This article was posted on femalenetwork.com in May 2010 on SAS
FN clears up the whats, whens, and hows of having sex while you’re pregnant in this Q & A. By Ana Santos
Many joke that the best part about having sex during pregnancy is that you’re perfectly safe—that is to say, you’re not likely to get pregnant again. Still, others are concerned about the repercussions of sex during pregnancy and may be too embarrassed to ask their doctors about it. That’s a perfectly natural reaction; whether it’s about the misconceptions, your fears or insecurities about your pregnancy, or other things fueled by raging hormones, you’re sure to have a lot of questions about sex during pregnancy.
Female Network sat down with Dr. Margarita dela Rosa, an OB-GYN at Medical Plaza Makati, and got the real score on the most common questions she gets from her patients when it comes to sex and pregnancy.
Q: Is it really okay to have sex all throughout my pregnancy?
A: “That’s really the number one question I’m asked,” says Dr. dela Rosa. “The short answer to that is under normal circumstances, it is permissible to have sex during pregnancy.” Dela Rosa stressed the importance of normal circumstances. “As long as you do not have any complications like in the first trimester like bleeding or spotting or any indications of placenta previa [a condition where the placenta lies low on the uterus or covers the cervix, which may cause bleeding], it’s perfectly OK.”
Other conditions where sex during pregnancy may not allowed is if there is a history of miscarriage, threatened abortion, a multiple pregnancy or any other health problems.
Q: Can the baby see what we’re doing?
A: “That’s more an old wives’ tale,” says dela Rosa. She says that there is no truth at all to the idea that the baby can see its parents having sex from inside the uterus.
“First of all, the baby is inside the uterus and the cervix is closed. Since the baby is inside, swimming in amniotic fluid of the mother, we can assume that it’s dark,” explains dela Rosa, giving the scientific explanation as to why the baby is protected by two things: amniotic fluid and your cervical plug.
And yes, in case you’re wondering, even if you’re blessed with a partner who is mightily endowed, his penis still won’t reach all the way past your cervix to “meet” the baby.
Q: Will the motions hurt my baby?
A: No. Unless you’re going to really rough it up, the motions of a usual romp won’t hurt your baby. It just may seem awkward as your tummy gets bigger and you may have to prioritize a position that is more comfortable than adventurous.
Dela Rosa recommends doing it side-to-side or in any position where the mom is most comfortable. Sexual positions of any kind are safe throughout most of the pregnancy; there is one caution about having sex flat on your back in the later trimester, as this position can decrease blood flow to the mother and cause light-headedness or fainting.
Myths surrounding sexual positions and the effect these may have on the baby are also prevalent. Keep in mind that your baby is protected by two things: amniotic fluid and your cervical plug. No matter what type of position you have sex in, your partner’s penis cannot touch or injure the baby.
Q: Can sex cause a miscarriage?
A: No. The fact is that most miscarriages are caused by biological problems with the mother, or biological problems with the baby; sex will not cause a miscarriage risk if a woman is carrying a normal healthy pregnancy.
Q: Orgasms are said to cause premature labor. Does that mean I shouldn’t have orgasms?
A: No, you can still look forward to those Os your partner gives you, even when you’re pregnant. The facts are that a woman’s orgasm can cause contractions in the uterus, and these are the same contractions that are felt during labor. Extensive studies have shown that, in a normal pregnancy, orgasms will not result in premature labor or birth.
Q: Will it hurt?
A: Many women think sex during pregnancy will be painful. On the contrary, the vaginal area will be engorged with blood so it’s more elastic and stretchable, which makes it more comfortable.
Q: What if I’m not in the mood?
A: First, Miranda said it on Sex and the City, “No wonder you’re supposed to be married when you’re pregnant” in relation to her increasing libido and sexual urges.
For some women, there’s a heightened want for sex during pregnancy, but for others, it may be the opposite because of the morning sickness and other related symptoms. Also, a woman may feel less physically attractive because of the weight gain that results from pregnancy, which may decrease sex drive. You should remember, however, that weight gain is normal and try to focus on the fact that you are already a mother to the child inside you. That’s got to make you one of the most beautiful things in the world. If you’re still feeling down and out, though, a little self-pampering may help you feel prettier.
Here are some things to remember when it comes to sex during pregnancy and pregnancy in general:
1. Always keep up with your prenatal visits. This will allow your doctor to monitor your health and that of your baby’s. Most importantly, your doctor can alert you should anything change in your condition that will prevent you from having sex.
2. A caring, understanding, and supportive partner is a wonderful thing to have. Imagine yourself struggling through a day’s worth of PMS—now multiply that PMS with a boat load more of hormones. Some pregnant women are just like that. It’s not pleasant, so make sure your partner understands what it is you’re going through. However, it’s also a good idea to make sure you let him know how much you appreciate his being there for you.
3. A sense of humor will carry you through. Pregnancy is awkward and as you get bigger even walking may seem like waddling. Knockin’ boots may seem challenging with such a big belly; if you find yourself lactating early in the latter part of your pregnancy, being wet may take on a whole different meaning. Don’t take yourself too seriously—sex is awkward and messy, even when you’re not pregnant (and if it’s not, you may want to rethink your approach to it). Humor can take you a long way in terms of fighting off that awkwardness.