You're puking, your tummy is bloating, and your back hurts... sexy is probably not the first word you'd choose to describe pregnancy. While it might be tempting for you or your partner, you should consider not putting sex on hold for the next 9 months plus 2 months (don't forget about postpartum!). Sex is good for mom, for dad, and even has benefits for baby.
Sex is safe for most pregnant moms
Unless your doctor or midwife has instructed you not to, it is perfectly safe to have sex during all stages of pregnancy, even in labor as long as your water hasn't broken. YES some couples have sex when mom is in labor, and there are benefits to that as well.
It's important to remember to take it slow. Pregnancy causes all kinds of hormonal shifts, some women want more sex and some want less. Dryness, an extra sensitive cervix, and post sex spotting are all possible reasons to take things slow. Here are 9 reasons (one for every month!) to make time for sex in pregnancy. Remember moms, do what feels right for you. Partners, please respect mom's comfort levels.
9 Benefits to Sex in Pregnancy
1. Better Sleep
Every stage of pregnancy can affect mom's sleep. Frequent bathroom trips can begin in the first trimester by the third trimester mom's well rounded tummy can make sleep uncomfortable. Some women experience hormone induced insomnia. Sex can be a solution to sleep issues because immediately after orgasm prolactin is released, which helps mom feel relaxed and sleepy. A better night's sleep means a more energized mama in the morning!
2. Fewer Aches
Many pregnant women long to climb into bed all day, only to find they can't get comfortable once they get there. A quickly growing uterus can put unique strains on the body which sometimes cause pain. Sex, however, can block pain! Oxytocin, aka the "love hormone," is released during orgasm and has pain blocking and pain tolerance rising qualities. We will talk more about oxytocin later!
3. Improved Immune System
Everyone is talking about how you can boost your immune system. Research has shown people who have sex often are sick less. Pregnant women already have a suppressed immune system. Sex boosts antibodies and may help you ward off that cold... which is really the last think you need when awaiting the arrival of your little one!
4. Stronger Pelvic Floor (Less Likely to Pee on the Floor)
Many pregnant women have been there, you sneeze, laugh, someone surprises you... and you pee unexpectedly. Your pelvic floor is like a trampoline holding up all the organs in your pelvis and helps with bladder control. There are two ways in which sex can strengthen your pelvic floor: partner kegels or "sexercise" and orgasm. Kegels are when you contract the pelvic floor muscles, you can locate these muscles by stopping the flow of urine. Partner kegels can be done during intercourse. Practice kegels on your own and then check in periodically with your partner and find out if you are getting stronger. Also, orgasm causes contractions in these muscles, you get a workout that actually IS fun!
5. Lowers Blood Pressure
Your diet is important in helping to maintain a healthy blood pressure in pregnancy, but sex has also been shown to be effective in lowering systolic blood pressure. Keeping your blood pressure in a healthy range can mean keeping you and baby healthy and keeping your pregnancy low risk, avoiding an induction or even a c-section.
6. Boosts Mood
Sometimes pregnancy is hard. Being tired and uncomfortable can take a toll on our overall mood. Orgasm can help boost your mood by releasing endorphins which are good for mom and baby! Oxytocin also fosters attachment and closeness between mom and dad, making for a happier relationship. Did you know orgasms did so many cool things?
7. Less Stress
Pregnancy should be a beautiful time in a couple's life, but there are times where it can be a source of stress. Again, orgasms can be a source of relief! Oxytocin and endorphins activate pleasure centers in the brain that can reduce anxiety and even depression.
8. Start or Progress Labor
Semen contains prostaglandins which help soften and dilate the cervix, and orgasm will give you a big rush of oxytocin which is the hormone that creates contractions that will bring baby down and into this world. If your body is ready, sex can encourage labor to begin! Once in labor, sometimes the closeness or working together through contractions and the high levels of oxytocin can actually be arousing. As long as mom's water hasn't broken, it is completely safe, and actually beneficial to have sex in labor. Most couples don't talk about it because it can sound weird, but I personally know quite a few couples who have had sex in early and active labor, which can actually further progress labor and bring baby into the world sooner.
9. Faster Recovery
By keeping her pelvic floor strong in pregnancy, after baby's birth her muscles will recover much quicker. A strong pelvic floor may have made baby's delivery easier, and mom would have been less likely to tear, making for a recovery with much less pain.
Be sure to check with your care provider to makes sure sex is safe in your pregnancy. If it is, you have 9 reasons to not kiss intimacy goodbye.
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