When it comes to sex, there's no instruction manual. What? There is?!!
We'll be right back…
OK, back! Anyway, all over the world, women are finding their sex lives being unnecessarily ruined- by pregnancy!
It might hurt.
Usually pregnant women don't find sex painful, per se, but since pregnancy– especially early and late pregnancy– is rife with "discomforts" it's not surprising that some positions are no fun. So be creative: What can you lean on? Grab another pillow. Get some lube. Bring in some toys. This is an opportunity to grow and adapt as a couple. Maybe you'll discover some new awesome way to do it (for now).
The baby will get poked.
This is a very common concern when it comes to intercourse during pregnancy. I want to reassure you that the baby is well enclosed in beneath layers of strong muscle, tissue, membrane and fluid and will not be moved– literally or otherwise– by intercourse. Occasionally, there's an issue with the placenta or cervix– the muscular opening of the uterus, which is firm and closed during pregnancy– and mom is told to refrain from intercourse and possibly advised to rest throughout pregnancy. If you are not otherwise instructed, consider yourself good to go.
Sex will start labor.
Sex can trigger labor. But- and this is a big but- sex, or more specifically orgasm and/or exposure to semen– will not trigger labor until your body is ready to go into labor. Here's how it works: female orgasm releases oxytocin which is the same hormone that causes contractions (cool, right?) and semen has prostaglandins, another hormone that triggers labor and softens the cervix. The thing is, the prostaglandins and oxytocin only trigger labor when the receptors for these hormones have been set up on and around the uterus. Before the receptors are 'turned on' you can flood mom with oxytocin and her uterus will be relatively oblivious. When the receptors have been turned on– at the end of pregnancy, around her due date– triggering those hormones via sex might just help get labor going. Make sense? Sometimes doctors tell moms to avoid intercourse because the physical thrusting might be problematic for a particularly vulnerable cervix but if you haven't been advised otherwise, sex during pregnancy will not trigger anything except, hopefully, pleasure. (And then if you're near or past 40 weeks and want to start labor… sex could help you get there.
For more answers to common questions about pregnant sex, you can find the rest of the article at Babble.com!
[Image via Raphael Goetter/Flickr.]