The Consequences of Not Having Sex During Pregnancy

Sexual intimacy with your partner during pregnancy can be a beautiful way to keep your relationship close. It can be non-penetrative sex, or even just kissing, cuddling and foreplay.

Some women may need to avoid sex during pregnancy for medical reasons. Your OB can tell you whether or not sex is safe for your pregnancy.

1. Miscarriage

If you’re a woman who’s recently discovered she’s pregnant, you might be concerned that sex may cause a miscarriage. Though the fear is valid, it’s important to understand that under normal circumstances, sex does not harm a healthy pregnancy. Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester, and most of those are due to chemical pregnancies (which happen shortly after implantation) rather than because of intercourse.

There is no evidence that sex before, during, or after pregnancy causes miscarriage. Instead, most miscarriages are caused by abnormal chromosomes in the fetus, which has nothing to do with sexual activity or pregnancy.

Most doctors agree that vaginal sex is safe for most healthy pregnancies, but it’s important to talk to your doctor or certified nurse midwife about your specific concerns and risk factors before you decide when to have sex during pregnancy. You might find that your interest in sex changes during pregnancy, and that’s completely normal! Try different positions and be open with your partner about how you feel.

It’s also important to avoid oral sex during pregnancy, as the blowing of air into the vagina can block blood vessels and cause a dangerous condition called an air embolism. This condition is not only harmful to the baby but can be fatal for the mother as well. It’s also a good idea to use barrier methods of birth control until after the baby is born.

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2. Premature birth

Some women have a dramatic drop in sexual desire during pregnancy due to nausea, fatigue or breast tenderness. It is normal, but it can affect the quality of a relationship. This is the time to talk openly with your partner and find alternative ways to connect, such as cuddling or massage.

It is also a good idea to experiment with different sexual positions. You can also try different orgasms, such as having your partner on top and being penetrated from the back (spooning). If a woman is not comfortable with sexual activity during pregnancy, it is important to communicate this with her partner.

Some people may be concerned that sex with a pregnant woman can cause preterm birth, because of the prostaglandins in semen that initiate labour. This is only a risk in a high-risk pregnancy, such as when the waters have broken, there is a problem with the cervix or the woman is expecting twins or more than one baby.

Orgasms are not a risk to the baby either, but they can be uncomfortable for some women as they lie on their side and feel the weight of the baby pressing down. If a woman is not comfortable with this, it is okay to ask her partner to lay on their stomach instead. Some women who have an orgasm during pregnancy will experience Braxton Hicks contractions, but these are different from the ones that occur in labour and are not harmful to the baby.

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3. Postpartum depression

Women often report that their sexual desire decreases throughout pregnancy, especially during the third trimester. This is likely due to fatigue, discomfort from the weight of the uterus and a feeling of fear at the impending birth of their baby. However, this is not a sign of problems and is completely normal.

If you are experiencing a low level of sexual interest, try changing positions. Spooning (laying on your side with your partner behind you), lying on your back and being penetrated from the front, or being on hands and knees may work better for you and your partner. Also, don’t forget to drink lots of water and get plenty of rest. This will help you feel more energized and increase your chances of having an orgasm.

The benefits of sex during pregnancy are many, including a healthier lifestyle for the mother and a stronger bond between partners. In addition, sex increases the flow of blood to the genitals which can lead to more orgasms and even a boost to your immune system. A 2004 study found that sex increases the secretion of IgA, an antibody that protects against infections such as colds and flu.

Sex is safe and healthy in all stages of a low-risk pregnancy. If you’re considering sex, make sure your partner is up to it and that both of you are well informed about the risks and benefits of the practice.

4. Infections

Having sex during pregnancy can lead to infections, especially sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The risk for infection from unprotected sex is higher if the woman has had a previous STI or is using an ineffective barrier method. Some infections can also be passed to the baby through kissing, mutual masturbation and the mouth during oral sex. These types of infections can cause serious illness or even death for both mother and child.

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Many people experience a change in their sex drive during pregnancy. Some may feel an increased libido due to the hormones produced during pregnancy, while others find their libido drops. A decrease in libido can be caused by a variety of reasons, including fatigue from the pregnancy, feeling uncomfortable in the body or pains. In some cases, having a healthy relationship with your partner can help keep the libido up.

Having sex during pregnancy is safe if you have been screened for STIs, use barrier contraception and practice monogamy to reduce the risk of a possible infection. Some STIs, such as herpes and genital warts, can pass from the mother to her fetus. Your healthcare provider will screen you for STIs at your first prenatal appointment and will offer treatment if necessary. For women with low immune systems, doctors recommend that they avoid sex and use barrier contraception during all sexual activity.

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