Sex through pregnancy – for Dads

November 17

Sex through pregnancy – for Dads

There are many unanswered questions about sex in pregnancy, questions you will find the answers to below!

10 min read Emma Ashworth, Doula and Author of AIMS Guide to Your Rights in Pregnancy and Birth

“Can I have sex with my pregnant partner?” is one of the most common questions Dads ask. The idea of going a full nine months without sex is not an attractive prospect for most people but, at the same time, there are many unanswered questions about sex in pregnancy, questions you will find the answers to below!

Is it safe to have sex with my pregnant partner?

The good news is that it is usually completely safe to have sex in pregnancy. No matter how manly you may be, your penis can’t go further than your partner’s vagina. At the top of her vagina is her tightly closed cervix which is the gateway to her uterus, behind which your baby is safely snuggled.

Your baby is very well protected inside the uterus. He or she is surrounded by the amniotic sac which is filled with amniotic fluid (the “waters”). This fluid acts as cushioning around your baby, so they are really well protected and will not be affected by lovemaking. 

What about the risk of premature birth?

Some pregnant women or people may be advised to avoid sex in pregnancy, perhaps if they have previously had a baby born too early due to preterm labour, rather than other reasons for prematurity. This is because the hormone oxytocin, which is released during sex and especially during an orgasm (when she orgasms, not you), is the same hormone that triggers labour. But the clever thing with our bodies is that, in almost all cases, your partner’s uterus will only respond to the oxytocin and start labour when your baby is ready to be born. At this point, the uterus develops chemical receptors which connect to the oxytocin in the body, rather like a lock being created to fit keys that have been floating around but were previously useless. So, the oxytocin (keys) can’t trigger contractions before these receptors (locks) develop.

If she wants to, your partner can talk to her midwife or doctor about whether sex will be safe for her in pregnancy from a medical point of view. And, if so, you can be assured that your baby will be well protected (and no, they won’t know you’re doing it!).

Sex and her body changes

The idea of sex can feel strange thanks to the rapid changes to a pregnant woman’s body. Strange for both of you. She may feel self-conscious about her new shape, or she might revel in the magic of her amazing body and the miracle that she’s creating, giving her a body confidence she’s not had before. Her breasts may feel tender and, if booby play is part of your normal sex routine, you may need to seek out some new hot spots. Think of it as an adventure in erogenous zone exploration. Who knows what new discoveries you may both make?

From your perspective, it can take a bit of getting used to the idea of your partner’s body changes. If you’re not quite sure how you feel, consider just not worrying about having sex but, instead, focus on being intimate without the pressure of actual intercourse and just see what happens. You might find different positions help, too, especially if her bump starts to get in the way of front-facing options. Doggy style can be a great option, or lying one behind the other. 

Remember that sex doesn’t need to be intercourse. It might work to try non-penetrative sex or maybe have a play with some sex toys. You may also want to consider just ensuring her happiness, even if she’s not got the energy to return the favour. This can also be an option if you’re struggling to raise your own game but she’s still up for some bedroom action.

My pregnant partner doesn’t want to have sex with me

You might well be all up for it whilst she’s just not feeling the drive you were used to. Look at it from her point of view. Perhaps she’s struggling with sickness. There’s nothing more likely to put anyone off sex than feeling like you might vomit in the middle of it all. Maybe she’s just exhausted. She’s not only growing a whole new human but, during the first trimester of pregnancy, an entire new body organ: the placenta. That takes a great deal of energy and can leave her with none. 

Often a pregnant woman or person’s sex drive increases during the second trimester but this is not guaranteed and, even then, it can dip again heading towards late pregnancy. It can be hard, and that’s understandable. Keep showing her you love and care for her and, when she’s ready, the wait will have been worth it.

Summary
It’s ironic that, for most couples, getting pregnant may have taken a whole lot of sex and once pregnancy happens everything can feel quite different. The good news is that it’s perfectly safe for most couples, so once you’ve confirmed that all is well, there’s lots of options to explore if you, or she, are not up to your normal routine. Enjoy!