Sex in the first trimester Is It Safe?
As a sexologist I'm very often asked about the safety of having sex during pregnancy - well here's the good news - doing the nasty when you've got a bun in the oven is not only hot, it's perfectly safe. If you feel well and sexy - it's a jolly good idea to have a roll in the hay.
Penetrative sex and orgasm during the first trimester are not linked to miscarriage or vaginal infections. Indeed, in a low risk, uncomplicated pregnancy getting juicy will actually reduce the risk of miscarriage and premature birth, by decreasing stress and enhancing emotional well being.
Often you and your partner(s) will worry that the baby will be harmed whilst you bump and grind - but don't worry your unborn babe is well cushioned by the amniotic sac and the strong uterine muscles. A penis (even one of porn star proportions - you lucky lady you!) or toy will not penetrate deep enough to get past the muscles of the cervix, which is sealed up with a thick, mucous plug to keep out any nasties.
Changes to Your Mojo
However, it is important to be aware that during pregnancy there may be wide variations in you and your partner(s) sexual arousal, desire and response. For some pregnant women desire and intimacy may be affected in the first trimester by body image concerns, nausea, fatigue, urgency to urinate, anxiety and hormonal fluctuations. For others these hormonal changes and lack of concerns about contraception can make them randier than a jack rabbit in a barrel full of jellied eels.
Follen Swanny and Tender Tits
There can be physiological changes that occur during pregnancy that may have you begging for more or closing the bedroom door. For instance, during pregnancy sex can cause genital engorgement (the classic Two Ronnies' follen swanny), where you may experience heightened sensations that have you screaming YES!YES!YES! at the slightest touch of your sensitive clitoris or screaming NO!NO!NO! if anyone so much as breaths on it. Not only can your clitoris become more sensitive, but so can your breasts and nipples - and you partner(s) may tread a fine (and dangerous) line between pleasure and pain.
Bonding, sexual pleasure and orgasm will also release hormones (prostaglandins and oxytocins) that can cause abdominal tightenings or hardenings of the uterus, which although perfectly normal can be a cause of concern for some. However, this is a perfectly normal response and these hormones can be both good for you and your baby - you'll all be feeling the luuurvve.
Communicate, Communicate and Communicate
However, it's very important to listen to your body - communicate and be open and honest with your partner(s) at this time. It may be that you control penetration and depth/vigour of thrusting or try new positions that are more comfortable, such as lying sideways, being positioned on the edge of the bed with your partner between your legs, spooning, sitting on their lap or being on top. Non-penetrative sex or 'outercourse' may be more suitable or pleasurable at this time (foreplay, oral sex and masturbation). And don't forget there are so many other ways to be intimate - 'togetherness' and mutual reassurance can be maintained through time spent together, cuddling, massage, a relaxing bath or shower, a shared walk, meal or movie night together.
You partner(s) va-va voom may also not be firing up for them during pregnancy if they are fearful of hurting you or the baby, worried about your health or that of the unborn's, apprehensive about parenthood and its financial burdens or even self-conscious about getting down and dirty in the presence of the bump. It's just as important at this time for them to communicate their needs, desires and wants about intimacy.
Bans on Bonking
Obviously, there are times when doing the two-backed beast may not be recommended. Here are a few:
- If your partner(s) has an active genital herpes lesion
- If you have a low lying placenta or the placenta is partially/fully covering the cervix (placenta previa)
- If you have a cervical dysfunction , weakness or it is opening prematurely
- If you have a history of premature/pre-term labour
- If you are experiencing unexplained vaginal bleeding
- If you are experiencing moderate/ severe abdominal cramping
- If you have a history of miscarriage and having sex would cause you distress or worry
- If you are carrying multiple babies and have been advised against sex by your caregiver
- If your waters (amniotic fluid) are leaking or have broken
Safer Sex - And Some Thoughts on Anal and Oral
Even when pregnant there are times when condoms/dental dams should still be used:
- If your partner(s) have an STI (especially herpes)
- If you are not in a mutually monogamous relationship
- If you have a new partner and do not know their STI status
- If you have a vaginal infection (e.g. thrush)Care should also be taken when engaging in oral sex in that there should be no blowing in the vagina during pregnancy (but seriously who does that?! - no judgement, but you may want to perfect your techniques).
There should also be an awareness of the attending risks that come with anal sex - just like at any other time a penis/toy/fingers should not be placed into the anus and then into the vagina as this may cause a vaginal infection. Also during pregnancy some women are prone to developing haemorrhoids, which can be painful, bleed or rupture during anal penetration- so you may want to abstain from engaging in 'up the bum' fun during this time.
Image credit: Mitrofan