Your vagina, your sex drive and the safest sex ever

You’ve now reached the 15 week landmark of your pregnancy and are doubtless beginning to “show”, if not to unsuspecting friends, family and colleagues around you then at least to yourself and your partner. And you are both probably now becoming adept at spotting the signs of your developing pregnancy body.

You and your vagina

Blood flow to your reproductive system is greatly increased during pregnancy. This means that your womb, cervix, vulva and vagina are going to undergo changes in readiness for labour and birth.

However, one symptom of these changes, which you might not have been prepared for, is increased vaginal discharge. This is completely normal, even if it has increased in quantity.

The only cause for concern would be if it changes colour, consistency or smell; these things could be signs of an infection. As such, if you have any worries at all, consult your GP or midwife.

Otherwise, if you are a little discomforted by the increase in discharge, you may wish to change your knickers more regularly or to wear pantyliners when appropriate.

Your sex drive during pregnancy

Now that you’re established in the second trimester of pregnancy and (hopefully) over the worst of morning sickness and early pregnancy discomfort, you may just find that not only is your libido returning but it is doing so with some gusto.

Yes, pregnancy can be a time of voracious appetites: appetite for all kinds of food (both ordinary and extraordinary); appetite for love and support from your partner: appetite for nest-building and home-making; and, of course, the subject of this article, appetite for sex.

This is because the presence of pregnancy hormones can significantly increase your desire for and receptiveness to physical touch, and the increase in blood flow to your vulva and vagina coupled with increased blood flow to the breasts may result in increased sensitivity.

If this is indeed what you are experiencing, it can be wonderful to make the most of it. Allow yourself to feel uninhibited; you are a sensual being who is enjoying what is perhaps the most sensual stage in all of life. It is even possible that you will experience more frequent and more intense orgasms than ever before, all without the worry or expectation of intercourse causing a possible pregnancy. It’s the safest sex you’ll ever have!

And, as your bump grows, you may also discover physical challenges to sex that cause you to expand your sexual repertoire with your partner. So, it can be an exciting time of discovery as well.

However, don’t despair if your libido is steadfastly stuck in neutral. Every woman is different, and the dynamic between every couple is different. Although it is generally true that women tend to have a higher sex drive from the end of the first trimester, this is not universally true and you may well find that your sex drive does not return until later in the pregnancy. In fact, it might not return until your baby’s packed its bags, flown the nest and left for university!

Whatever, the case, be sure to keep communicating with your partner as letting him know what you are going through will help both of you stay bonded so that you can bring strong foundations to the labour, birth and post-partum period.

Can sex hurt the baby?

No. At this early stage of pregnancy, and indeed throughout, your body is designed to protect the growing fetus. Your cervix is sealed with a thick plug of mucus, so nothing can get into you womb. Plus your baby is protected by the strong muscles of your uterus and is cushioned inside the amniotic sac which is filled with fluid.

Until the size of your bump physically stops your partner from being on top of you, you are fine to use the missionary position and, in fact, any sexual position you fancy. It will be up to you to decide how you, as a couple, manoeuvre around the growing bump, but in terms of safety, you, and the baby, will be fine.

There are a few exceptions though; these include the following:

  • Your waters have broken (rupture of the membranes) putting you at risk of infection
  • You have been diagnosed with placenta praevia
  • You are in preterm labour

There is however some evidence that both oral and anal sex have the potential to cause harm during pregnancy. In very rare cases vaginal oral sex (blowing into the vagina) might cause an air embolism which could threaten not only your baby’s health, but also yours, while anal sex increases the risk of infection-causing bacteria migrating from the anus to the vagina; this latter form of sex also increases the chances that you’ll develop haemorrhoids.

Sex to kick-start labour

As for that old wives’ tale that sex can help kick-start labour, well, there may be some truth in it for women who have reached full term.

This is because when you orgasm the smooth muscles in and around the vagina and uterus contract rhythmically, potentially triggering some birth responses. Furthermore, semen is rich in prostaglandin, a compound used to induce labour. Similarly, when you orgasm, you release oxytocin (another compound used to induce labour). But don’t worry, sex in the second trimester won’t send you into early labour.

In short, sex in pregnancy is fine – if you feel up to it, there’s no harm in trying!

Important – If you or your child are unwell you should seek medical advice from a professional – contact your GP or visit an A&E department in an emergency. While My BabyManual strives to provide dependable and trusted information on pregnancy and childcare 24/7 via our website pages, we cannot provide individual answers to specific healthcare questions.
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