Friday, 5 August 2011

How Safe is Sex During Pregnancy?

When a woman becomes pregnant, one of the questions uppermost in the minds of the couple is whether they will be able to enjoy any sexual intercourse in the following months. Some couples dread pregnancies as it could put a dampener on their sexual life. But the good news is that pregnancy may not necessarily intervene in your sexual life at all. There are several misconceptions about having sexual intercourse during pregnancy and that is why couples develop wrong notions. However, most of these notions are quite unjustified.

The first thing one must understand is how pregnancy affects the body of the woman. Pregnancy occurs when the male sperm fertilizes the egg cell of the female. This fertilized egg is called as the embryo, which gets implanted in the uterus. Pregnancy brings about a host of changes in the woman, the first of them being the pause in the menstrual cycles. The embryo develops into the fetus. In order to protect the fetus, the amniotic cavity develops around it. The amniotic cavity is a fluid filled cavity meant for supplying the fetus with all the nutrients it requires for its development. At the same time, in order to prevent further fertilizations, the uterus opening, i.e. the cervix, is blocked off by a layer of mucus.

Now we know the changes that take place in the uterus when pregnancy occurs. Nature provides the growing fetus with all the protections necessary. The mucus layer cuts off the growing embryo from the rest of the outside world.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no harm in having sex when a woman is pregnant, and this could continue till late in the pregnancy. First and foremost, there is no way the penis or the seminal and vaginal fluids can come in contact with the embryo and cause any infections. This is because of the mucus layer that blocks off the cervix. Also for this very same reason, there can be no dislodging of the embryo inside the uterus in any manner.

However, care must be taken with the sexual positions that are adopted. The missionary position must be avoided, since in this position there is a tendency to lay more pressure on the uterus. The missionary position is the one in which the male lies on top and both partners are belly-to-belly in contact. Also the woman-on-top position must be avoided. Any other position in which pressure is not exerted on the woman's uterus is acceptable.

It is necessary to speak to the doctor about sexual intercourse when the woman is pregnant. This is because though there are no technical problems with sexual intercourse during pregnancy, there can be some biological problems linked with the past of the woman. Like if the woman has had a premature birth in the past, then the doctor would advise the couple to refrain from penetrative sexual intercourse in the last three months of pregnancy. Women with miscarriages previously must not indulge in penetrative sexual intercourse during the first three months. And women who have a short cervix (this can be ascertained with a sonography test) must abstain from sexual intercourse throughout the pregnancy.

Yet sexual intercourse during pregnancy takes on a new meaning as the couple soon realizes. Since the woman's body undergoes numerous changes – including the increase in the size of the breasts and the hips – the male partner may become more aroused. Hormonal changes may also induce the woman to become more libidinous during pregnancy. At the same time, on an emotional level, the partners develop greater love for each other in anticipation of their shared joy.

But the contrary of this case can also be seen. During pregnancy, some women might become too preoccupied with their thoughts to become interested in sexual intercourse. They may be intrigued by the changes in their bodies, and even scared of them to an extent. If such a situation arises, then it becomes the man's responsibility to put the woman at ease.

Some couples could find sex during pregnancy too difficult to manage, due to the increase in the size of the couple. This could make the vagina difficult to access considering some sexual positions. The man may be reluctant to lie on top because of fear of harming the fetus, and the woman may not lie on top for fear of putting more weight on the man. Both of these situations could lead to difficulty in managing sexual intercourse.

Finally, it must be remembered that there are alternatives to sexual intercourse if things become too difficult. Mutual masturbation is one of the options. The couple can stimulate each other's genitals by hands and lead them to orgasms. This could help relieve the sexual frustration. Oral sex can be performed without any problems. Though not advisable due to hygienic reasons, anal sex is also an option. But the most important thing is, the couple should develop stronger emotional bonds of love for each other. During pregnancy, it is best to make love with the mind than with the genitals.

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