Is It Safe To "Do The Deed?"

Ann Douglas, author of The Mother of All Pregnancy Books: The Ultimate Guide to Conception, Birth and Everything in Between and The Mother of All Baby Books: The Ultimate Guide to Your Baby's First Year, is here at Pregnancy & Baby! Read Ann's advice on everything from keeping romance alive amidst the structure and stress of baby-making to weathering the storms of morning sickness to preparing for the birth of your dreams.
Ann Douglas

More Mom's the Word by Ann Douglas

Is it safe?
A 1999 study conducted by researchers at Memorial University of Newfoundland found that more than half of mothers-to-be believe that making love during pregnancy poses some sort of threat to the developing baby -- this despite the fact that many health authorities consider sex during pregnancy to be safe for most couples experiencing low-risk pregnancies.

And, of course, it's not just mothers-to-be who worry that the unborn baby will somehow be adversely affected by what's happening between the sheets. According to Anne Semans and Cathy Winks, co-authors of The Mother's Guide to Sex: Enjoying Your Sexuality Through All Stages of Motherhood, many expectant fathers also share the same fear:

"It's fairly common for men, in particular, to be uncomfortable with intercourse during pregnancy because of a feeling that the baby is in on the action, which can manifest as fear that the fetus might somehow be injured by the penis, or even as embarrassment that the fetus is somehow witnessing the proceedings," they write.

ven if you and your partner feel perfectly comfortable with the idea of remaining sexually active during pregnancy, you can expect to experience a bit of an ebb and flow in sexual desire as you move from one trimester to the next.

According to Semans and Winks, the first trimester tends to be a bit of a sexual wasteland for expectant couples, with fatigue and morning sickness leaving many pregnant women feeling more interested in sleep or soda crackers than in having sex. (Let's just say that the early weeks of pregnancy aren't exactly known for their aphrodisiac qualities!)

The second trimester, on the other hand, is the golden age of pregnancy -- at least from a sexual standpoint. As Semans and Winks note, "By the second trimester, increased blood flow throughout your body is making its effects felt between your legs, where the erectile tissues of your genitals engorge with pooling blood. The increased level of estrogen in your body results in a distinct increase in vaginal secretions. Your clitoris is swollen, your labia are pulsing with extra blood, and your vagina is dripping with moisture."

The third trimester may see a steady decrease in the amount of sexual activity, as your ebbing energy level and growing belly conspire to squelch the flames of passion.

Those couples who still have the energy and the inclination to make love find that the spoon position (a position in which both partners are lying on their sides and the woman's back is pressed against the man's chest) works best since it allows you and your partner to sidestep your belly entirely.

Most couples find that it helps to keep their sense of humor and -- if they can swing it -- their sense of adventure, too. After all, it takes a bit of creativity to maneuver around your growing belly. But provided both you and your partner are willing, you should plan to make hay while the sun is still shining. Before you know it, your pregnancy will be but a distant memory and you'll be facing the ultimate sex life challenge: caring for a new


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