Dear Dame: My Husband is Scared to Have Sex While I'm Pregnant
Sexual Wellness

Dear Dame: My Husband is Scared to Have Sex While I'm Pregnant

12/04/2023
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Dear Dame is a weekly sex-positive and judgment-free advice column answered by our panel of sexperts. Submit your questions here.

 

Dear Dame,
I am visibly pregnant and my partner and I are both worried about what kind of impact sex will have on the baby. We know the basics, like it’s ok to have sex, but there are so many things you can do “wrong” in a pregnancy I don’t want to risk it. Are there positions we should avoid? Is using a vibrator going to mess with the baby’s developing brain? If I orgasm, can the baby feel it?
-Anxious Mama

Dear Anxious Mama,

I think the only way to assure him that it doesn't affect the baby is to ask every single woman who's in a heterosexual relationship whether their baby got affected by sexual play and you'll hear it doesn't. The baby is well protected with the fluid around the amniotic fluid, the musculature of the uterus, and the abdominal cavity. There are many, many layers between the penis or a toy and the baby. So ask around and you'll find out that it's just fine. 

And if the husband should ask his friends again, he'll feel reassured after he hears over and over again, it's not an issue. There's absolutely no science that shows that sex can hurt a baby. I would continue to discuss it with your partner. Why is he concerned? What are the myths that he's grown up with and thinks about? Try to talk them out. 

But there are certainly issues during pregnancy that may prohibit penetrative sex. So the first step is always ask your obstetrician because you might have a unique issue with your pregnancy that will make sex more of a concern for both mom and baby. There are, for example, placental locations (where the placenta is located in the uterus) that may make penetration intercourse more risky for the baby and the pregnancy. There are some women who have risks associated with premature cervical dilation and thus premature labor and delivery. And, often, obstetricians will counsel those individuals to avoid sex after a certain time in the pregnancy to avoid early labor. 

Throughout pregnancy, choose positions that are comfortable. There's really no one position that's more risky than another. Except for during the last trimester, you might avoid having Mom lie flat on her back, which can be both uncomfortable and impact the weight of the uterus on the major blood vessels. 

Now on to sex toys. There's no data to suggest that vibrators impact babies neurological function or that orgasms negatively affect baby's well-being. Of course, we really have no way of knowing for sure because we can't ask a baby if these things are affecting them. But again, there's so much protection to the fetus and an orgasm is not the same as a labor contraction. 

However, if you're at an increased risk of miscarriage (for reasons other than sex, because sex does not increase the risk of miscarriage) and you’re going to feel guilt surrounding the loss of a pregnancy and its association with sex, you might want to avoid it until the risk of miscarriages passes. Again, if you're at risk for premature labor (Your membranes are ruptured, you're bleeding, and/or your cervix is prematurely dilating) you might want to speak to your obstetrician about when it might not be safe to have sex.

Ultimately the key is to always listen to your body. If you're pregnant and you don't feel like having sex, don't have sex. If you are feeling very lusty–many women describe feeling very aroused and hypersensitive during their pregnancies–then enjoy it!

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