Something every woman wonders when she gets pregnant is: what effect will sex have on my baby? what effect will it have on me? Is it safe? Why or why not?
Fortunately for everybody invovled, except for in rare cases, sex is totally awesome for both you and your baby! Even while your sex drive will most definitely fluctuate throughout pregnancy, there will probably be some libido highs. At these points I recommend – nay, I absolutely insist! – that you indulge in a good romp.
Your own health and the health of your baby will both thank you.
(For more on pregnancy, labor, birth, and post-partum, see my favorite guide – it’s a classic! – here.)
Here are 9 reasons you must have sex while pregnant.
First – you might wonder – Is it safe?
You betcha its safe!
Most women who are having a normal pregnancy may continue to have sex right up until their water breaks or they go into labor. You won’t hurt the baby. The amniotic sac and the strong muscles of the uterus protect your baby, and the thick mucus plug that seals the cervix helps guard against infection. In fact, plenty of babies appear to like it. Some rest more peacefully.
Orgasms themselves may cause mild uterine contractions (as can nipple stimulation!), yet they are both temporary and harmless.
1) Lowers blood pressure
Because its a form of exercise as well as a way to release happy chemicals and reduce stress, sex has been found to lower blood pressure. This is excellent for both you and your baby, since high blood pressure is one of the most prominent causes of the pregnancy complication preeclampsia.
2) Improves the immunological relationship between you and your baby
Since the fetus is a foreign body, the immune system of the pregnant mother goes on the defensive during pregnancy. This can be dangerous to both the mother and the baby as it can create an immune system war of sorts.
Fortunately, a healthy diet in a body low in insulin, blood pressure and other inflammatory markers helps keep this immune response under control.
Additionally, semen has a particular protein in it, called Human Leukocyte Antigen G. HLA-G modulates and suppresses a pregnant woman’s immune reaction to her fetus and its foreign tissue. HLA-G is absorbed through the vagina after ejaculation. It is also absorbed through the stomach if you ingest it during foreplay!
Sex therefore helps prevent immunological war! This is another factor that can go a long way towards preventing preeclampsia.
3) Pain reduction
Orgasms – though sex in general, really – release high doses of oxytocin, the “love” or “cuddle” hormone that is associated with happy bonding feelings. Oxytocin also happens to dramatically increase pain tolerance – which can be a big bonus for women nearing the end of the third trimester.
4) Birth Control Free Pass!
This is one of my favorites. Here – you don’t have to worry about pregnancy! You’re already pregnant! Score one for simple, unprotected sex.
Go get em, tiger.
5) You get to explore a new body
Your body might be in funny shapes that makes you feel uncomfortable, but you should instead feel empowered and awesome! Your body has a BABY in it, for crying out loud!
Your breasts will also grow during pregnancy, which can be fun to play with.
Other things change as well, so play with them while you’ve got them! Even if they’re new curves and jiggly spots, that’s totally awesome too! Maybe pregnancy can help you develop your love for those parts of your body.
6) Increased sex drive
Pregnancy increases bloodflow to the pelvic area, which increases orgasmic sensitivity. Boatloads of women report having mindblowing orgasms while pregnant – some even having orgasms for the first time! This is especially true of the second trimester. Sometimes women report the extra sensation as too strong for pleasurable sex, but even for these women that is not all of the time.
You may also experience increased vaginal lubrication during pregnancy, which can be a lot of fun.
7) Heightened breast sensitivity
Breasts often feel tingly, tender, and unusually sensitive to touch, particularly in the first trimester, due to the high influx of female hormones during this time.
8) Start or Speed labor
Semen contains prostaglandins which help soften and dilate the cervix, speeding and easing labor. Orgasms can also give you a hefty dose of oxytocin, which is the primary hormone responsible for contractions!
So long as your water hasn’t yet broken, sex before labor is 100% safe! Having sex at this time can help induce labor, speed it up, and maybe even make it feel less painful!
9) Increased post-partum recovery speed
Sex and orgasms increase the strength of pelvic floor muscles (as do kegel exercises). Strengthened pelvic floor muslces speed up muscle healing in the days and weeks following birth.
This is also excellent for supporting bladder control. Many pregnant women have experienced involuntary urination at some point or another – when you have a scare or laugh too hard, or anything at all, really! But kegels, sex, and stronger pelvic muscles can definitely help you control that.
So that’s my list! What do you think?
(And again – for more on pregnancy, labor, birth, and post-partum, see my favorite guide by Ina May here.)
So – what is your experience with pregnancy and sex? Love it? Hate it? I know lots of women who say it’s the best sex of their lives, even though there are plenty others who have leses mind-blowing experiences. I would LOVE to hear your stories in the comments!!!