Sex and Pregnancy

Pregnancy has far reaching effects on a family -- not the least of which is sexuality. Although pregnancy does bring some inevitable changes to a relationship, it does not mean the end of sexual expression.

Couples who are happy together sexually before pregnancy should do well afterward. Although there will be changes due to infant care and so forth, sexual activity can and should continue during and after pregnancy.

If there are no medical conditions ruling out intercourse (your health care provider will mention if there are), you and your partner should be able to continue intercourse throughout pregnancy. If medical problems exist, your provider may suggest that you avoid intercourse.

YOUR BODY AND MIND

Some physical and emotional changes may affect your sexual desire. During the first trimester, your breasts may be unusually tender; if so, mention this to your partner. If you find that you need to urinate more frequently, emptying your bladder before intercourse may make intimacy more pleasurable.

As your abdomen increases in size, the man-on-top position may become uncomfortable for you; if so, try another position. Vaginal lubrication may decrease as the pregnancy advances, so longer foreplay may be necessary, and, if needed, a water soluble lubricant or K-Y Jelly may be used (avoid oil-based lubricants such as Vaseline).

Some men enjoy blowing air into the vagina during sex. This must be avoided because it can lead to an air bubble in the pregnant woman's lung, which can be fatal.

Any sexual activity that involves any sort of trauma to your abdomen or pelvis, however mild, should be avoided.

Avoid drugs during pregnancy, especially drugs used to enhance sexual sensations.

As the pregnancy advances, you may desire intercourse less and may want to have more caressing and cuddling. Your partner might misinterpret this as your not being interested in him. Good communication at this point is critical, as it is during the entire pregnancy.

AFTER DELIVERY

You will be sore in the pelvic area for a while after giving birth. This may take a couple of weeks or months to disappear. If you develop worsening pain with intercourse post-partum, contact your physician.

If you are breast-feeding, you may notice milk from the breasts during sexual stimulation -- this is normal.

If this is your first child, there will be major changes in your lifestyle. It is important for you and your partner to allow time for one another during this period. Enjoy your new baby, enjoy each other, and most of all -- enjoy sex.

REFERENCES

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For more information please see the attached information on sexuality and pregnancy.