Many women are concerned that sex or orgasm can harm their child or endanger the pregnancy. Men are often afraid of damaging their pregnant wife or the unborn child with sexual intercourse. However, for the vast majority of women, sex and orgasm are safe during pregnancy and a healthy way to relieve stress and encourage mental well-being.
Research has shown that sexual contact does not cause or increase the risk of negative consequences for the child or the mother. In a normal and healthy pregnancy, orgasm may not raise the risk of miscarriage or preterm labor. Sexual activity can also have positive health benefits for pregnancy by improving well-being hormones such as oxytocin and increasing blood flow (and oxygen) to the uterus.
Given that everyone knows that sex is the reason most women get pregnant, many are still reluctant to talk about sex and orgasm during pregnancy. You may have questions that you would like to ask your midwife or doctor but feel too ashamed. And your doctor will be reluctant to bring up the subject.
Is it ever not safe to have an orgasm during pregnancy?
When it comes to sex during pregnancy, there are a lot of things that can cause you to hesitate:
- You might not feel “in the mood” due to hormones and morning sickness
- Your partner may be concerned about “poking your baby” or otherwise harming you
- And you may both have worries about orgasms and uterine contractions
Always consult with your doctor if you are directly comfortable with having sex. But if your doctor hasn’t told you otherwise and your pregnancy is at low risk, it’s usually totally healthy to have it between the sheets.
When researchers looked at the research, including 1,483 pregnant women, they found no significant variations in labor contractions between those who had sex during pregnancy and those who did not have sex.
Researchers have noticed that sex was not associated with “preterm birth, premature membrane rupture, or low birth weight” in low-risk pregnancy.
However, if you have any of the following, your doctor might tell you to refrain from sexual activity:
- Blood or spotting
- Incompetent cervix (when the cervix is shorter than 22 millimeters and you are at higher risk of preterm birth)
- Previous Vasa (when the umbilical cord vessels run too close to the cervix)
- Previous placenta (when the placenta covers the cervix)
Often don’t have sex if the water has burst. Amniotic fluid is a protective shield between your infant and the outside world—without it, you are more at risk of infection.
If you have a high risk of pregnancy for other causes, such as multiples, talk to your OB. An analysis of the studies showed that there is not enough sex research during a high-risk pregnancy.
Your Body Orgasm During Pregnancy
Understanding what an orgasm during pregnancy is and what happens during one will reduce your doubts and anxiety about orgasm during pregnancy. Sexual excitement may begin with a thought, an image, or a casual touch.
Your heart is beginning to pump a little faster. You can blush, not only in your cheeks but in other parts of your body, such as your chest and neck. Blood pressure rises in your groin, and the area becomes swollen and more sensitive to touch.
Bartholin’s glands—which sit just to the right and left of your vaginal opening—secrete arousal fluids that lubricate your vagina and labia. The clitoris comprises more than 8,000 sensory nerve endings. It draws back slightly under its hood, as it also becomes bloated and more sensitive to the touch. Also, as sexual desire rises, your muscles usually begin to get tight all over your body. The vaginal opening also tightens.
Generalized muscle tension and sensitivity build up as sexual stimulation progresses. When orgasm occurs, the muscles of the vagina, anus, and uterus contract rhythmically. These involuntary contractions are part of what causes the physical feeling of release that comes with an orgasm.
When all this happens, the body releases a mixture of hormones, including a hearty dose of oxytocin and endorphin. Oxytocin is often referred to as the “love hormone.” It facilitates bonding and often decreases pain. Endorphin is also a feeling-good hormone that decreases pain.
Orgasm During Childbirth
You may have heard that certain women experience orgasm during childbirth. This isn’t a myth. This is not a subject with many studies, and it’s not clear how often women experience orgasm during childbirth.
Physiologically, there is an explanation. Pressure and vaginal stimulation of the baby’s head down the birth canal can stimulate nerves that cause sexual pleasure. This sensation of the baby’s fullness passing through the vaginal canal may result in:
- Reduced labor pain for some women
- A mixture of pain and pleasure for others
- And a moment of pure sexual pleasure for some lucky ones
Don’t feel guilty if it’s not going to happen to you. It probably has more to do with the particular physiology of an individual than with something you influence.
Even on the other side of the coin, you should not feel guilty or humiliated if you experience orgasm during childbirth. It’s perfectly natural. Think of yourself as fortunate.
What’s With The Rumor that Orgasm Brings Labor?
Most of us have read about it. If you accept this myth, it makes sense that you would refuse to have an orgasm before your due date for fear of preterm birth. But here’s the thing: it’s just not real. The rumor continues, but it has been debunked.
In a 2014 survey, researchers separated pregnant women into two groups—those who had sex twice a week and those who had abstained. The women were at term—meaning the child was ready to make their debut. However, there was no statistically significant difference between the two classes when it came to the start of labor.
And as we have already stated, a much broader review of the studies also found that sex did not increase spontaneous labor risk.
The Takeaway Message
Good news if your pregnancy has your hormones roaring and your libido through the roof: it’s healthy to have an orgasm during a low-risk pregnancy.
If your pregnancy is high risk and is not healthy for you, your doctor should inform you. Even the conversation is worth having. And if you’re afraid to inquire, remember: the OBs heard it all. No subject should be out of bounds.
And the old folk wisdom that says that sex brings labor? It’s just not being helped. No matter if you are 2 weeks or 40 weeks, you can have orgasms.