Frequently Asked Questions
BabyYumYum understands the confusion around parenting and is here to answer any questions you may have from pregnancy to birthing options, infant feeding to toddler milestones.
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These FAQs have been answered with the help of our experts.
Questions and discussion points related to sex whilst pregnant:
Q. What happens to the baby during penetrative intercourse?
In short, absolutely nothing. The baby is protected by the muscles of the uterus as well as the amniotic fluid inside the uterus. There is also a mucus plug that seals the opening of the uterus, to ensure that bacteria, viruses and sperm cannot get into the uterus. During penetration the penis doesn’t reach the baby, as it doesn’t go beyond the vagina.
Q. What are the benefits of having sexual intercourse while pregnant?
Firstly, sex during pregnancy is a great way to connect with your partner emotionally, and intimacy is very important. Sex has been shown to lower your blood pressure, decreasing the risk of pre-eclampsia, it can improve sleep and alleviate stress, as well as ease some of the discomforts associated with pregnancy.
In certain high-risk pregnancies (e.g. where a woman has had multiple miscarriages or there is a cervical problem) caution is advised and you should consult your doctor before indulging in sexual intercourse.
Q. How can hormones affect your sexual urges?
This is an area where a woman must listen to what her body is telling her – there is no “normal”. During the first trimester there is a rapid rise in oestrogen and progesterone levels. This results in those dreaded pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness, bloating, breast tenderness and exhaustion. Add to this the mood changes and many women will say that sex is the last thing on their minds.
Luckily, by the second trimester the hormones start to stabilise and morning sickness and tiredness starts to get better resulting in more energy and an improved libido. Due to the high levels of oestrogen, there’s more blood supply to the genital areas resulting in improved arousal and better orgasms. During the last trimester some women will experience a drop in their libido due to the weight gain and backache.
Q. What are the most helpful positions that have great success that are generally most comfortable?
It is important to be comfortable and have no pain during intercourse. As the abdomen increases in size, woman may feel certain positions more uncomfortable that others.
During the first trimester your body won’t have changed much and you can still enjoy most positions that you did prior to the pregnancy. From the second trimester on, lying flat on your back is not advised, so you and your partner will need to get creative.
Lying on your side with your partner lying behind you (spooning) can be very cosy and intimate. Lady on top is also a good option since you will be in control. Oral sex and mutual masturbation are both safe during pregnancy and can be enjoyed through all the three trimesters.
Q. How does the emotional journey of pregnancy affect your sexuality and intimacy you’re your partner?
Each pregnancy is unique, as we are individuals. It is important to explain how you feel to your partner and vice versa. One may have an increased sex drive or feel that their sex drive is lower, it all depends on the individual’s response to the hormones.
Questions and discussion points related to sex postpartum:
Q. What physical changes can you expect?
After your baby is born there are drastic hormonal changes. Firstly, there is a drop in oestrogen and progesterone, as well as testosterone levels. This can result in a lower libido, vaginal dryness and pain during sex.
Q. What can you expect when it comes to comfort levels surrounding the body and sex postpartum?
Everyone experiences this time differently and it will depend if the delivery was natural or a Caesarean section. It can take your body up to six weeks to recover from the physical trauma of the delivery and most women will not be comfortable with sexual activity during this time. If penetrative sex is not comfortable, try to use other forms of stimulation to be intimate.
Q. Helpful tools, tricks and techniques to help get your sex game back on.
Be patient, everyone goes through the same difficulties. Not only are there physical changes, the emotional changes of having a new baby in the house can be overwhelming. Talk to your partner. A lot of men feel isolated during the postpartum period since mom is busy with baby 24/7.
Make time for each other, even if it is just taking a bath together. Stock up on lube. Due to hormonal changes women might experience vaginal dryness resulting in sexual pain, so make sure you have a good water-based lubricant close by. If sex is painful, rather talk to a doctor about it. Vaginismus (tensing up of the vagina) is very common during the postpartum period, so rather get help earlier than later.
Q. How can I get to know myself again sexually?
Physically and emotionally things will be different. Take time to define yourself as a new mom before you focus too much on anything else. Play around with different types of sexual stimulation and different positions. And, very important, if you don’t know how to please yourself how can you expect your partner to do that?
Q. What are some helpful tips for my partner?
Communication is key. For most men it is not easy to talk about their emotions and feelings. But having a new baby in the house affects everyone. By talking about how you are experiencing things, women will understand their partner’s needs. Men should try to understand that the sexual ups and downs during pregnancy and postpartum are not because of anything they are doing wrong and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Q. What contraception should I consider after birth?
There are several contraceptive options available. If you are breastfeeding, you don’t want to use combined hormonal contraceptives (the pill, the patch or the vaginal ring) during the first few months since it can affect milk production.
Some doctors advise using the progesterone-only pill (the mini pill) but the intra uterine devices (Mirena, Kyleen, Copper device) are more effective in preventing pregnancy and will not have any effect on milk production. If you are not breastfeeding, you can use any form of contraception.