BY RUTH DSOUZA PRABHU
The pregnancy belly is starting to show and the excitement for your new arrival continues to grow. But it still does take a whole nine months for your precious bundle to arrive. In the meantime, it is quite natural for partners to continue having a sexual desire for one another. A commonly held opinion is that sex during pregnancy is a complete no-no. Depending on the grandmother myths that you are exposed to, these restrictions sometimes extend all the way up to a year post pregnancy as well. Fact is, sex during pregnancy is perfectly fi ne, provided certain basic aspects are taken care of. Here is what the experts have to say:
Busting myths around sex during pregnancy
Myth No. 1:
No sex during pregnancy
According to Dr Bandita Sinha, gynecologist and infertility specialist, World of Women, Mumbai, “There is no harm in having sex during pregnancy. However, it is essential to avoid sex during the first three months and last two months. Sex in the initial three months can cause complications in pregnancy and in the last two months may lead to early delivery. This makes it essential to focus on personal comfort.”
Myth No. 2
Your baby may ‘see’ something or dad may bump baby’s head
Dr Sonali Santhanam, Birth Basix, Chennai, reiterates that this is absolute hogwash when she says, “The baby is contained in the uterus and this is sealed shut by the mucous plug. Nothing can enter or leave the uterus. It is not mechanically possible to bump baby’s head and the baby certainly will not witness anything.”
Myth No. 3
Having an orgasm or the act of sex can induce labour
Dr N Sapna Lulla, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Bengaluru, rubbishes this myth away, saying, “The orgasm stimulates an oxytocin peak which induces uterine contractions, which although insuffi cient to induce labour in pregnancy, may generate discomfort and insecurity for the couple.” This discomfort is perhaps the only reason to abstain.
Myth No. 4
No sex for a year post birth
“Again, there is no truth in this,” says Dr. Bandita. “After four weeks or a month post the delivery, it is advisable to have sex. Off course, this depends on the fact that both partners are comfortable.”
Myth No. 5
Having intercourse may lead to a miscarriage
“If you have a low-risk pregnancy, the placenta is positioned well and is not low lying, and if you do not have a history of miscarriages, you can safely indulge in sex during pregnancy,” says Dr Sonali. “Because of the mucous plug, it is not possible for any bacteria to enter the sterile uterine environment. However, if the partner has an STD, it puts the baby at great risk. It’s always better to screen for this.”
There are certain precautions that one must take before indulging in the act, but sex isn’t off the table if you know the safest positions to try.
“While having sex, a pregnant woman needs to ensure her comfort,” says Dr. Bandita. “Also, any pressure on the back or tummy that hurts or causes any discomfort, is best avoided. It differs for every individual based on their comfort. Hygiene is very important, both before and after sex, as infections can cause complications. It is best to avoid any kind of experiments or having multiple partners during pregnancy.”
Explaining sexual positions that do the trick, Dr Sonali advises that any position that does not put pressure on the growing belly, is a good one. Lying down fl at on the back in the missionary position is not recommended. In this position, an expectant mother can feel faint or black out as major blood vessels get compressed.
Here are some sexual positions that do the trick for almost everyone:
Spooning: Lie side by side with him behind you. This makes for more shallow penetration. You on top: There’s no pressure on your belly, and you can control the speed and depth of penetration.
Side of the bed: You lie on your back on the edge of the bed with your knees bent and feet on the edge. He stands facing you. It’s like classic missionary, but he won’t be resting his body weight on you.
Sofa so good: Kneel on a couch with your belly facing the back of it; use your arms for support. He penetrates from behind.
Runner Runner: Lay on your side with one leg stretched out and the other propped up on two pillows for support. This will allow the pelvis to stay open and your partner can comfortably penetrate you from behind. This position also allows for a good cuddle and foreplay.
When you should abstain
Dr Sapna explains that some women with high-risk pregnancy, low lying placenta, with a previous preterm birth or with threatened abortion, may be adviced by their doctor to avoid sex for part of their pregnancy. Theoretically, pregnant woman are at decreased risk of pelvic infl ammatory disease because of natural barriers created by the mucus plug. However, risk of infection in the fi rst trimester cannot be ruled out. There is little evidence to show that sex at term may help to induce labour but this is considered safe in a low-risk pregnancy. Whether a woman should have sexual intercourse at any stage of pregnancy depends very much on her personal feelings as well as her partner’s.
Dr Sonali adds to this list of precautions saying you need to abstain from having intercourse in case of a high risk pregnancy, threatened pre-term labour, low lying placenta or placenta previa where the placenta completely covers the cervix, have a short or incompetent cervix. If you have had bleeding from vagina during the pregnancy, then you need to abstain. If you partner has an STD and if membranes have ruptured (water broken), sex is a no-no. Having high blood pressure as a result of pre-eclampsia also means that you need to stay away.
She also cautions that you must avoid putting weight and pressure on the belly. Any bleeding or leakage of water after sex needs to be reported. It is normal to have muddy brown discharge after intercourse because this happens when blood vessels around cervix get bruised and bleed a bit. Bright red bleeding, however, is a red flag. Now, if you are preggers and are feeling a bit frisky, it is absolutely alright to indulge in some great
sex with your partner! After all, once the baby comes, you won’t have much time for anything else, so make the most of the time you have! |MB