Sex should be fun, but it should also be safe, especially for expectant moms. Below are some sex positions to avoid when you’re pregnant plus some essential information you should know before getting intimate with your partner.
Contrary to popular belief, having sex during your pregnancy is pretty safe, and there’s no problem if you and your husband want to get intimate.
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), unless your OB-GYN or other health care professional tells you otherwise, you can have sex throughout pregnancy. You may need to try new positions as your belly grows and remember that intercourse may be uncomfortable at times.
Muscles in the uterus and amniotic fluid in the uterus work to protect the growing baby during pregnancy and while having penetrative sex.
According to Aleece Fosnight, a physician assistant and sex counselor in urology, women’s health, and sexual medicine, sex during pregnancy may have a lot of benefits.
Women who have orgasms during pregnancy benefit from calming hormones and increased cardiovascular blood flow. And those benefits can also be passed from to the baby.
When to avoid having sex while you are pregnant?
Image from Freepik
Sexual intercourse is essentially safe for healthy pregnancies. However, if your doctor considers you to be at high risk, they may recommend that you avoid sexual intercourse during the pregnancy or just in the later stages.
Breast stimulation, female orgasms, and certain hormones in semen called prostaglandins can cause uterine contractions.
Your OB-GYN might advise you to put having sex on hold if you are experiencing the following symptoms or conditions:
- problems with the cervix that could increase the likelihood of miscarriage or go into early labor
- pregnancy with twins
- placenta previa, where the placenta partially or entirely covers the entrance to the cervix
- cervical incompetence, where the cervix opens prematurely
- a history of going into premature labor
- substantial blood loss or unexplained vaginal bleeding
- leaking amniotic fluid
- the waters have broken, which may increase the risk of infection
Now that we’re clear on that, let’s discuss some common questions about sex and pregnancy.
Will penetration hurt the pregnancy?
According to Fosnight, the uterus may move a little bit during penetration and the pregnant mom may be able to feel that. It is because the uterus is more movable during pregnancy. However, this is not enough reason to put the baby at risk.
“The baby is super protected and has its own filter system that’s really selective about what goes in and comes out,” said Fosnight. “Unless you’ve been instructed to have pelvic rest, sex is OK.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, oral sex and anal sex are also safe.
Does having sex during pregnancy cause a miscarriage?
No. Miscarriages are often a result of a fetus not developing normally. A 2011 study also confirmed that sex doesn’t induce early labor in low-risk, healthy pregnancies.
According to Stephanie Buehler, a psychologist, and certified sex therapist, sex may even help with labor.
“Some couples have sex up until the woman goes into labor,” she says. “Unless there is a medical reason or one or both partners are uninterested, couples can do as they please.”
However, you need to make sure that your partner does not have a sexually transmitted infection (STI). STIs can result in potential pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to early labor, miscarriage, and other serious health complications.
Image from Freepik
Sex positions to avoid when pregnant
While we’re on the topic of ensuring your(and your baby’s) safety while having sex, bear in mind that there are some sexual positions that are considered unsafe or risky for pregnant women.
During the first trimester, there are no restrictions when it comes to the sex positions that you and your husband can engage in during intercourse. However, things like morning sickness, as well as tiredness and fatigue can sometimes put you out of the mood.
As you approach the second trimester of your pregnancy, however, your growing belly may get in the way of doing certain positions. Some positions may also affect the blood flow in your body and might put pressure or added weight on your uterus.
Here are some sex positions that you should avoid then you’re pregnant:
Sex positions to avoid when pregnant: Missionary position
This is one, if not the most basic sexual position there is. This position is described with the female partner lying flat on her back with the male partner on top, facing her and penetrating her.
Laying on your back during sex isn’t a good idea as it compresses blood flow to mom and baby, after 20 weeks. Sexual intercourse in the missionary position, modified missionary positions, or any position where the woman is lying flat on her back can compress her vena cava, the major blood vessel that helps with circulation through your body and to the baby.
There are so many sexual positions that explore the prone position where the woman is lying on her stomach while the man penetrates from behind.
However, this position might add pressure to your already growing and heavy belly. And just like sleeping in your tummy while you are pregnant makes you feel uncomfortable and puts a strain on your back, so does having sex in a prone position or other modified versions of it.
Deep penetration positions
In the third trimester, the positions you should avoid would be anything that causes pressure on your belly.
While it’s not true that deep penetration can harm the baby, some women find these positions uncomfortable because most of them require the woman to bend over, which can put a strain on her back and belly.
Wheelbarrow and other risky sexual positions
Exploring different sexual positions is perfectly healthy in any monogamous relationship. However, it would be best to practice caution while having intercourse and avoid making risky sexual positions when pregnant.
We’re all about making sure that you and your baby are safe all throughout your pregnancy, so it would be best to stick to positions where you can support your body.
Positions like the wheelbarrow where you’re on your hands while your partner is lifting your legs while thrusting, or positions where you’re propped up and not on a stable platform, are more prone to accident and can put a strain on your back. Some positions are also too rigorous that it may make you lightheaded or dizzy.
“Sex should never hurt, and it’s best to talk openly,” said Buelher. “There are lots of ways to be intimate. Couples need to find the ones that work for them during the pregnancy,” she added.
Blowing air in the vagina
As mentioned earlier, oral sex is safe when pregnant. However, don’t let your partner blow air into your vagina. Although rare, air blown into the vagina may cause embolisms and even death.
Sex positions to avoid when pregnant | Image from Freepik
When to stop having sex?
According to Dr. Ina Park, Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UC San Francisco School of Medicine, any bleeding during sex is a sign that you should stop.
If the bleeding occurred during penetrative sex, wait for it to stop before having sex again. And if it doesn’t stop or is heavy for multiple days, consult your OB-GYN as soon as possible.
If you’re also feeling pain and are uncomfortable about having sexual intercourse now that you’re pregnant, talk to your partner about it. Your safety and well-being as well as your child’s safety are more important at this point in your life. You can always be intimate and express your affection in other ways.
Additional information by Camille Eusebio
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