Sex Talk

I'm pregnant. Is having sex safe for my baby?

Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng answers your sex questions

01 October 2017 - 00:00
The heightened sensitivity of the erogenous zones can make sex more enjoyable during the middle months of pregnancy.
The heightened sensitivity of the erogenous zones can make sex more enjoyable during the middle months of pregnancy.
Image: iStock

Q. Does one's sex drive change during pregnancy?

A. Some people find having sex very enjoyable during pregnancy, and others simply don't want to have sex. You can find other ways of being loving or making love. The most important thing is to talk about your feelings with each other.

While sex is safe for most couples in pregnancy, it may not be all that easy. You will probably need to find different positions. This can be a time to explore and experiment together.

Oral sex is safe during pregnancy. If you receive oral sex, though, your partner must not blow air into your vagina as a burst of air might block a blood vessel (air embolism), which could be a life-threatening condition for you and the baby.

If you receive oral sex your partner must not blow air into your vagina as a burst of air might block a blood vessel (air embolism)

The increased blood flow to the muscles and lining of the vagina might cause a feeling of fullness and the naturally increased lubrication of the vagina can lead to increased enjoyment in sex.

The heightened sensitivity of the erogenous zones makes the experience more enjoyable especially during the middle months of pregnancy.

Later in pregnancy, an orgasm or even just sex can set off Braxton Hicks contractions. If this happens, you'll feel the muscles of your womb (uterus) go hard. This is perfectly normal and there's no need for alarm. If it feels uncomfortable, try your relaxation techniques or just lie quietly until the contractions pass.

As long as your pregnancy is proceeding normally, you can have sex as often as you like. Hormonal fluctuations, fatigue, nausea and breast tenderness early in pregnancy might lower your sexual desire. As the pregnancy progresses, weight gain and back pain may lessen your enthusiasm for sex.

The developing foetus is protected by the amniotic fluid inside the placenta as well as the strong muscles of the uterus itself.

Although most women can safely have sex throughout pregnancy, sometimes it's best to be cautious.

Your healthcare provider or doctor might recommend avoiding sex if you have unexplained vaginal bleeding, you're leaking amniotic fluid, your cervix begins to open prematurely, your placenta partly or completely covers your cervical opening (placenta previa), you have a history of preterm labour or premature birth, or you're carrying multiples.

• Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng (MBChB), sexual and reproductive health practice, DISA Clinic, 011-886-2286, visit safersex.co.za.

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Sunday Times Lifestyle is conducting a survey to find out about South Africans and their sex lives, habits and attitudes. Are there any questions we should be asking? If so, please email us your suggestions to lifestyle@sundaytimes.co.za with SEX SURVEY in the subject line.


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