Couple in bed

With the holiday of love quickly approaching, you might be wondering how you and your partner can have a romantic physical celebration — or if it is even safe to do so? Find out the real facts and some tips that might help to make it special and comfortable.

Safe and comfortable sex during pregnancy

Many pregnant women find themselves with an increased sexual drive and strong desire for physical intimacy with their partners especially as their pregnancy advances. They feel voluptuous and sexy, appreciate not having to worry about birth control and unplanned pregnancies, and want to feel physically close with their partner. On the other hand, there are also women who find that their sexual desires diminish during their pregnancy.

The good news is that both sets of feelings are perfectly normal and may occur at different times during the same pregnancy. Also, each pregnancy is different and women find their libido is quite different in this pregnancy than it was in a previous one.

Discuss his concerns

Partners may also have a variety of feelings. They may find your pregnant body very attractive and sexy, or they may have concerns that sexual intimacy (particularly vaginal intercourse) can somehow hurt you or the baby. Some partners even worry that the baby might be able to “see” or feel the penis during sexual intercourse. It is reassuring to know that neither of these concerns have any truth to them.

Talk to your doctor

The reality is that sex during pregnancy is usually safe, is certainly normal and should be mutually agreeable by both partners. Your healthcare provider will have informed you if you should be on “pelvic rest” for a health concern that has arisen during your pregnancy. Some common reasons for pelvic rest might be placenta previa or an incompetent cervix. Talk with your doctor or midwife if you have concerns about safety. It is also not advisable to have sexual intercourse if you believe your water has broken, due to risk of infection.

Get creative

Making love during pregnancy may involve some creativity, especially adapting to your growing uterus. A lot of couples find that “spooning” during intercourse is most enjoyable and easy to accomplish. Other positions new to you both may be more helpful during the last months and weeks. Intercourse and/or orgasm may actually help a woman go into labor if her body and baby are ready.

Intimacy doesn't necessarily mean intercourse

Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski, a Lamaze certified childbirth educator and AASECT certified sexuality educator and counselor, shares her thoughts: “Physical intimacy is vital, but making love doesn’t necessarily mean intercourse. Be sensual and connect with pleasure in ways that suit an individual couple’s needs.”

During pregnancy, it is important to consider a broader definition of sexuality and leave lots of room for experimentation, connection and fun so that you and your partner can continue to share intimacy and remain positive about the changes that are happening to your body and to your relationship as you prepare to welcome a baby. Remember that making love during pregnancy is safe, normal and can require a bit of creativity. This is good to keep in mind as your pregnancy progresses.

About the author:

Sharon MuzaSharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE is a birth doula, Lamaze certified childbirth educator, birth doula and CBE trainer, author and international speaker. Through her practice, New Moon Birth, located in Seattle, WA, Sharon empowers families and birth professionals through support and education. Sharon is also the community manager for Science & Sensibility, Lamaze International's blog for childbirth professionals.

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