You and your partner might’ve had plenty of bedroom sessions while you were trying to conceive. But now that you’re pregnant, your feelings towards sex may not be quite so straightforward. Is it safe? Is it possible to do it comfortably? And above all, is it even worth it if you’re feeling tired and would rather just conk out early?
The answer to the first two is a resounding yes! (As for the third, well, that one’s still up to you.) As long as you’re feeling up for it and your doctor hasn’t told you otherwise, it’s more than okay to have sex throughout your entire pregnancy. What’s more, sex during pregnancy comes with some pretty sweet perks. Here are eight benefits of pregnancy sex that just might make your time in bed even better.
1. It’s a totally safe way to stay connected to your partner.
You might be raring to go but still have reservations that sex could somehow hurt your baby. It’s time to toss those out the window! Unless your practitioner tells you that there’s a reason to stay out of the sack, sex during pregnancy is perfectly safe.
So don’t worry — you won’t hurt the baby in any way, or increase the risk for infection (assuming your partner doesn’t have an STD). And having an orgasm doesn’t up the chances for a miscarriage or preterm labor.
2. Pregnancy sex might feel even more amazing than regular sex.
Surging hormones can send your sex drive higher than usual. (Though if you’re just not feeling it, that’s normal too.) Even better? All that extra blood flow to your vulva can heighten sensitivity, so you could experience more intense sensations and orgasms. You might even discover pleasure zones that you didn’t even know you had!
3. You’ll reap some big health benefits — and even ease some pregnancy symptoms.
Getting it on can be a workout in and of itself. In fact, sex serves up many of the same physical perks as a session in your sneakers. Even better? Many of those benefits can also provide some welcome relief from some of the discomforts you might be feeling these days. Sex during pregnancy can help you:
- Burn some extra calories: You’ll torch around 50 calories in just half an hour. That’s not quite enough to replace your workouts, but hey, it’s better than nothing!
- Lower your blood pressure: Having a healthy blood pressure is always a good thing. But it’s especially important when you have a baby on board, since high blood pressure is linked to the pregnancy complication preeclampsia.
- Sleep more soundly. Basking in that post-sex glow is relaxing, so you might find yourself tossing and turning a little less afterwards. As an added bonus? All that rocking can lull your baby to sleep, which could mean fewer kicks while you’re trying to doze off.
- Ease pain and discomfort: Orgasms signal the release of oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that can increase your tolerance for pain. Post-sex, you might not be as bothered by that achy back or crampy leg.
- Improve your immunity. That same release of oxytocin is thought to give your immune system a boost, research suggests. That’s especially important now, since you’re more susceptible to catching bugs during pregnancy.
4. Sex during pregnancy can lift your spirits.
Being completely elated about your impending bundle probably hasn’t stopped you from sometimes feeling anxious, weepy or stressed (thanks, hormones!). Pregnancy can be an emotional roller coaster, but sex can be a great way to decompress and just be in the moment. Plus, the oxytocin surge that comes when you orgasm boosts feelings of love and happiness, making you feel even closer to your partner.
5. Your baby will benefit too.
Not only will pregnancy sex not hurt your little one, but many of those perks that come your way will do good things for your baby too. For instance, burning a few extra calories can make it a bit easier for you to avoid gaining too much weight during pregnancy, and a stronger immune system can help shield her from the effects of a cold or the flu.
Same goes for the emotional benefits. More good feelings for you means that your baby is exposed to fewer stress hormones like cortisol. And that can have a positive impact on your little one’s development both before and after birth.
6. It might be a chance for you and your partner to try something new.
Fact: Your growing belly might eventually make some of your favorite positions pretty uncomfortable. Not to worry, though. There are still plenty of ways to get it on that will feel good for both you and your partner. And some of them might be new to you — meaning that pregnancy sex can be a fun opportunity to experiment.
You might try pregnancy-friendly sex positions like side-lying, woman on top, and rear entry to be the most appealing. But feel free to explore with your partner to see what else works. As long as you’re comfortable, anything’s fair game. Just avoid lying on your back for too long at a time.
7. Sex may be able to help labor along when you’re ready to go.
Having an orgasm spurs your uterus to contract. Unless you’re nearing the tail-end of your pregnancy and your body is ready to begin the birthing process, these contractions aren’t strong enough to make you go into labor.
But once your baby decides that it’s just about go time, a romp in the sack may be able to help move things along (though it doesn’t always, so don’t be disappointed if nothing happens). But if you’re up for sex at the 40-week mark, there’s no reason not to go for it.
8. Having sex during pregnancy may lead to a better postpartum experience.
A strong pelvic floor can help prepare your body for both childbirth and the recovery that comes afterwards. And orgasms are a pretty fun way to help tone that area. For even more of a workout, try doing Kegels during sex. You’ll pump up those muscles even more — and possibly up the pleasure factor for both of you.
So as long as you’re feeling up for it, get busy! Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, having sex during pregnancy isn’t just completely safe, it’s good for you, your partner and even your baby. And if you have questions or concerns at any point during your pregnancy, bring them up with your health care provider to set your mind at ease.