When you first found out you were going to have a baby, you gladly gave up sushi dinners and glasses of wine with no problem (or maybe just a few complaints). But, do you have to give up sex, too? The short answer is "no." Most of the time, sex during early pregnancy is not only safe but even more enjoyable thanks to the emotional and hormonal changes taking place in your body.
Follow these five tips before hitting the sheets to help ensure that your intimate life during pregnancy is as fulfilling as it should be.
Get the official green light
While it doesn't sound terribly sexy, the first person you need to talk to about getting intimate (after your partner, of course) is your doctor. Though rare, certain conditions, such as cervical and placental abnormalities, bleeding, abdominal pain or infections might take penetration off the table. But before you worry about what’s safe and what’s not, consult your doctor; he or she will be able to give you a clear picture of what's right for your particular situation.
Don't worry about the baby
A lot of couples fear getting intimate might hurt their babies. Fear not. A little (or a lot) of between the sheets action won’t harm your little bun in the oven. In fact, it’s usually chromosomal abnormalities – not physical activities – that cause miscarriages. Add that to the natural protection your uterus, cervix and amniotic fluid provide, and you can rest easy knowing your pleasure won't cause your baby any pain. Even deep penetration and the contractions you experience during orgasm won't harm your baby.
Try new things
Early pregnancy is the perfect time to try new positions and techniques that will keep you both comfortable and satisfied later on, once your belly starts to grow. If penetration is unsafe or uncomfortable, you can add manual stimulation to your bag of tricks. You may also find that sexual aids, including K-Y® vibrators and personal lubricants, can increase your pleasure. Most positions are safe throughout your pregnancy, but remember to take things slowly and keep an open line of communication with your partner. If you experience vaginal dryness, or if your vagina is more sensitive than usual, K-Y® lubricants can make penetration easier and more comfortable, too.
Enjoy other forms of intimacy
If you're uncomfortable with the actual act (or your doctor took it off the table), there are other forms of intimacy that can keep you connected to your partner. Kissing, touching, massage, cuddling and even deep conversation can leave you feeling close, supported and relaxed. Who knows? These forms of intimacy might even pave the way for physical intimacy.
Know when to stop
It's perfectly natural to slip into an uncomfortable position or to get an unexpected muscle cramp when you get physical. If you cramp up, take a break, and once you are your partner feel comfortable again, slowly resume. But if you experience any sharp or prolonged pain – especially in your abdomen – or light spotting, stop and contact your doctor. If you experience heavy spotting or bleeding, head to the emergency room to make sure you're not experiencing any problems. While sex-related pregnancy complications are rare, it's better to be safe.
By: Teresa Newsome
- Mayo Clinic: Sex During Pregnancy: What's OK, What's Not
- BabyCenter: Making Love in the First Trimester
Teresa is a Planned Parenthood certified responsible sexuality educator. Over the past decade, she has worked in her community as a sexuality and healthy relationships educator, pregnancy options counselor and domestic violence victim advocate.