by Corey Whelan
For many pregnant women, particularly those who struggled to get there, pregnancy can be a period of unexpected stress. Having undergone the trauma of infertility, many women are afraid to trust that their pregnancy will last, or that their dream of becoming a mommy might actually happen. Psychologists call this phenomena defensive pessimism, a type of defense mechanism that many people, but particularly women, utilize against the fear of future pain. For this reason, many women who undergo infertility treatment will approach their pregnancies cautiously, and this caution may extend into the bedroom.
After infertility treatment, many couples will be afraid to have sex out of fear that intercourse, and in particular the woman's orgasm, will somehow dislodge the baby and cause a miscarriage. This shying away from sexual intimacy is very unfortunate, since so many couples often cease to have recreational sex while they are attempting to conceive and this continued abstinence solidifies that pattern.
In addition, many women actually feel quite sexual during their pregnancies, reporting an increased amount of sexual desire as well as erotic fantasies while both awake and asleep. Nocturnal, spontaneous orgasm is very common during pregnancy, and can create a great deal of unnecessary anxiety and guilt for women.
During pregnancy the bodily changes taking place include increased vaginal lubrication, larger breasts, increased blood flow to the genitals (vasocongestion), and swelling of the clitoris. This creates heightened sensitivity to stimulation and also increased vulval sensitivity.
What a luxury it would be if a couple were simply able to surrender to these changes, instead of becoming fearful of them and avoiding the intimacy that could support them and their marriage while expecting. Not to mention the fun they could have!
So is sexual intercourse, and particularly female orgasm, OK during pregnancy?
First off, not all pregnancies are the same, and sex during yours is absolutely an issue that you should discuss with your physician or midwife. Many professionals will encourage an expecting couple to have sex, however, if your pregnancy is considered high risk, that most likely will not be the case.
Not every pregnancy that follows infertility treatment is classified as high risk. High risk types of pregnancies include:
- Former history of preterm labor
- Preterm birth
- Infection during pregnancy
- Bleeding during pregnancy
- Broken or leaking amniotic sac
- History of miscarriage
- Placenta previa (also known as low lying previa)
- Multiple gestation (twins or greater) in some cases
A doctor's opinion is paramount here, and no article, including this one, can take the place of that.
If it has been determined that sexual activity is fine in your particularl case, keep in mind that not all sexual positions are created equal, either. As a pregnancy progresses into the second trimester, women should avoid the missionary position, or any position that has them lying flat on their backs. This is because too much pressure is put on the major arteries and blood vessels that supply the fetus and the woman may even experience some dizziness. Experiment with positions that feel comfortable for both you and your partner, and consider trying things for the first time.
After sex some women may experience cramping, especially if she has had a very intense orgasm. This is normal, and due to the hormones found in semen as well as contractions in the pelvic floor. During pregnancy, the cervix is engorged with blood and you may also have some spotting after sex If you experience cramps or bleeding don't panic but do call your medical practitioner immediately to inform them and to discuss. Again, this is a common occurance and not usually a sign that anything is wrong.
Infertility is one of the most stressful slices of life that a couple can go through. If you are lucky and become pregnant, your intimacy and connection as two people in love is a very important thing to nurture and cherish, maybe even as important as the life growing inside of you. If sexual intercourse is green lit by your doctor, indulge and enjoy. If intercourse is not OK, don't be afraid to ask your doctor if oral sex is a good alternative. If not, try to find other loving and intimate ways to reach and take care of each other during this time. Hopefully for you, orgasm will be a really good place to start.
Some good reads on this topic include:
Article reprinted with permission from the Examiner.com