The Consequences of Not Having Sex During Pregnancy

Silhouette of a Man Kissing the Tummy of a Pregnant Woman

Having sexual intercourse during pregnancy can be healthy for you and your baby. It boosts the immune system and helps to prevent infection. It also increases oxytocin, which helps with bonding between partners.

Some people’s sex drive increases during pregnancy, while others find their interest in sex decreases. However, sex is safe at any stage in a normal pregnancy.

1. Miscarriage

As your pregnancy progresses, you may find your interest in sex fluctuates. It’s normal to have a change in sexual desire, and it can be hard for your partner to adapt. Honest communication can help you and your partner navigate these changes together.

It’s safe to have sex throughout a low-risk pregnancy, but your health care professional will let you know if there are any reasons to stop. This may include if you have had bleeding early in the pregnancy, a history of cervical infections, or if the placenta is low.

Sexual activity may also cause some women to have orgasms, which can increase oxytocin levels and aid in the contraction of your pelvic muscles and cervix. This can help make the labor process easier, and it can also help speed up your postpartum recovery.

Regular sexual activity may also improve the mother’s blood supply, which can help the fetus grow and develop properly. It can also help prepare the woman’s body for childbirth by strengthening her pelvic muscles and reducing incontinence after delivery. It can also help strengthen the bond between the mother and the baby, and it can boost feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.

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2. Premature birth

For many women, sexual desire is low during pregnancy. Nausea, exhaustion, and fears about the future of their baby can decrease libido. However, sex during pregnancy can help you maintain or increase your libido.

Having sex during pregnancy can also improve blood circulation, which is important for the fetus. If your body’s blood supply is adequate, the fetus will receive the nutrients and oxygen it needs to grow and develop.

If you don’t have sex during pregnancy, your body will have fewer opportunities to fight off infections. This can be dangerous for both you and your fetus. For example, if you have a sexually transmitted infection like herpes or gonorrhea and don’t get it checked, the bacteria can enter your reproductive organs. These infections can lead to miscarriage or premature birth, if they cause a problem with your cervix or the placenta.

It is safe for most couples to have sex during pregnancy unless your midwife or specialist doctor has told you not to. However, it’s important to communicate with your partner and listen to your body. If you feel that sexual arousal isn’t a good fit for your relationship, try different positions or talk to your partner about ways to stay connected. You can also talk to your nurse-midwife about other forms of intimacy, such as massage or cuddling.

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3. Birth defects

Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that can boost libido one day and zap it the next. It can be confusing and frustrating for couples. However, sex is healthy for both mother and baby.

While many people may believe that sex during pregnancy can harm the unborn child, it is not true for most women. The baby is protected by a thick coating of amniotic fluid, strong muscles of the uterus, and a mucus plug that develops near the cervix. In fact, sex and orgasms help to soften the cervix so that labor is less likely to be premature.

Although it is rare, sex can cause bleeding in the vagina, particularly late in pregnancy. This can be caused by the extra blood that is circulating due to the increased levels of estrogen, or it could be a sign that the placenta has moved lower in the birth canal. If you experience this, you should talk to your obstetrician.

Oral sex is not recommended during pregnancy, as it increases the risk of an air bubble obstructing a blood vessel in the vagina. This condition is referred to as an air embolism, and it can be fatal for the mother. Also, oral sex can lead to a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Infections that can be transmitted during oral sex include herpes, genital warts, chlamydia, or HIV.

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4. Infections

The increased demands of pregnancy place an additional burden on the body’s immune system, resulting in an increased risk for infections such as the common cold and flu. Pregnant women are also at risk for yeast infections due to changes in vaginal flora. If left untreated, these infections can increase the risk of a miscarriage.

It’s not uncommon for a woman to experience a loss of libido during the early stages of pregnancy, and that’s fine. If a woman feels comfortable, she can still engage in sexual activity from the second trimester onwards, as long as it’s gentle and does not cause excessive pressure on the abdomen.

If a woman experiences any discomfort, she should stop sexual activity immediately and see her doctor. If the symptoms are severe, she may be experiencing a complication known as placental abruption. This is when a small part of the placenta detaches from the wall of the uterus. This is more serious than a miscarriage, as it increases the chance of premature delivery and can cause complications such as bleeding in the brain.

Infections can also pass from the mother to the baby, and it’s important for pregnant women to seek advice if they suspect that they have any STIs. Some STIs, such as herpes and chlamydia, can be treated in pregnancy but others, like hepatitis C, can have major consequences for both the mother and the child.