Written by Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
Once you are pregnant, you may find that your feelings about sexual intercourse undergoes a subtle but definite change.
Some women find that they are less inhibited about sex, that they desire it more often, and that they want to try out different and new positions.
Others, however, realize to their surprise that they have less sexual desire when they are pregnant.
They may feel that they are losing their figure and are less desirable at this time.
Many women are also scared to have sex during their pregnancy, worried that it may harm the baby in some way.
Your partner too may have different feelings about sex at this time. Many men find their partners glowing and beautiful and immensely desirable when she is pregnant.
Others however, become less interested in sex. They find that the image of their partners as mothers-to-be conflicts with their image of her as a sexual partner. Or the thought of becoming a father soon might be overwhelming for them. Some men prefer not to have sex even if they desire it due to the worry that it may be dangerous to the pregnancy in some way.
All these attitudes are quite normal. You and your partner, like many other couples may have a secret sense of guilt at not being able to satisfy the other - this guilty feeling is also quite normal and very common.
But the most important thing is to share this feeling. Be open and tell your partner what you are thinking and feeling. You will probably be pleasantly surprised to find him responding with warmth and relief at being able to discuss the issue.
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Sexual intercourse as such does not harm the baby. You can have intercourse as often as you like from early pregnancy and right up to the last month of your pregnancy.
But intercourse itself can become uncomfortable as your abdomen increases in size. For women in the later stages of pregnancy or those suffering from backpain, lying flat on their backs could prove to be uncomfortable. The heavy uterus can press on the diaphragm pushing it up and against the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing. Your partner's weight in the typical man-on-top position can also apply pressure on your abdomen.
These problems can usually be remedied by changing the position while having sex. You can try the woman-on-top position or, you and your partner can 'spoon' together with your partner entering you from behind. You can also have sex while lying side by side. Do feel free to try out whatever positions you find most comfortable.
Physically, vaginal discomfort due to dryness can usually be relieved by applying a sterile lubricant cream or jelly.
If however, you have a complicated pregnancy or have a history of abortion /miscarriage or premature labour, your doctor may advise you to restrict sexual intercourse or stop it altogether. Even stimulation of the nipples, either orally or by hands can cause the uterus to contract and may not be safe for you.
Some doctors routinely restrict sexual intercourse in the first three and last two months of pregnancy, even in a normal pregnancy. Others permit intercourse throughout pregnancy right up to the onset of labour. But it is generally agreed by most gynecologists that although sex can be permitted at all times during pregnancy, it is better to be careful in the last four weeks of pregnancy.
It is always best to discuss this issue thoroughly with your doctor before taking any decision.
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