There's Nothing To Be Embarrassed About
When your doctor or midwife asks if you have any questions, do you ask all of them? If your answer is no, don't be embarrassed! Christine Swartz, M.D., of West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, Illinois, has answers to five common -- and embarrassing -- questions about sex during pregnancy:
1. Can intercourse hurt the baby?
"Intercourse has not been associated with harmful effects on the baby or the pregnancy," says Swartz. "To protect the baby, there is amniotic fluid and strong uterine muscles around the baby and a mucus plug that blocks the cervix." However, sometimes providers will put moms on pelvic rest to protect the pregnancy, Swartz explains. "This means that intercourse or penetration should be avoided. Examples include threatened miscarriage, placenta or vasa previa, premature rupture of membranes, threatened preterm labor and vaginal bleeding in pregnancy. Without these pregnancy complications, intercourse and penetration are safe."
2. Can I use a vibrator during pregnancy?
"Vibrator use is safe in pregnancy, except when used inside the vagina when a woman's provider has ordered pelvic rest or if it is not properly cleaned, putting a woman at risk for infections when used inside the vagina. The vibration may stimulate the baby, but not in an unsafe way. You may feel your baby moving more and if you could count the baby's heart rate, it would likely have accelerations, or short term increases in rate. Both are signs that your baby is healthy."
3. Is receiving oral sex safe during pregnancy?
"Oral sex is safe during pregnancy," says Swartz. "There have been published cases where air has entered a woman's blood vessel when her partner blew air into her vagina during oral sex -- an air embolism -- but you have to keep in mind that those are rare cases. If you are worried, you don't have to avoid oral sex altogether, just avoid blowing air forcibly into the vagina."
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4. How much will things change "down there" during pregnancy?
"As pregnancy enters the third trimester, the baby lowers into the pelvis," explains Swartz. "This can be associated with increased pressure, pain deep in the vagina, a pinching sensation and limited penetration for male partners. In addition, there is increased pelvic congestion, adding some discomfort and which may affect a woman's orgasm. That being said, some women enjoy sex more while pregnant. My best advice is to try it and let your body guide you if you feel any discomfort."
5. Are certain sex positions more comfortable during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester?
"Most women prefer a side-by-side approach to intercourse in the third trimester," Swartz explains. "This can be achieved with their partner in the front or behind them in a spooning position. Having the woman on top may also be comfortable. Again, let your body be your guide to what is comfortable and pleasurable for you and your partner."