There are a lot of changes you'll make when you find out you're pregnant. From what foods you eat to how you sleep, most of us have to make some temporary adjustments to our lifestyle! But being pregnant doesn't mean you have to give up everything - some things are perfectly safe to continue during your pregnancy. Sex with your partner during pregnancy can be a wonderful way for the two of you to bond and build your intimacy. If you're feeling up to it, but are wondering it's safe to have sex during pregnancy, here's what you need to know.
Is Sex Safe During Pregnancy?
For the majority of normal, uncomplicated pregnancies, sex during pregnancy is totally safe. Your baby is well-protected - the strong muscles and walls of the uterus, the cervix, and the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby keep them safe. We know some people are concerned that the baby can be harmed by sex during pregnancy; research shows that this is a fear shared by 50-80% of pregnant women! But you can rest assured, there's no potential for harm to your baby if you have sex during pregnancy. The baby is positioned far away from the vagina, so even the most well-endowed partner or sex toy could not reach them.
When Not To Have Sex During Pregnancy
Even though sex during pregnancy is safe during most pregnancies, your doctor may restrict sex or tell you to avoid it altogether if you have certain pregnancy complications. If you're at risk for preterm labor, or have a history of preterm labor or premature delivery in previous pregnancies, your doctor may restrict sex during your pregnancy. Orgasms, breast stimulation, and hormones in semen can cause uterine contractions, which can increase your risk of preterm labor.
Additionally, if you have placenta previa or placenta abruption, your doctor will also likely put you on a strict no sex order. Same goes if you're leaking amniotic fluid or your cervix dilates prematurely - having sex can increase the risk of your baby contracting an infection from bacteria being pushed from the vagina into the uterus from intercourse.
Can Sex During Pregnancy Cause A Miscarriage?
The biggest fear a lot of women (and men) have is that sex during pregnancy can cause a miscarriage. But you can rest easy: there's no research to back that up. The majority of miscarriages happen because there's a complication with the pregnancy or the fetus isn't developing normally. Having sex during pregnancy doesn't cause miscarriage, and as long as you're having an uncomplicated pregnancy, having sex during pregnancy won't increase your chances of having a miscarriage.
Sex After Pregnancy
Women have concerns about sex after pregnancy, too. How soon you can have intercourse after your delivery depends on the type of delivery you have and how your body is healing, and of course, how you feel emotionally. Most doctors will clear you for sex six weeks after a vaginal delivery or c-section, barring any complications. Waiting six weeks gives your body enough time to heal, allows your uterus to shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size, and minimizes your risk of infection. But just because your doctor has given you the go-ahead to have sex six weeks postpartum doesn't mean you have to jump right back in the saddle! Take your time, and wait as long as you need to feel physically, mentally, and emotionally ready.
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