The baby is super protected and has its own filter system that’s really selective about what goes in and comes out,” Fosnight highlights.

Sex during pregnancy is safe unless the lady has incompetent cervix or placenta previa and need to let the pelvic rest. Read more about pelvic rest here.

#2: Will pregnancy sex cause miscarriage?
a pregnant woman in despair

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Many believe that having sex and orgasms might lead to early labour or cause a miscarriage. This is not true. A study done in 2011 on sex in pregnancy reveals that sex doesn’t induce premature labour in low-risk pregnancies.

According to the NHS, your partner’s penis cannot penetrate beyond your vagina. Thus, this means that the penis will not hurt the baby. However, it may lightly bump onto the baby protected behind the cervix, uterus, and amniotic fluid. But it’s no massive cause for concern.

Stephanie Buehler, an author, psychologist, and certified sex therapist adds that some couples have intercourse up until the woman goes into labour. Parties can do as they please if they are comfortable with it.

#3: Is bleeding after sex normal?
pregnancy-and-early-bleeding

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Most of the time, post-sex light spotting or bleeding shouldn’t be a concern. It could happen because of an increase in the superficial veins and capillaries in the cervix and vaginal area. These capillaries are often very delicate, and even the slightest friction can cause them to rupture during sex.

But if there’s one thing you can do, it is to journal down the blood colours – whether it is bright red, deep red, brown, or a mixture of it.

With that said, expectant mothers who are spotting blood over days or weeks after sex should consult a doctor. It could be a case of placenta previa. Mayo Clinic identifies this phenomenon as a situation where the “baby’s placenta partially or totally covers the mother’s cervix — the outlet for the uterus”.

“It’s always best to talk with one’s physician regarding any concerns,” Buehler advises.

#4: Should sex hurt during pregnancy?
an expectant couple sitting on a bench

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By right, sex should not hurt during pregnancy. “Sex should never hurt, and it’s best to talk openly,” Buehler says.

But by left, it can occur due to certain conditions. Julie Lamppa, a certified nurse-midwife at Mayo Clinic, notes that bladder infections, yeast infections, or bacterial vaginosis are some culprits leading to painful intercourse.

If it hurts too much, know that intimacy doesn’t always mean intercourse must happen.

Dennis Sugrue, PhD, past president of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, sheds light on the issue. “Stroking and caressing, and sometimes just getting naked together and sharing the way that vulnerability feels, can help keep bonds of intimacy strong between partners – even if intercourse isn’t occurring.”

#5: Is there anything sexual that’s unsafe?
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Some of you parents-to-be must be wondering about BDSM.

For folks who aren’t exactly sure what BDSM is, Cosmopolitan describes BDSM as a term used to describe these sex elements: bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism.

While light BDSM may be okay, using rope or any tight forms of constraints around the abdominal area should be avoided. 

Dr Corey Babb, an OBGYN and Professor at Oklahoma State University, tells us that some couples should avoid aggressive nipple play as nipple stimulation can cause the release of oxytocin (a contraction-causing hormone) from the brain. This is especially so for women who are between 34 to 39 weeks pregnant.

You may want to read more about BDSM during pregnancy here.

#6: What are the best sex positions to try out?
pregnancy sex positions

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Even without BDSM, intercourse can still feel wonderful if both of you engage in positions that help maintain the belly’s pressure and weight.

Here are 12 pregnancy sex positions to try as advised by medical professionals.

First Trimester
  • Scissor
  • X-Files
  • Cross Buttocks
  • Edge-of-Couch Missionary
Second Trimester
  • Doggy Style
  • LeapFrog
  • The Hot Seat
  • Cowgirl
  • Spider
Third Trimester
  • Spooning
  • Reverse Cowgirl
  • Table Top

Want a visual illustration of how to work the above moves? Click here to view the positions.

Sex drive changes during pregnancy are normal
expectant parents

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The ebbs and flows of your sex drive during pregnancy is normal. On days you might get the full steam ahead while at times you just want to lie in bed and be alone.

Yes, hormones are to be blamed in this case. For those who are engaging in more sex than ever, great for you! But expectant mothers with a lack of libido should not feel guilty at all. Have an honest conversation with your partner about it and read up on ways to keep sex alive while preggers.

This too, shall pass. Here’s wishing all expectant mothers a joyful pregnancy journey and a smooth delivery to come!

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